Chris Christie isn’t the only person from New Jersey capable of making national news. Skip for a sec the Flemington deli man serving up racism with his sandwiches picked up in Salon last week. But this is so much better.
I just want to make sure everybody sees the amazing coverage the Newark Students 4-day sit-in at Superintendent Cami Anderson’s office is getting in Rolling Stone.
They deserve it. These kids are badass. Hardcore. Well-versed in the issues of importance to them, well-supported by parents and community. Efforts to intimidate them only make their adversaries look ridiculous. And what they’re doing absolutely should be a model for students who value education and see it threatened. We have so much to be proud of in them.
The piece, by Rebecca Nathanson, opens with the boneheaded decision by the office of the absent Anderson to withhold food that parents and community brought to the front door of the Newark Public Schools building, for the kids upstairs with two adults supporting them. What looked like an effort to starve out minor children – on public property no less – went viral quickly via social media, then national. A PR disaster for NPS.
That one moment underscored the basic reality of Cami Anderson’s tenure in Newark. Defending her are Gov. Chris Christie, who picked her, and whose state Ed Dept. just re-upped her at a whopping big salary. And that’s it. Her presence, disrespect for families, her incompetence, disorganization and failures to account for what she’s doing, are resented by just about everyone else – students, who’ve led a thousand kids to walk out of school, parents, Mayor Baraka, teachers, and much of the School Board. Through it all, the students put themselves out front.
From Rebecca Nathanson’s piece – by all means, read it all:
NSU president and Science Park High School senior Kristin Towkaniuk, speaking from inside the occupation of Anderson’s office on February 18th, reinforced that mindset: “I do think that it’s really important that we realize that this is a symptom. Newark is a symptom of a bigger movement of what’s happening in America. There’s this big privatization movement. Racial tensions are heightening. The standardized testing movement [is] sweeping the nation. We’re prioritizing everything, and we’re just a small example of what can happen.”
PHOTO: Tony Kurdzuk/The Star-Ledger/Corbis