Superintendent Cami Anderson—one of Gov. Chris Christie’s hand-picked appointees—is trying to force a plan that’s opposed by the community and bad for Newark’s schools. And she has to violate the contract she negotiated and signed to do it.
Anderson has already cut shady deals with charter operators and suspended administrators just for disagreeing with her. If she gets the waiver she’s seeking, she’ll have the authority to fire teachers and bring in untrained, low-cost replacements—and to close neighborhood schools. We don’t know what she’ll do, but it’s clear she’s up to something.
Christie and Anderson are in charge of the Newark schools, but they’ve made little progress. Parents, educators and the community have lost faith and trust that they can turn the schools around. Instead of listening to the concerns and ideas of the community, they are pushing a flawed plan, ignoring the gross underfunding of the schools, and seeking to undo agreed-upon reforms that help improve public education in Newark.
The governor and superintendent need to listen to and work with parents and teachers and do what is best for Newark’s kids. We worked hard to negotiate a fair contract with the district. Anderson smiled when she signed that contract, and Christie said it would “improve the quality of education across the city of Newark.”
Anderson needs to hear loud and clear that we expect her to work with parents and teachers, not break the contract and bully the community.
We need to make Newark schools places where kids can build trusting relationships with each other and with adults, where they can learn the critical thinking skills they’ll need to compete in the 21st century, and where they can develop the persistence and grit they’ll need to deal with adversity. Stand with us to tell Superintendent Cami Anderson that this isn’t the way you do that.
P.S. I’ve sent an open letter to Gov. Christie asking him to work with us and reject the waiver. You can read about it here.