Articles at Politico Pro are almost always behind a pay wall, but this morning somehow Diane Ravitch has forwarded yesterday’s piece about the school crisis in the Newark, New Jersey’s public schools, Chris Christie Faces New Uproar in State’s Largest City.
The reporter, Stephanie Simon, does an excellent job of tracing the escalation of tension in Newark as Governor Chris Christie, his appointed state overseer superintendent Cami Anderson, and outgoing state school commissioner Christopher Cerf attempt to close so called “failing” schools, most of them located in Newark’s poorest black neighborhoods, silence principals who have spoken out, and now fire masses of experienced school teachers by overriding the due-process protections in the union contract.
Neither Cami Anderson nor Christopher Cerf is a career educator; both were trained at the Broad Academy, where financier Eli Broad’s short program turns business and military leaders into superintendents. Broad-trained leaders tend to endorse school closure and privatization as strategies for so-called school turnaround. In Newark today Anderson and Cerf— imposing policy on a majority African American school district—are white.
Ravitch also shares an interview published by Salon with Ras Baraka, a school principal and member of Newark’s city council, who is running for Mayor of Newark. Baraka shares his concerns about Anderson’s tenure as the state’s appointed superintendent of Newark’s schools.
Diane Ravitch also shares a letter sent yesterday to Governor Christie by American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten. In the letter Weingarten asks Christie to end two decades’ of ineffective state takeover of the Newark Schools. “Governor, the Newark community has made it known: They don’t want mass closings, mass firings or mass privatization. They want to regain local control of the district. They want to reclaim the promise of public education in Newark. I ask you to listen. Give the people of Newark their schools and their future back.”
This blog has recently covered the ongoing imperious attack by state leaders and their appointees on one of New Jersey’s poorest and most vulnerable school districts here and here. Parents and community leaders in Newark are rising up and pushing back.