Tag Archive: students

Earth Day – Before you were born (Redux)

Yet another Facebook convo with a loyal Dem convinced Ralph Nader ruined Al Gore’s White House shot in 2000 made me search out this post from the Blue Jersey archives circa 2010. – Rosi

Years later, I worked with him and told him that story, and he asked me why I didn’t just jump off his toes, knock the old man over and grab the mic? Smart guy.

Ralph Nader 1975I was at the first Earth Day 40 years ago, when I was growing up in Michigan. In April, 1970, when ecology was a graduate of the civil rights movement, as were the anti-war and women’s movement (well, one of them) and early struggles against corporate excess, Ralph Nader came to the campus of Wayne State University where my father was a professor, for Earth Day One.

Nader, a good Princeton graduate, is mentioned in virtually every article about Earth Day history. It’s hard to transmit to people who only really saw Nader as a presidential candidate – and may disparage him for that, though I do not – what sway he had. Man, when Ralph Nader showed up, things got serious fast. He was squeaky clean. Uncorruptable. Scared the bejesus out of corpo culture. Earth Day, Nader got people thinking about corporate decisions and the power we fork over to them. Nader showed us we had the power decades before Howard Dean told us we did.

Two huge centers of activity in the national Earth Day observance; Philadelphia’s student-organized event at Fairmount Park. And Michigan.  

Is Cami Anderson finally leaving Newark?

Teachers, Students & Parents Rally & March to Stop 'One Newark'Save Our Schools New Jersey is reporting that Cami Anderson is on her way out as Newark School Superintendent. It’s an unconfirmed rumor, but the efforts to rid the city of her have escalated. Parents and community organizations have agitated for her removal, Mayor Ras Baraka ran on, and was elected with, removing her as his key issue. And students, the most important stakeholders here, have put their bodies on the line with marches, rallies, sit-down strikes and school walkouts.

And today, the Newark school board formally asked the New Jersey Board of Education to remove Anderson. Immediately. All members of the board signed a petition seeking Anderson’s “termination for just cause,” including two holdouts who have sided with Anderson before. The petition calls her “fiscally irresponsible” and says she’s “betrayed the public trust.” Bob Braun has that story and the terms of the petition.

Anderson has not attended a public session of the Newark school board in 17 months, and has consistently shown that she’d prefer to hide rather than face tough questions or challenge. The board praised the May 22 district-wide walkout of 2,000 students protesting state control.

Anderson is disorganized and incompetent at running a school district, and wouldn’t have lasted nearly this long at any district that wasn’t run by the state. That’s because her real job isn’t running it, it’s running it into the ground so it can be “saved” by privatized interests. And if she’s really going – we’ve heard rumors before – we’ll see her pop up somewhere else to do what she’s trained for.

Bad as she is, the problem isn’t just Cami; she’s just one of the high-paid flunkies destabilizing schools on behalf of Christie and of pro-privatizing Dems like George Norcross. That’s a bigger problem, and it’s why Ras Baraka wants control of the state’s largest school district returned to the City.  

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.