Tag Archive: One Newark

State Run Kids – Catalina’s Story

This is Part Three of an ongoing storytelling series by NJ Communities United featuring parents, students and families in Newark & Camden. Look for them Monday mornings. The school districts in these cities have been stripped of local democratic control, making it possible…
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One Parent Investigates #OneNewark

Want to know what’s up? Follow the Newark Parent Power Movement on Facebook and Twitter @ParentPowerMov. Follow the Newark Students Union on Facebook and Twitter @NewarkStudents. Please also join the convo at @BlueJersey and @mariecorfield. Cross-posted with Marie Corfield and promoted by Rosi.

#PARENTPOWER

This is what parents in the state controlled Newark Public School District must resort to now that their children’s democratic right to a “thorough and efficient education” has been denied.

Since its inception, embattled former Newark Superintendent Cami Anderson’s ill-conceived One Newark plan that was supposed to provide more school choice and ‘fix’ ‘failing schools’, has been an unmitigated disaster.

From increased segregation, to siblings being bussed to different schools all over the city, to punishing schools that serve a higher population of special needs students, to actually denying parents the right to send their children to the school of their choice, this bureaucratic nightmare has been roundly rejected by parents and students. And despite an Empirical Critique of One Newark by Rutgers University’s Dr. Bruce Baker and doctoral candidate Mark Weber (aka. Jersey Jazzman) highlighting the deep flaws and inequities of the program, it has been ‘damn the torpedos and full speed ahead’ at 2 Cedar Street.  

But Newark’s families never let up. Their vociferous protests were the driving force behind Anderson’s departure. And with her, they assumed would go One Newark. But such is not the case. As a new school year looms and a new superintendent (former NJ Education Commissioner Chris Cerf) takes the helm, school registrations began yesterday.  

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

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.  

Happy 5-Year Anniversary to Jersey Jazzman

Jersey Jazzman (Mark Weber) & Melissa KatzToday’s a big day for Jersey Jazzman. From all of us at Blue Jersey, high-fives, fist-bumps & secret handshakes of congratulations to our favorite edu-dude!

On a very hot day in July 2011, the pseudonymous blogger Jersey Jazzman went to the huge Save Our Schools March in D.C.. With him, a couple other Blue Jersey insiders, who shall remain nameless. The 3 wandered into the VIP tent. Inside, all the big names behind the national push to save schools from bumbling tycoonery. Plus Oscar-winner Matt Damon. But for a few minutes, among the few dozen worthies there, a rumor ran through the tent that Jersey Jazzman was here, and Which one is he?

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

INTRODUCTION

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.

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:.

TONIGHT: Christie & Romney party down on the Bridgegate anniversary

Scandal? What scandal? We gonna party DOWN and raise more money for da party of NO!

                                                        – Chris ‘n Mitt

Governor Christie has been in Illinois all day while Newark students staged a sit-down strike in front of his state-controlled school superintendent Cami Anderson’s office, demanding she come out and talk to them. Christie only took notice enough to disparage teenage kids while ignoring their pleas to engage with them, then blow town. He’s only returning to New Jersey tonight – not for you, or for New Jersey – but to party down with Mitt Romney at a shindig put together by prison halfway house-privatizer and Christie BFF Bill Palatucci. It’s sold out, to people who paid $150 to get in the door or $5,000 to cozy up to Governor Gone Boy and Mitt 47% Romney.

New Jersey Citizen Action wants in on the birthday action; it’s Christie’s birthday week and Bridgegate’s birthday, too. They made the video below, all about how much of our money Christie’s blown through protecting himself at taxpayer expense from all his scandals. If you want to say Hi! to Gov. Christie and thank him for wasting your money you can join NJ Citizen Action starting at 5pm outside Christie’s Romney event in East Brunswick.

#npsboycott4freedom: Today’s Newark School Boycott

Below the fold, two videos to explain went on in Newark today.

Cami Anderson represents Gov. Christie’s goal of privatizing and corporatizing public education. Her personal conduct, if that’s not enough, is also questionable; she refuses to attend school board meetings and other forums where she might be met with opposition. And community complaints that she ignores parents and cuts community out of her process are well-documented. And insidious: The U.S. Dept. of Education is investigating claims her plan violates the civil rights of black students.

Today, Day One of ‘One Newark,’ she toured half-empty schools, as families boycotted. NJ Communities United is reporting that she locked school board members and parents out of her press conference.

Below the fold, two videos. In the first, parents talk about why they’re boycotting. The second is smartphone vid; wobbly, amateur, interrupted by traffic noise. But that’s the way things are right now in Newark. This boycott isn’t being run by some slick operation with corporate media skills – like Team Cami can count on. It was launched by busy parents and grandparents, by cell phone and leaflet, with supplies for Freedom Schools arriving by car from allies. All, as Anderson tells the press ‘One Newark’ is a success. When clearly it is not.

In Vid #2, she explains away the boycott by babbling about wanting to “work through any disagreements … that are not about hurting kids and putting them behind”. As though it’s the parents doing damage to the kids. And brings up time on task (a well-known edu-term about reducing wasted time in the classroom) as though boycotting parents are denying their children education. But I’m going to suggest that Newark kids learned a great deal today: They learned what their parents, grandparents and community will do for them, how to tell truth from spin, and that they’re never too young to know what’s really going on.