I do not live in Newark. And I’m interested if somebody wants to make the case here for Shavar Jeffries for Newark mayor. But I can tell you that every ally I respect who has taken sides in this race is coming in strong for Ras Baraka. Among them, Hetty Rosenstein, Marie Corfield.
Public education is the key issue in this race, and the dividing line between the candidates. Behind Shavar Jeffries, $850k from pro-charter, pro-privatization investors. Same kind of people who back Chris Christie. Behind Ras Baraka, principal on leave at Newark Central High School, considerable grassroots support, including Parents United Against One Newark, and the Newark Students Union, whose leader the lime-haired high school student (and hotshot organizer) Kristin Towkaniuk helped engage nearly 1,000 high schoolers in the fight for public education in their city.
Christie is running education in Newark right now, and his hand-picked Newark superintendent, Cami Anderson, has filed a school reorg plan, called One Newark that is remarkably sloppy, and ill-conceived, closing local schools for charters, and creating chaos for families with school kids. By contrast, Baraka’s education plan, as Jersey Jazzman points out, is actually put together by people who know education, and doesn’t bust up communities. Bob Braun spells it out plain: Newark voters will decide-either Ras Baraka or Christie’s plan to close city’s public schools.
Resistance in Newark to corporate education reform is strong. Including last week the decision of 77 Newark ministers to issue a scathing rebuke of Cami and her plan.
So, I note two things with interest: (1) NJ Working Families Alliance will be out in Newark the last 2 Saturdays before the May 13th election (details – jump page) and (2) here is their new TV spot, linking the deeply-resented Christie to Jeffries. BOOM: