May 28, 2014
By Marc Bussanich
Newark, NJ—Almost one week after Newark students staged a dramatic sit-in calling for Cami Anderson’s resignation, they met with her and the state education commissioner today to demand that the state halt the One Newark school privatization plan. WATCH VIDEO COVERAGE
Ms. Anderson was critical of the students’ sit-in, saying that adults put them up to it. But Trina Scordo of New Jersey Communities United, one of several organizations supporting Newark students opposed to the One Newark plan, said the Newark students make their own decisions.
“The Newark Student Union makes their own decisions about building their movement and the tactics they employ. NJ Communities United supports their work to make their work effective and impactful for themselves, their parents, their teachers and the Newark community as a whole,” said Scordo.
Robert Canabas, also of NJ Communities United, noted that while the students make their own decisions, a wide swath of organizations in Newark supports them.
“They’re aren’t working alone. They’re working with stakeholders across this city, from the NAACP, to the unions, to faith-based organizations. When they stand up here, they represent the city of Newark,” said Canabas.
According to Canabas, after meeting with the students, Ms. Anderson walked up to him, shook his hand and warned him never to transport students to her house in Montclair to protest her policies as they did back in November.
“She said to me, ‘Don’t you ever bring students to my house ever again. That is not cool,’” said Canabas.
In an interview, when asked about whether the students’ sit-in might have been more effective if teachers joined the students, Canabas said the sit-in was a victory.
“The students got their demand [to meet with Ms. Anderson and state education commissioner David Hespe], but we do need more teachers involved.”
With the school year about to end, we asked Canabas whether the opposition to the One Newark plan would subside or intensify as the summer wears on.
“For us as organizers, it’s always an opportunity to organize, base-build, to have conversations with more teachers and students. We’re going to continue to escalate as we see necessary,” said Canabas.
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