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.

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

Barringer HS, Newark, is on lockdown, the heat off in part of the school, the heat rising outside

UPDATE: The action outside just ended. I’ll update when I know more, but he school is open now. I’m told the students who left are being prevented from re-entering.

It is 31 degrees in Newark. And this is the scene right now, posted minutes ago, outside Barringer High School:


At noon today, students at Barringer High School planned a walkout to protest the chaotic and disrespectful ‘One Newark’ plan of Cami Anderson and Chris Christie. But now, it’s a few minutes after noon, and the heat is off in many of the rooms at the school. And Barringer is in lockdown, with security trying to block the doors and keep students in. Some students have gotten out, congregating outside.

.@pasi_sahlberg & David Hespe: A Tale of Two Education Leaders

Cross-posted with Marie CorfieldPromoted by Rosi.

il_fullxfull.263661385Lest anyone think I was a fat-cat, lazy teacher, raking in the chips at a high-rollers roulette table at the Borgata, last week I attended the NJEA Convention-the largest professional development convention for educators in the United States.

There are no coincidences

I don’t believe in coincidence. Too many things have happened in my life for that word to be relevant. Case in point: here’s what happened last week:

  • I read an article in the Star Ledger about why Dutch children are happier than ours

  • I listened to Pasi Sahlberg’s keynote address at the NJEA Convention in Atlantic City-a town whose economic fortunes seem to change like the tides that wash its shores every day, and right now, the tide is out

  • I attended the meeting with Acting NJ Education Commissioner, David Hespe, also at the Convention

  • I read this post on Wallet Hub ranking the best and worst school systems in the country.

    Please excuse me while I puff up my chest with pride… Lookie who’s #1:

  • “This is Student Territory:” What the Newark Student Shutdown Looked Like Today

    The Newark Students Union took their demands for full local control of their schools to Superintendent Cami Anderson, Commmissioner David Hespe and Gov. Christie today. They want Cami and her chaotic and disrespectful ‘One Newark’ privatization plan out of the city, as they fight corporatizing of their public schools. The boycott, and the Freedom Schools run by PULSE NJ continue.

    If you live in Newark, or work there, and you see students mobilizing outside schools, please give them your support. This is leadership. And commitment. They know what’s really going on with Cami Anderson’s ‘One Newark’ plan to dismantle schools. If Chris Christie & Cami Anderson think these kids are just ‘missing school,’ I’d say it’s more likely they’re getting ready to school those two. The actions continue tomorrow.


    Created with flickr slideshow.

    Blue Jersey is following @PULSENJ, @NewarkStudents, @NwkParentsUnion.

    Hashtags: #npsboycott4freedom, #ournewark, #wedecide, #StudentTerritory.