Tag Archive: cami anderson

An Open Letter to Star-Ledger Editorial Board Director Tom Moran

Dear Tom,

This week, you crossed a line.

Until now, your pieces in the Star-Ledger about Newark’s school system and the reorganization of the district have been ill-informed and reckless. You’ve ignored the warnings of teachers, parents, community leaders, researchers, and students, preferring instead to cling to recycled talking points crafted by those with scant little experience in education policy, but much to gain in profits.

You’ve paid a price: like your ridiculous attempt to walk back from your disastrous endorsement of Chris Christie, your continuing effort to support State Superintendent Cami Anderson while distancing yourself from the consequences of her catastrophic leadership has shredded any integrity you had left as a journalist. Any standing your newspaper had left as a champion of the people of Newark has also eroded: as with Anderson, no one in the city trusts you or the Star-Ledger’s editorial page anymore.

“Shame on you for refusing to educate yourself about the policies you endorse.”

But as awful as your previous meanderings about Newark’s schools have been, at least you never had the bad taste to try to pawn off Anderson’s failures and your own poor judgement to others. At least you never tried to make the case that the impending disaster of One Newark was the fault of anyone but the Christie administration, its appointed superintendent, and her enablers in government and the press.

This week, however, you crossed that line. We have tried individually in the past to get your attention and set the record straight to no avail (see all the links later in this piece). Therefore, we-professional educators with a combined total of seven degrees, a PhD in the works, and 38 years of teaching experience-who, along with countless others across this state, have stood against the illogical, faith-based, and racist education policies you espouse for Newark regularly from your position of influence, have come together to deliver you a message:

Shame on you, Tom Moran

Shame on you for sanctioning One Newark, a plan so controversial and discriminatory that it’s the subject of both state and federal civil rights complaints. Shame on you for ignoring and then blaming the people your newspaper is supposed to serve. Shame on you for refusing to educate yourself about the policies you endorse.

Why do you insist that educators must be held accountable for the sins of greed and the failure of government to address generational poverty, while no one holds you, the editorial director of the state’s largest newspaper, accountable for the half-truths and misinformation you spread?

Fact vs. Fiction

Fiction:

You claim: “At the same time, the city’s most successful charter school chains will take over management of three district schools, fueling their explosive growth.” As we have explained to you over and over again, the ‘success’ of these charters hinges on the fact that they do not serve the same population of students as their neighboring public schools.

Fact:

Percentage qualifying for Free Lunch

NPS: 80%

North Star (Uncommon): 68%

TEAM (KIPP): 73%

Robert Treat Academy: 60%

Fact:

Percentage Limited English Proficient

NPS: 9%

North Star (Uncommon): 0%

TEAM (KIPP): 0%

Robert Treat Academy: 1%

Fact:

Percentage Special Education

NPS: 17.7%

North Star (Uncommon): 7.8%

TEAM (KIPP): 12.3%

Robert Treat Academy: 5.8%

(All enrollment data 2014 from the NJDOE; special education classification data 2013 from NJDOE.)

Fact:

The small number of special education students within Newark’s charters overwhelmingly have low-cost special educational needs: milder learning and speech disabilities. And both TEAM and North Star have engaged in well-documented patterns of student cohort attrition: according to Julia Sass Rubin of SOSNJ, nearly 60 percent of the black males from North Star’s Class of 2014 dropped out between 5th and 12th Grade.

Fact:

Mark Weber and Dr. Bruce Baker have published several policy briefs explaining, in painstaking detail, why One Newark has little chance of succeeding:

  • There is no evidence Newark’s charters can succeed with equivalent populations of students to those of NPS.

  • The plan is racially biased, both against students and against their teachers.

  • The district has apparently committed several serious methodological errors in creating the plan; we say apparently because NPS has never released its methods, and the Star-Ledger has never demanded that they do.

  • The information the district released in the One Newark application about the quality of Newark’s schools is invalid.

    We would think this last issue would concern you, a journalist, the most. You claim that Newark’s parents are clamoring to get into charter schools. What if, however, those parents are making their choices based on false information from Anderson’s administration? What if the waiting lists you point to-lists, by the way, whose lengths are wildly exaggerated – are the product of both the state’s neglect of Newark’s public schools and oversold claims from NPS – and your editorial page – of charter schools’ successes?

    Separate and Unequal Education

    Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 12.15.32 AM

    The sad truth is that parents in your town of Montclair (or any other mostly white, mostly wealthy suburban community) would never willingly subject their own children to what’s happening in Newark right now:

  • Public schools being closed without community input

  • Children in the same family being sent to different schools in different parts of town on a transportation system that’s never been tested

  • Tax dollars going to a school system that is separate and unequal: that segregates the neediest students from those who are the easiest and least expensive to educate

  • The harsh, unforgiving “no excuses” disciplinary policies that are characteristic of so many charter schools

  • Mass layoffs of education professionals

  • A superintendent who has been a colossal failure at fiscal management

  • Schools in such disrepair that they are unsafe to occupy

  • A superintendent who refuses to listen, who refuses to attend board of ed meetings, and who is not supported by the community

    In fact, the parents of Montclair are fighting back right now, but you have not written one word about it. Why is it okay for them to fight back, but when the parents of Newark do so, you accuse them of “shrieking” and being “shrill and unreasonable”? Are the parents of Newark not smart enough to know what’s good for their own children? Don’t you think they can smell a rat as well as someone from the ‘burbs?

    Public education belongs to the public. The board of ed is answerable to all the people. But in Newark? Meh, what do those people know? They have no money, so they have no voice. They aren’t the right skin color, so they have no voice. They can’t write big campaign checks, so they have no voice. They aren’t concerned parents. They are, in your words:

    “CONSPIRACY THEORISTS”

    Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 12.17.39 AM
    Yea, these parents look really crazy.

    Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 12.18.12 AM
    … so do these students.

    Were these people “conspiracy theorists” too…?

    Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 12.19.00 AM

    Tin Foil Hats and Fox Mulder: The Truth is Out There

    The message Newark parents hear from you is that if they would just shut up, take off their tin foil hats and let all these rich, smart (that term is used very loosely) white folk completely up-end their lives, they’ll crawl back on their hands and knees someday in thanks and praise.

    But you’re wrong. Just because many are working class or poor, don’t speak the King’s English as well as you, refuse to stand on protocol at board of ed meetings because they’re sick and tired of the people in charge not listening when they use their ‘indoor voices’, are “voting with their feet” (as you so love to say of all those charter parents) by boycotting the first day of school, you accuse them of being crazy and-perhaps the cruelest cut of all-not giving a damn about their own children:

    “[Anderson] is facing determined opposition from local activists and politicians who don’t seem to give a damn about the children.



    “why not organize a protest march, or a sit-in, or even acts of civil disobedience? Why would your first big move be to keep kids out of classrooms when so many of them can’t read at grade level?”

    Tom, the activists are parents. Keeping children home from school is an act of civil disobedience. The parents of Newark are not “conspiracy theorists”; they are concerned citizens who want what’s best for their children-just like parents in your town-but they’ve been shut out of the conversation. And you owe them an apology.

    The fact is, Tom, the majority of opposition comes from parents and students who are supported by the clergy, unionized education professionals (whom you seem to hate for some reason even though NJ consistently ranks at the top in public education) and elected officials, some of whom also happen to live in the community. In case you hadn’t noticed, Mayor Ras Baraka ran and won on a platform to stop this madness. He was elected by a majority of the citizens of Newark, and he has dedicated his professional career-most recently as principal of Central High School-to the children and families of Newark.  But you, Tom, wonder “if the kids fit into the mayor’s political calculus at all?” Do you really believe that Ras Baraka is less committed to the children of his city than Cami Anderson, an outsider from California who lives in the suburbs?

    In your X-Files world, conspiracy theorists are people “who see charter schools as a dark plot by Wall Street to somehow suck money out of the public system.” Should we assume you aren’t aware of the ways Qualified School Construction Bonds enrich charters while neighborhood schools starve – and at the same time translate to big profits for banks? (Are you also unaware that David Samson, who just resigned from his Port Authority position because of that pesky Bridgegate mess, is a partner of the law firm that oversees bond transactions between charters and banks?) The fact that you flat-out refuse to accept the mountains of evidence (see , here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here) linking Wall Street profits with the explosion of charter schools completely discredits you as a legitimate journalist.

    “The fact that you flat-out refuse to accept the mountains of evidence linking Wall Street profits with the explosion of charter schools completely discredits you as a legitimate journalist.”

    And as for children not being able to “read at grade level,” it’s important first to note that the link you reference details students’ scores on standardized tests, which are inherently flawed and economically-and racially-biased – and which are not indicators of students’ “grade level.” But if we are to keep with your language, there are a myriad of reasons children can’t read at grade level; many have little to do with what goes on inside a classroom. And setting up a system that closes schools, replaces veteran educators with inexperienced ones, and prevents hundreds of parents from enrolling their children does nothing to help those children.

    How many times do we have to say this?

    We’ve tried to reason with you and the rest of the Star-Ledger editorial board many times (here, here, here, here, here, and here), but your failure to acknowledge the evidence with which you’ve been presented makes your defense of Cami Anderson and her One Newark plan all the more troubling.  

    Unlike you, Tom, we believe that responsibility for the gross failures of One Newark rests solely on the shoulders of Cami Anderson and her supporters-

    not on the shoulders of the parents, educators, researchers, community members, and elected officials who recognize and denounce One Newark’s glaring flaws and Cami Anderson’s failed leadership.  

    Who will be sitting at this bus stop on the first day of school in Newark? It’s not hard to figure out, Tom. It won’t be kids from your town.

    Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 12.19.49 AM
    This photo is from apartheid-era South Africa

    Sincerely,

    Marie Corfield

    Ani McHugh (aka. Teacherbiz)

    Mark Weber (aka. Jersey Jazzman)

    [Great pic at the end! Let’s do this, ladies!] Okey dokey!! I will look it over once more in the morning & wait for Ani’s additional info & let u all know when it’s ready to go. Thanks so much!!

    Woo hoo!!! You guys rock! Very proud to have worked with both of you on this piece–although my contributions were scraggly compared to yours. 🙂 –A

  • The Education Reform Tsunami Has Left Destruction in its Wake

    It’s been about five years now, more or less. Five years of this so-called “Educational Reform Movement,” spearheaded by self-proclaimed “mavericks” like former D.C. School Superintendent Michelle Rhee and now embraced by a host of her destructive admirers like Newark’s Cami Anderson, entrepreneurs like Bill Gates and others. These ‘reformists’ eagerly tore up decades – even centuries – of bedrock educational values and practices to embrace new ones. The promise was no less of a revolution, a ‘total transformation’ if you like. If we followed their advice and were willing to absorb the painful changes they recommended, our public schools, regardless of geographical or socio-economic setting, would be transformed. Gone would be the tired school model of old, with its emphasis on teacher-centered learning, student accountability and lecture. Replacing it would be a dynamic new model, consumer-driven, student centered, administratively powered…and it would produce the equivalent to an educational Heaven on earth. From it would emerge brilliant, creative, confident students, eager to engage in debate and Socratic dialogue, ready for day one at the best colleges and universities in the world.

    It didn’t happen.

    The reformers’ call for change varied by region, but their core beliefs were wrapped up in a few common concepts. Teacher tenure or any related form of institutional job security was to go. New evaluative tools for teachers would no longer take their content knowledge, style or experience into consideration; now the focus would be on how students responded to them. Every moment of every day was to be documented, quantified, reviewed and revised in a torrent of new paperwork floating between teachers and their administrators. And in the end, from teacher jobs to the very existence of any particular school as an institution, high stakes testing would determine all. Community building, intellectual curiosity, and the love for learning were out; fear, disruption, testing and constant contention were in. Again, reformers said that it would be messy, and it was, but as time marched on America’s students would emerge sharp, competitive, ready to work in today’s global knowledge-based economy.

    Not happening.

    And what is most curious are the studies. Educators, reformists and their opponents, love to point out studies. Studies come to all sorts of conclusions, and to be fair, it’s not difficult to find one or two that seemed almost predestined to back a specific design or approach. But what studies have not shown, what there is no evidence of, is this massive shift, this dramatic change in temperature, which was promised. Not one. In some districts test scores are a bit higher; in others, lower. But nothing revolutionary. Zilch. This reformist tsunami, like its real-world equivalent, produced a dramatic wave but left only destruction in its wake.

    Believe me, I want to be proven wrong on this important point. I want to see some real, dramatic evidence that the disruptive changes implemented in our public schools did indeed produce revolutionary, seismic results. But there are none. Not a single ‘super school’ has emerged from this movement; in fact, what we’re seeing in places as different as the urban district of Newark to the rural districts of Central Florida is much of the same: careers wrecked, schools disrupted, students bewildered and institutions stripped of community spirit and memory. Insecurity, fear and fury now emanate from parents, teachers and students. Boards of education meetings have been transformed into shouting matches. Don’t take my word for it; even the ‘great reformer,” of Chris Christie, Cami Anderson, no longer bothers to attend any community-based meetings in Newark. Even she knows that her ideas are so absolutely bankrupt, so steeped in failure that she avoids any forum where she might face the very public she claims to serve.  

    So why has this movement failed? Why has it wreaked complete havoc on our public schools with little indication of groundbreaking, progressive results? There are a great many reasons, but first and foremost is the flawed reformist belief that somehow schools can be magically separated from the communities that produce them. Reformists tell us that larger, complex issues such as poverty, unemployment, child neglect and abuse, crime, lack of technological access, child nutrition and student society can somehow be conveniently divorced from the day-to-day operations of any school and classroom. They stipulate that a single teacher can be held exclusively responsible for months and months of student academic outcomes, and that somehow the communities and families that produce them bear little or none.

    Okay, so perhaps you’re thinking, if I’m so smart, if I’m so confident that the reformist approach to modern public education is so destructive, then what works? What is the magic formula that will indeed allow us to convert our students, every single one of them, whether they attend school in leafy Livingston or in the extremely mean streets of Camden into competitive Princeton applicants?  

    I need time to ruminate on that one, but I think I have an idea. I’ll follow that up in my next blog.  

    Anderson’s “One Newark” Scheme: The Results Could Be Deadly

    Normally the debate over school reform isn’t considered, at least in the immediate sense, a life or death issue. Deliberations concerning teacher tenure, educator workload, class sizes, meal quality, even building conditions can get heated, but rarely overlap with the subject of mortality. But this time things are different. As a former Newark resident and Public School teacher, I am writing to express my serious concern. Due to Cami Anderson’s “One Newark” Plan, and its total obliteration of neighborhood schools, children will probably die. It’s sickening to contemplate. Unthinkable – but logically speaking, all of the pieces are falling into place for an unprecedented series of disasters to ensue.

    For the uninformed, Anderson’s “One Newark” Plan has replaced neighborhood schools with a network of schools – charter, magnet and traditional – that parents “apply” to through a universal application. Parents list something like their top two or three choices and through a complex algorithm, students wind up with a school. Sometimes it’s a school they’ve selected, sometimes it is not. The school could be a block away, or on the opposite side of the city. Regardless, come this September, tens of thousands of Newark Public School students will be transformed into hardened commuters, traversing the city’s vast distances by bus, car, light rail and foot to get to and from school. Some daily student commutes will be more than 10 miles through a dense, busy and varied urban environment.

    Students at all levels – elementary, middle and high school – will be forced to spend long periods of time in transit. Students will be at bus stops and on busses before sunrise. For those thousands attending after-school events like dances, club meetings, games and concerts, evening bus trips and long walks, sometimes in near-to-total darkness, will be the norm. And it should be pointed out that some games and concerts, especially in the high schools, can end as late as 9 p.m.

    Students will be required to do this every day. They will be subjected to the elements during the pleasant, warm mornings of September and during the freezing rainstorms of December. Heat waves, cold snaps, traffic jams, neighborhoods with serious safety issues…all will challenge children and teens, and relentlessly so.

    This isn’t a commentary to criticize Newark specifically, but let’s be realistic about this. It’s New Jersey’s largest, densest city. Even to an adult with a car, Newark is a huge, sprawling metropolis of broad, lengthy boulevards and steep hills. The sidewalks in some places are falling apart, and entire stretches of pedestrian walkways, even in the city’s bustling Central Ward, go without proper maintenance or snow removal for weeks at a time.

    Add into this mix tens of thousands of overstressed commuters hurrying to get to and from work during rush hours and you’re just asking for catastrophe. Don’t take my word for it. Stand at any intersection along Springfield or Central Avenues at 8 a.m. and you will witness cars, vans and busses bolting by at speeds upward to 50 miles and hour or faster. Trucks blaze through yellow lights like Doc’s DeLorean from Back to the Future. Emergency vehicles regularly shriek down Newark’s avenues with a rapidity that, from the perspective of a confused Fourth Grader, approaches light speed.

    Now I know that we all take our lives into our hands whenever we venture out of bed each morning. Every step we take is with God’s Grace, no doubt. But if this plan is implemented, the odds of a child coming into harm’s way, either through an accident or as a victim of a crime, will increase astronomically. Every day tens of thousands of children will be moving through and learning in neighborhoods far away from their homes, parents and guardians.

    Many parents in Newark don’t have cars, because one of the main advantages of living in a big city like Newark, with its workable public transportation system, is that some can do without them. Additionally, many of Newark’s parents and guardians are low-income and desperately poor. In the case of an emergency, caregivers could take hours to get to school to attend to a child in distress. In inclement weather it could take longer.

    These are all disturbing speculations, but they’re not the stuff of fantasy. There are many reasons to stop the “One Newark” program, but perhaps the logistical and perilous nightmare it will create for Newark’s children is the most compelling. We send our students to school to learn, not to die.

    I hope I am wrong. But if I am not, the responsibility will lie completely and instantly with Superintendent Anderson and ultimately with the Governor himself. Children are not adults; they’re not independent agents responsible for themselves. Anderson has enacted this drastic, heartless plan and she will be held to its results

    Public Education’s Berlin Wall Moment is Fast Approaching

    As teachers and students begin to gear up for the return to school this September, most if not all of them are filled with something that, while sometimes present in life, is now completely dominating: dread. This dread is a direct result of the present “Corporatist Model” that is currently working its way through our public schools. For people who do not quite understand the basis of this dread, let me explain.

    The Corporatist Model of Schooling goes by many names and has many promoters; most not being educators. It is the belief that our schools are wholly, totally and completely responsible for all personal, academic and ultimately professional results of the students that cycle through them. But it goes much deeper than that; in a quest for control, this model stipulates that every moment of every class, every interation, every day, must be accounted for. Every lesson must be planned with scientific precision, and documented thoroughly. Every assignment and interaction with students must be comprehensively rated, quantified, and analyzed. Each teacher really isn’t an educator or mentor; he or she is more or less of a document machine, creating funneling documents to mid-level administrators for comment, revision and evaluation. Teachers then keep detailed files on their students and their work and rate them according to statistical models, again to be processed by mid-level administrators and scrutinized, critiqued, redone. Teachers don’t really consult with one another except to engage in “common planning” or “statistical inquiry.” Their meetings with superiors are typically cold, stressful and filled with jargon while minutes are taken at gatherings to be held against educators later. There is no community anymore, because it has been destroyed and replaced by an atmosphere of fear, loathing and fatalism.

    Of course, the end result is how the students will perform on high stakes tests, because again, teachers are ultimately held responsible for the results. Forget that many students come to school without breakfast, abused, furious, tired, high, sick or injured. It is all on the teachers.

    Let me tell you how this all ends, because it won’t end well. We have a precedent, and it’s not a small one.

    The Corporatist Model is perhaps misnamed, because though workers at Microsoft or General Motors might find this institutional/statistically-based model familiar, most who know it don’t live in America. They live in places like Vietnam, Russia, Bulgaria and Cuba. There, people were victimized by an equally controlling philosophy that sought to regulate every aspect of their lives, from daily regimens to national economic policy. It was called Communism. And it failed, miserably, everywhere.  

    Like Communism before it, the Corporatist Model of Education embraces a completely false set of assumptions, all centering around control. But when it comes to managing the upbringing, educating and nurturing of human beings, while guides are helpful, massive bureaucratization, micromanaging and regulation does not produce the desired results; and typically produces negative ones. The skillset needed for a population to function well in a Democracy can never emerge out of such nonsensical regimentation. Critical thinking, creativity, and a genuine enthusiasm for learning, as well as an appreciation of the world around us, can’t be drilled into someone’s head. The skills to successfully survive at Microsoft? Perhaps those can.

    People who have lived under Communist regimes will of course attest to the violence used by rulers, but they will also tell you of the drab, miserable day-to-day sterile mode of existence. Orwell writes of it in his masterpiece 1984. It is a world of number counting and counters, unwavering dehumanization through constant petty criticism, accompanied by fear and stale ideas. It is an atmosphere where anyone with any spark of creativity or passion is instantly identified and flushed out. It is a place where change and justice might be preached in theory but ruthlessly suppressed in practice.

    Communism has largely run its destructive course through history, at least the Soviet brand. Few people take it seriously anymore, because as a value system it is so utterly soulless. It only produced results under great and intense duress, and those results were shabby at best. And when there were achievements (like Sputnik), they were never followed up. The system eventually caught up and arrested all forms of excellence.  

    We are already seeing the same effects of failure in our Corporatist-minded schools. This model has been working its way through the system for almost a decade now, and its leaders, like Lenin and Stalin before them, are largely disdained and discredited. Michelle Rhee, once the darling of the movement, was chased out of Washington, D.C. Superintendent Cami Anderson, Newark’s-once highly regarded ‘reformer’ is universally despised except by New Jersey’s arrogant, equally disgraced governor Chris Christie. She rules a deteriorating regime in an atmosphere of terror that sees the same sort of purges and irrational leadership worthy of Stalin’s times. Even in the suburbs, school boards like Highland Park are going as far as to buy out Superintendents who preach the same nonsense.

    It will collapse, this model. It won’t fade out. It will fall. It does real damage to all involved. The level of failure is emerging, and it is massive. It has reverberated all the way down to our teaching academies. Young, intelligent, ambitious people are running away from public education, and frankly, I don’t blame them. They’re dodging a bullet by entering professions and industries where merit and creativity are actually rewarded.

    Years from now, perhaps as few as three or five, we will look back with remorse on this Corporatist Educational Model that declared war on our best and brightest educators and students – only to sputter and fail. We’re almost there.  

    Christie disrespects a high school student asking him a question at Belmar “town hall”

    Kristin Towkaniuk, 17, is the president of the Newark Students Union and a member of NJ Communities United. Here she is in Belmar today at Christie’s “town hall” where questions are supposedly encouraged, asking him when he’ll do a similar event in her city:

    You can hear somebody call out Rude! at his insulting her about her question, while somebody else calls out, Thought you had 4 kids!

    Christie doesn’t do well when he cannot control his entire environment, which is one reason his town hall events are as engineered as they are.  A big sign depicting Christie in black/white with the word LIAR on his forehead first popped up in Newark’s community fight against state control of Newark’s schools, a key factor in the election of educator Ras Baraka as the city’s new mayor. Kristin was a visible part of both. I think he called on her deliberately. He called on me in the Flemington town hall, and surprised me by saying, “I know who you are, and I know you don’t agree with me on anything.” Then he lied in his answer to me, and mocked my follow-up. He was harsher with Kristin. And she deserved better, as a student, his constituent, and as a known young leader with a constituency of her own in the state’s largest city. If he chose her question so he could mock her, it backfired.



    Christie photobombing himself. (hat/tip Dave Zirkle)

    This is how Chris Christie talks about you when he’s out of state.

    This is how Gov Christie talks about New Jersey when he’s with his Republican buddies:

    We have the Washington Post and reporter Valerie Strauss to thank for making sure we got to see what Christie’s doing when he’s riding with his Republican friends, and leaving all thoughts of accountability to New Jersey behind. Christie dismisses even the idea that Newark Mayor Ras Baraka’s opinion about his city’s schools has anything to do with anything.

    Never mind that Baraka is an educator

    … and was a principal

    … and an elected member of Newark’s City Council

    … and his landslide victory was a mandate on Cami Anderson’s failures

    And never mind that Anderson’s sloppy ‘One Newark’ plan is now under federal investigation by the the U.S. Department of Education. Christie makes a joke out of all of it for the yuks of his conservative audience. This is what he thinks of you, Newark parents. And Mayor Baraka. And New Jerseyans.

    Christie’s audience found “the decider” hilarious.

    @StarLedger Editorials: Consistently Wrong About Newark Education

    Cross-posted from Jersey Jazzman.

    I reached the end of my rope with the Star-Ledger Editorial Board and its chief, Tom Moran, a long time ago. When it comes to education — particularly in Newark — both the paper’s unsigned editorials and Moran’s columns have displayed massive ignorance. Frankly, I’m tired of having to address their nonsense when it’s clear that Moran and his board lack the journalistic integrity to engage in good faith arguments about the schools in a city their publishing company has abandoned.

    But this weekend’s editorial is so wrong, so ignorant, and so full of sophistry that it just can’t go unchallenged. Fortunately, Bob Braun has already done most of the heavy lifting: as he correctly points out, the discriminatory practices in the school district restructuring plan, One Newark, are quite real and quite pernicious:

    The sheer chutzpah of a newspaper that is abandoning the city to leave behind a “Dear John” letter that essentially supports the denial of civil and human rights to its people-rights enjoyed by New Jersey’s predominantly white suburban population-is breathtaking.

    Amen. I just want to add a few more points to Bob’s post:

    Note to Cami: 100 excellent ways to create 100 excellent schools

    Cross-posted at Marie Corfield. Promoted by Rosi.

    Jersey Jazzman delivered yet another blistering critique of Cami Anderson’s disastrous One Newark plan calling it “illogical, innumerate, secretive, and ill-conceived”. Sir Duke once again fills his post with charts, graphs, data, links to studies-you know, actual proof-that this will probably go down as the biggest public policy boondoggle in NJ history. He pointed out that Cami likes to blame the backlash on the ‘political season’. (Hmmm… sorta like Christmas? Is there a Black Friday where I get coupons for showing up early and complaining louder and longer?) Then ends with a link to a Bob Braun post which calls out many players on the opposite side of the issue for not taking more aggressive action sooner:

    Cami Anderson, through a staffer, tries to lecture Newark Students. But she gets SCHOOLED by them.

    Newark Schools Superintendent Cami Anderson, who left a board meeting last night rather than face up to Newark Students Union demands that she immediately resign, issued a statement this morning about last night’s student sit-in inside 2 Cedar Street, HQ of Newark Public Schools.

    Brick City Live transcribed it. I have it posted below the fold.

    I’ll post the students’ reply above the fold, because I think they have more credibility and more Newark residents behind them than Cami does. Via Newark Students Union Facebook page (emphasis theirs):

    “Official statement from Cami is all lies! They did not respect us when they refused to hear our demands & waited until the media was crazy to give us food… Also, she had her assistant read the statement to us… She didn’t have the nerve to talk to us herself. Plus adults didn’t force us to do this. It was a STUDENT MOVEMENT!”

    Newark High School Students’ Overnight Sit-In at Board of Ed Meeting

    Newark high school students are staging an all-night sit-in on the 10th floor at 2 Cedar Street, the Board of Education. They came with a list of demands for Cami Anderson. She wasn’t interested.

    The State of New Jersey took over Newark’s school system 19 years ago. That is several years longer than 9 Newark high school students now occupying the Board of Education have been alive. Right now that state control of these students’ schools comes in the form of Cami Anderson, hand-picked by Chris Christie from the crop of corporate-sponsored folks whose job is to push market-driven education. Anderson, who is as deeply unpopular among many in Newark as Christie is, has her ‘One Newark’ plan; it’s chaotic, unfinished and poorly planned. And the revolt goes deeper than nine kids driven to civil disobedience. It is one reason educator Ras Baraka was just elected mayor.

    And the Newark Students Union has had enough. Energized by Baraka’s election a week ago, tonight students led a march and rally to the Board of Education. But then they also attended the meeting, and tried to present a list of demands to Anderson. She left. So they stayed.

    “Hey hey ho ho, Cami Anderson has to go.”

                        – chants outside 2 Cedar Street last night

    Here are the demands the students went to the Board of Ed with (their words and emphasis):

  • Cami Anderson’s IMMEDIATE resignation.

  • Local control of our education system.

  • Public schools to be FAIRLY and FULLY funded.

  • All of our schools remain open.