Tag Archive: cami anderson

Newark Students in Rolling Stone

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.

Newark Students with Chris Christie signI 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.

My Testimony on “One Newark” Before the NJ Legislature Today

These are remarks as prepared for my testimony today on One Newark. More to come. Cross-posted with Jersey Jazzman.

Mark Weber

Testimony before the Joint Committee on the Public Schools

New Jersey Legislature

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


Good morning. My name is Mark Weber; I am a New Jersey public school teacher, a public school parent, a member of the New Jersey Education Association, and a doctoral student in Education Theory, Organization, and Policy at Rutgers University’s Graduate School of Education.

Last year, I was honored to testify before this committee regarding research I and others had conducted on One Newark, the school reorganization plan for the Newark Public Schools. Dr. Bruce Baker, my advisor at Rutgers and one of the nation’s foremost experts on school finance and policy, joined me in writing three briefs in 2014 questioning the premises of One Newark. Dr. Joseph Oluwole, a professor of education law at Montclair State University, provided a legal analysis of the plan in our second brief.

I would like to state for the record that neither myself, Dr. Baker, nor Dr. Oluwole received any compensation for our efforts, and our conclusions are solely our own and do not reflect the views of our employers or any other organization.

Our research a year ago led us to conclude that there was little reason to believe One Newark would lead to better educational outcomes for students. There was little empirical evidence to support the contention that closing or reconstituting schools under One Newark’s “Renew School” plan would improve student performance. There was little reason to believe converting district schools into charter schools would help students enrolled in the Newark Public Schools (NPS). And we were concerned that the plan would have a racially disparate impact on both staff and students.

In the year since my testimony, we have seen a great public outcry against One Newark. We’ve also heard repeated claims made by State Superintendent Cami Anderson and her staff that Newark’s schools have improved under her leadership, and that One Newark will improve that city’s system of schools.

To be clear: it is far too early to make any claims, pro or con, about the effect of One Newark on academic outcomes; the plan was only implemented this past fall. Nevertheless, after an additional year of research and analysis, it remains my conclusion that there is no evidence One Newark will improve student outcomes.

Cami Anderson gets another year – and $255k – to be incompetent in Newark

Less than 150 hours after leaders of the Newark Student Union ended a 4-day sit-in, representing a city revulsed at Superintendent Anderson’s school management, the State of New Jersey’s contempt for Newark kids and the peole who care about them is complete:

Cami Anderson’s contract was renewed today, with a raise to $255,016.

The students pushed past of efforts to starve them out, intimidate their folks. They simply, repeatedly asked for a meeting with their chief .

Anderson avoided her workplace for days, hiding out (and photographed) at Tiff’s, a pub in Union (6.76 miles away – I mapquested), with a drink of some kind next to her and a laptop open in front of her, perhaps watching students broadcasting from her office.

You can imagine the phone call as the civil disobedience made national news – from David Hespe, or perhaps Christie:

Relax. Let this thing play out; the kids will get tired. We don’t give a crap that students don’t like you – or their parents, or community, or clergy, or the Mayor, the School Board, Senator Rice or anybody. You’re our golden girl. Have another drink.

When Cami finally agreed to come in, the kids told her it was important that she be at Tuesday’s Board meeting. She stopped months ago to avoid hearing criticism, and she doesn’t think she owes parents any accountability. Cami blew off Tuesday’s meeting.

Something’s wrong when a bunch of school kids – fledgelings in blue jeans and tee shirts – have more integrity and dauntlessness than a 43-year-old, suit-clad professional pulling down more than a quarter-mil, and with Zuckerberg’s money and Christie’s horsepower behind her.  

Newark Students talk about What Brought Them to Civil Disobedience

Why did students occupy Newark Public Schools HQ for four days last week?

New Jersey, these are your young people, the leaders of Newark Student Union. They are dealing with the knife edge of issues that could easily make it to your own local schools, if they haven’t already. You may remember that one of the demands these high school students, and their parents, made of Christie-appointed Superintendent Cami Anderson is that she finally attend the School Board meeting on the 24th, as superintendents should be expected to do. That’s tonight. The meeting’s going on now. And again, Cami has ditched. Here is what the students have to say:

Newark Student Civil Disobedience: An Important Moment

Hector Maldonado, Treasurer of the Newark Students Union, gave a superb 2-minute speech at the press conference after the occupation ended:

“We fought for our rights… the fight is not over… Cami Anderson, you  need to show you can be accountable for your actions. Will you stand on the right side of history?”

NJTV captured the speech and you can view it here. It begins about 3 minutes into the video.

Kudos to the committed youth activists fighting for an important goal and facing tough odds against an implacable foe.  

“It is, it is a glorious thing

to be the Jersey King.” (Pirates of Penzance reinterpreted)

His retinue hues close to his orders and can ignore all others. But methinks the king is losing some of his authority and these youths are exposing the cracks in his armor.

A caring, sensitive governor would pay heed. However, a governor who is running for federal office may feel it too demeaning and embarrassing nationally to give in to students and admit he supported an incompetent superintendent. A governor who is in the pocket of education corporations may also feel it’s unwise to slow the progress of his wealthy donors.

Newark is beleaguered city, but the youth are playing a crucial role. Their future depends on a better education system. This was an important moment.  

Newark Student Union claims victory, now will shift focus to Chris Christie

Cami Anderson waited out 65 hours during a civil disobedience action by the leadership of Newark Student Union. During that time she avoided her office as calls for her to show up and address student concerns came via social media from all over the country and the street below filled with Newark parents, community, clergy, the press and even Mayor Ras Baraka.

h_cover_0121Today she finally walked in and talked for about an hour. Officials asked students not to record the conversation or let anyone know she was coming. But then Newark Public Schools released their statement during that meeting. It was a savvy, but bad-faith, effort of NPS to gain back some control of the disastrous PR effect this sit-in has had on Cami, on One Newark and NPS.

The occupation will end at 5:30 today, as students come downstairs to talk to the press. Now they shift their focus to Chris Christie, another absentee figure and a politician already dealing with public relations problems, but who bears ultimate responsibility for the mess Anderson has made.

Here’s what the students said a about targeting Chris Christie:.

Open Letter to @CoryBooker: You can be part of the #OccupyNPS solution

UPDATE: Newark Public Schools is reporting a meeting between students and Anderson took place this morning.

Where's Cami?

The civil disobedience being led by the leadership of Newark Student Union is in its 66th hour. High school students have vowed not to leave Superintendent Cami Anderson’s office at Newark Public Schools until she agrees to speak with them. She has not been at work at NPS for the 3 days of their sit-in.

So where’s Cami Anderson? Senator Cory Booker, you presided with Gov. Christie over her choice to lead Newark Schools. You no longer run Newark, but you live there and own property there. More importantly, the kids you see on the street or walking to school every day – who grew up knowing you as Mayor – are still kids I hope you feel some responsibility toward. Some of the bravest and strongest of them are now in Day #3 seeking a meeting with her. Imagine if you, not as a senator necessarily but as an involved community member, would intercede and escort her into Newark Public Schools HQ on Cedar Street. That might be the beginning of an important conversation. And the sons and daughters of your City who are now waiting at 2 Cedar Street, deserve that.

Our Newark: This civil disobedience protest, in a minority majority city in the middle of Black History Month – with issues that many other city school systems are also facing – is generating tremendous support not only on the streets in Newark, but on social media. And that’s a place where you have tremendous influence. One of @NewarkStudents hashtags is #OurNewark. Senator, it’s your Newark, too. Can you help?  

Newark Student Union sit-in: Scare tactics and avoidance from absent Cami Anderson

UPDATE 1: Watch Newark Public Schools officials attempting to withhold food brought to the building by parents & community to manipulate students into ending the sit-in in order to eat. Food was held up for hours by NPS officials yesterday, until clergy forced themselves through security. Watch

UPDATE 2: Mayor Ras Baraka spoke to press outside Newark Public Schools this AM, expressing solidarity.


Full letter, signed by Cami Anderson’s Assistant Superintendent, is at end of post.

Yesterday, as Newark high school students were rolling toward their first 24 hours of a sit-in protest at the office of School Superintendent Cami Anderson, this letter was hand-delivered to their parents at their homes. I’m told that Newark police officers were used to deliver them, a dubious use of law enforcement personnel. Nothing says I care about your kids better than sending a cop to your door.  

Cami’s epic fail in the eye of another epic snowstorm

So, Chaotic Cami, who cannot seem to overcome her own organizational problems (among other things), didn’t get it together to inform parents what was going on for school today until kids were already on their way in, and many parents already on their way to work. Promoted by Rosi. Cross-posted with Marie Corfield.

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 8.24.51 AM

The only way you don’t know about this is if you’re sipping umbrella drinks pool-side in Cabo-or, apparently, you’re Cami Anderson.

At 4:33pm yesterday, NJ.com reported:

Blizzard warnings have been issued for northern and eastern New Jersey as a “crippling and potentially historic” storm sets its sights on the northeast.Snow totals could exceed two and a half feet. Drifts could be far higher. High winds will reduce visibilities to near zero.

Before 8pm last night they posted a list of school closings and delays, including early dismissal for Newark’s TEAM and Link Charter Schools. Superintendent robo-calls went out state-wide last night to inform parents of their district’s plans. I got my call. And in case anyone missed any of it, everyone took to social media to spread the news.

I saw a couple of posts from teachers in Newark who were pleading with Cami to make the call-any call: early dismissal, school closed, SOMETHING!

Newark Students, recognized in The Nation

10659245_708430845899849_4304922068049442784_nI just want to take a second and make sure you all see this national recognition of Newark Student Union in their fight to take back their schools from the insulting, chaotic regime of Cami Anderson and Chris Christie.

I hope you can join me in getting their back, however and wherever you can. Please consider posting this to your Twitter or Facebook, with a note of encouragement from you: Via The Nation (The Nation):

4. In Newark, Students Show Up

On November 13, the Newark Students Union bused a delegation to Washington, DC, where Newark superintendent Cami Anderson was scheduled to attend a panel at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative policy think tank, to discuss the success of the One Newark Plan and how other cities can privatize public education as it is currently happening in Newark. Startled by our appearance, the AEI staff tried everything in their power to kick us, black and brown bodies, out of the space. After an hour of patiently waiting for the event to start, it was canceled due to a “security breach.” At that point, we took control of the room and tried to explain to attendees why Anderson refused to show her face. The next week, the Barringer High School branch of the NSU walked out to protest the school’s punitive, underresourced, unresponsive environment-left unaddressed by the One Newark plan. Students were forced to stay inside by security guards and police officers, violating their right to protest. As the administration maneuvers to close schools, displacing at least 8,000 students, we will continue to recruit students and build stronger bases throughout the city for actions soon to come.

-Jose Leonardo, in Fifteen Millennial Movements Taking Off This Week, (The Nation, 11/24/14)

On Twitter: @NewarkStudents. On Facebook: Newark Students Union.