But the Fight Is On for POWER Over the Schools!
Councilman Ras Baraka's Mass Meeting to Stop School Closings held at Hopewell Baptist Church on Muhammad Ali Ave in Newark, New Jersey on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday 1-15-14.
Things move quickly in the world of education. Allow me to recap the events of this fast breaking story…
As in several cities across the country, Newark is facing daunting public school closures. Many schools are being shut completely while others have plans to be turned in to charters. Parents have been protesting these closures for weeks and they’re understandably upset.
Four Newark School District Principals have been suspended indefinitely for speaking out against these closures at a meeting. Think they might have spoken out of turn? Watch. You can feel their passion and frustration…
Unfortunately, the NSD superintendent Cami Anderson is not on their side. She was previously employed by New Leaders for New Schools, Teach for America, and trained by the Broad Academy. These are not pro-public school institutions.
“Teachers are as a class the members of a community most likely to have informed and definite opinions as to how funds allotted to the operation of the schools should be spent. Accordingly, it is essential that they be able to speak out freely on such questions without fear of retaliatory dismissal.” Pickering v Board of Education United States Supreme Court, 1968Jersey Jazzman stated:
Cami Anderson is a public servant; she is in her position to serve the students, the parents, the citizens… and yes, the teachers and principals of Newark. They are the ones who are in the schools every day, working and striving to overcome the disgusting segregation and racism and sexism and classism that afflicts their students. They are the ones who know how hard it is for the beautiful, deserving children of Newark to learn in crumbling, dangerous schools that have been neglected by the state for years. They are the ones who have to tell the parents of Newark that, unlike the parents of Millburn, they can’t rely on having a clean, well-maintained, well-staffed, well-resourced school in their neighborhood with teachers and principals who are respected and supported.We now live in a world where teachers and their administration can be openly reprimanded for voicing their opinions.
This is a systemic plan to dismantle the public school system by people who stand to profit from it. These principals saw it and had the guts to speak out. This is what they get.
Diane Ravitch summed it up:
This is not the way democracy is supposed to work. Public schools belong to the public, not to state officials to use as their plaything. Public officials are supposed to serve the public, not dictate to them.
The state-controlled districts in New Jersey–all predominantly African-American–are being treated like subjugated territories, in which the residents have no say about the control or disposition of their schools.