It was a packed house at the school board meeting in Newark on Tuesday night as hundreds of parents were expecting to speak with Governor Christie newly appointed Superintendent Cami Anderson, who was brought in to try and fix Newark schools, but she was a no show. In fact, Anderson announced that she will not be attending any school advisory meetings moving forward until some changes take place.
Anderson has introduced a series of sweeping reforms to the Newark schools called “One Newark”. She wants to decentralize control, close public schools, expand charters and layoff as many as one-third of the current teachers.
These proposed changes aren’t coming without criticism and mayoral candidate and former School Board President Shevar Jeffries doesn’t necessarily oppose the need for reform, but he says that Anderson’s tactics leave a lot to be desired.
“The ideas a good one, but then again we can’t continue to have this go-at-it-alone approach where it seems to be the superintendent against the world all the time,” he said.
The biggest criticism of Anderson has been that she seems to work in a vacuum, attempting to implement reforms without so much as seeking buy-in from parents, stakeholders or even elected officials.
School Board President Antoinette Baskerville-Richardson publicly chastised Anderson at the meeting she didn’t attend for the way she treats the community. She feels she is disrespecting the public by not publicly taking questions and not actually presenting what her plan is.
“Shame on you, you can run Cami Anderson, but you cannot hide from your community,” she announced.
Senator Ron Rice shared the overall view of Anderson’s leadership skills.
“I think it’s very pathetic and it’s certainly a sign that there’s no leadership here,” he said.
Anderson is seeking a waiver from Governor Christie to begin firing teachers without concern for seniority. If the crowd last night was any indication however, there is a long way to go if the state actually wants its largest city to be a part of “One Newark”.Watch Chasing New Jersey weeknights at 10pm on My9 and don’t forget to like us on Facebook!