Tag Archive: NJ Communities United

Biggest Student Walkout in Newark History – and All of New Jersey Should Be So Proud

“Look, If Governor Christie can disrupt traffic to make a political point, well, so can we.”

                                             – Walkout participant

“The schools in Newark are in chaos.”

                                             – Mayor Ras Baraka

It is refreshing to the soul to see thousands of students put their bodies on the line to defend their schools and their city against the disrespect and disruption of Chris Christie’s errand girl Cami Anderson – and her plan to disrupt, destabilize and ultimately open their schools to tycoonery.

It’s inspiring, what happened today. These students are so damn young. And yet, they know the score.  They know the difference between sweet talk and bullshit, between promises and threats. They don’t have all the answers but they know what kind of city they want. Their leaders are articulate and fierce, they’re not put off easily by intimidation – and intimidation has been tried on them many times, as have efforts to divide them. And still they speak of taking responsibility for one another:

We have a duty to fight! We have a duty to win! We must love and protect one another!

                                                         – 2,000 students chanting

All of New Jersey should simply have their backs.

Below the fold, video – via NJ Communities United – of students at and on the way to City Hall, and at the convergence of major roads including NJ Turnpike. Also, full statement of Newark Mayor Ras Baraka.

Coming Friday: Mass student walk-out in Newark – District-wide

Coming Friday is a student street action that may actually be the most important thing that happens in New Jersey all week. And that includes the visit Monday by the President of the United States. Bear with me, here’s why:

Obama’s Camden visit was the result of a public relations offensive by political bosses, whose interests are tied to the appearance of success. Carefully-orchestrated propaganda; it’s no mystery Obama’s speech was delivered to an audience mostly of non-residents. The unpretty facts of some of the impact this control from outside has on city residents – in policing, in accountability in excessive force complaints, in education – neatly swept aside for a narrative that compliments bosses, investors and Gov. Chris Christie.

We may see the exact opposite in Newark on Friday; the state-imposed “reform” which in Newark takes the route of destabilizing, union-busting, expanding charter enrollment while closing neighborhood schools and ignoring community input, is not going well. The resistance by well-organized and fed-up community members is fueled by outrage at Cami Anderson’s recent designation of 9 public schools as “turnaround” schools, dooming them and making way for privatization. Resistance to racist and elitist policies is national news now. The public relations offensive in Newark has slipped – badly. And students – the greatest stakeholders – are front and center where they should be:

What: Newark Student Walk-Out

When: Friday, May 22nd at 12 noon

Where: Newark City Hall, 920 Broad St, Newark

Students & supporters will gather at City Hall before marching through Newark

Newark Students at Weequahic HS stage sit-in, are being denied food & bathrooms

UPDATE: Clever tactics by the school district. Protesting students were after a time allowed to have food, but were not allowed back in the gym if they chose to eat. So, those of you who called and were told students weren’t kept from food, I guess the best you can say is that Newark Public Schools wasn’t technically lying to you.

Late this morning, the students at Weequahic High School staged a sit-in in their school gymnasium to protest what Chris Christie and his appointed Superintendent Cami Anderson plan to do to their school. I have reports saying students are now locked into that gym, that the heat has been turned up to force them out (this reported by a teacher) and that they are being denied both food and access to bathrooms.

Student Walk-Out Today in Support of their School: East Side HS in Newark

Before New Jersey breaks out in Bridgegate news …

What: Student Walk-Out

Where: East Side HSl, 238 Van Buren St, Newark

When: Noon today

Why: Students protesting planned dramatic restructuring of their school

I just want to give a shout-out to the students at East Side High School in Newark. They will conduct a walk-out protest today at noon, less than an hour from now. The students are rejecting Superintendent Cami Anderson’s designation of their school as a “turnaround school.”

Cami Anderson, hand-picked thy Gov. Christie to run dismantle Newark’s public education is a classic example of, When everybody tells you you’re drunk, it’s time to sit down.  

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.