Last week, more than 1,000 Newark public school students, from seven high schools across the state’s largest school district walked out of classes to protest Newark Schools Superintendent Cami Anderson’s “One Newark” plan.
Holding signs, they chanted, “Save Our Schools” and “We Demand Full Funding. They declared that they were determined to protect their schools from what they perceive to be threats from Trenton, as state budget hearings on education funding continue, and from Newark, as the controversial One Newark plan is being debated.
Critics say the plan uses rhetoric using words like “excellence” and “equality” as a hidden agenda to the district’s deeper plans to close and destabilize public. Over the next three years the school system plans to lay off 1,100 teachers. Student also started a “Walk of Shame” and marched into the streets and on to Newark City Hall.
The march continued past corporations that profit from the privatization and destruction of Newark Public Schools, including Prudential Insurance, a One Newark plan advocate, TEAM Charter Schools and the Foundation for Newark’s Future.
Anderson has become a controversial figure in the debate over the future of Newark’s schools. She was appointed by Gov. Chris Christie in 2011to head the state-run Newark school district, New Jersey’s largest. Despite community criticism, the governor reappointed her in September 2013.