December 10, 2013
By Marc Bussanich
Newark, NJ—Around the country on Monday numerous teacher union members rallied in cities and towns to protest public school budget cuts, decaying facilities and achievement gaps because of education inequities. Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, joined with Newark Teachers Union to denounce Newark Superintendent of Schools Cami Anderson’s educational policies. Watch Video of Protest
Billed as the National Day of Action to Reclaim the Promise of Public Education by the AFT to oppose increasing privatization of public schools, there were actions in Michigan led by the Dearborn Federation of Teachers Local 681, in Chicago led by the Chicago Teachers Union and in Houston led by the Houston Federation of Teachers Local 2414.
Ms. Weingarten was in Rockland County, New York earlier in the day with the president of the New York State United Teachers, the AFT’s biggest affiliate, Richard Iannuzzi.
With more than 90 events taking place, Weingarten said she decided to be in Newark on Monday than her own hometown because Chris Christie, New Jersey’s governor, and Ms. Anderson apparently are not willing to negotiate with the Newark Teachers Union to improve Newark’s public schools, which has been under state control for the past 18 years.
“The governor when he was running for reelection tried to portray a kinder, gentler face but as soon as he was reelected he has actually left Newark in the lurch,” said Weingarten.
After speaking at the offices of CWA Local 1037 at 30 Clinton Street in Newark, the union that represents over 10,000 public and private sector workers throughout New Jersey, Weingarten, along with members of the Newark Teachers Union, the Newark Students Union and a variety of education and community organizations under the banner of NJ Communities United, marched over to Ms. Anderson’s offices at 2 Cedar Street where they intended to drop off a failing report card of Ms. Anderson’s performance since she became Newark’s Superintendent of Public Schools in 2011.
But two security officers refused them entry as they tried to enter the building.
Branden Rippey, a Newark teacher for 16 years at Science Park High School, said he participated in Monday’s actions to defend public education.
“Everyday we’re being asked to do more unnecessary, irrelevant paper work, there’s more testing than ever before. On top of that, more schools are being closed and charter schools are being placed in public school buildings. All these changes are demoralizing teachers,” said Rippey.
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