May 9, 2014
By Marc Bussanich
Newark, NJ—Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, was joined by several New Jersey elected officials on Wednesday calling for Newark Schools Superintendent Cami Anderson to resign as she implements a city-wide school reorganization plan that favors more charter schools. Watch Video of Presser
Weingarten visited the Hawthorne Avenue Elementary School, which is to be turned over to a charter school in September. She said that rather than celebrating the school’s achievements, Anderson wants to close the school.
“I was just at an amazing school. Here is a school which in the last three years without having the money it needs, the principal and teachers, working with the parents, have been inspiring kids and have changed the trajectory of that school,” said Weingarten. “She should have showed up at that school and said ‘Good job children.’”
The reorganization plan, known as One Newark, calls for expanding charter schools by expanding them into district-owned buildings, as well as converting three elementary schools into early childhood centers, relocate five schools to under-utilized facilities and transform three high schools into smaller academies.
But some of the elected officials at the press conference outside Newark City Hall, including councilman and mayoral candidate Ras Baraka, were scheduled to vote on a resolution introduced by Baraka opposing the One Newark Plan.
“If Cami Anderson says that she doesn’t have the skill, the will or the academic pedagogy to make schools work, then we need a new superintendent. You don’t fix schools by shutting them down,” said Baraka.
After the presser, Weingarten talked about her visit to the Hawthorne Avenue Elementary School. She noted that transferring control of Newark Public Schools from the state back to the city of Newark is paramount to stopping the closing of schools.
“This school system wants to have local control back. This community wants to have local control back. They do not want a superintendent that does not know what she is doing,” Weingarten said.