Cami’s Newark school bus plan: Volunteers needed to keep kids safe.

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Anderson wants Newark kids protected by "volunteers"--Is she nuts or what?
Anderson wants Newark kids protected by “volunteers”–Is she nuts or what?

Cami Anderson, the state-imposed administrator of Newark schools, has developed a shuttle bus operation to move children around the city to meet the demands of  her “One Newark” plan to shut down neighborhood schools and launch new charter and other privatized schools. The plan calls for “voluntary” parent and other patrols and relying on businesses, community centers, and churches to ensure the safety of the thousands of children whose lives will be disrupted by Anderson’s scheme.

The plan, a copy of which has been obtained by this site,  also will require the involvement of the Newark Police Department, although there is no evidence that Mayor Ras Baraka, who opposes “One Newark” and has demanded Anderson’s resignation, will deploy scarce police resources.

Anderson’s busing plan also would require the cooperation of the county sheriff’s office and Rutgers University.

The shuttle bus operation won’t be ready to go into effect until the end of September at the earliest, weeks after schools open. The bus routes will be “refined” by the first week of October, according to the draft of  plan that has been marked “confidential.”

According to the plan, Anderson is now developing “pick up” and “drop off” locations for the shuttle buses that will transport children from eight schools affected by the “One Newark”  or as Anderson puts it:

“The goal of the initiative is to provide students from schools that are charter launches, repurposed, or re-sited with safe and efficient transportation to and from school.”

The actual number and identity of the schools is not really clear because at least one school—Hawthorne Avenue—appears to be included in some sections of the 29-page report but not in others.  It also will include so-called “co-located” schools that will be housed inside other schools.

Children from these schools will be eligible for the “shuttle” plan—so-called “re-sited” schools such as Miller Street,  Early Childhood Center-Clinton, Eagle Academy, Girls, Newark Vocational, and NEC;  “repurposed” schools such as Maple Avenue, Roseville Avenue, and Newton Street,” and charter launches from once public schools at Bragaw Avenue,  Madison Avenue, and Alexander Street.

That list differs somewhat from a list in the report of “hub locations” designed around other schools, including Hawthorne Avenue and E. Alma Flagg School.

The plan relies heavily on “volunteer” efforts and changes in school employee work schedules and duties. There is no indication any of these changes have been worked out with relevant unions—although Anderson has been busy this summer laying off staff from their union jobs and rehiring them to new positions not covered by unions.

For example, this is one of Anderson’s ways of keeping children safe as they get picked off and dropped off at various shuttle bus sites:

“Parent Patrol: Aggregate volunteer parents in the morning and afternoons for additional patrols.

“Aides—Assist at pick-up locations and on bus.

“Security—School security staff during pick-up and drop-off.”

Other sections of the report indicate teacher aides will have to ride the shuttle buses with the children “to ensure behavior is kept on the bus” and that security employees will have to come in earlier in the morning and stay later in the afternoon. Parents will “patrol/stand watch” to make sure their children are safe.

The plan also indicates Anderson is “working to engage” local and county and Rutgers police operations to help keep the Newark children safe in face of the disruptive plan. It does not exactly spell out what local businesses, churches and “community centers” are supposed to do to provide “safe school zones” for the children, but the plan does ask the question:

“Who else from the community should we engage? How?”

The plan also includes a timelines. Right now,  Anderson is working on determining the actual shuttle bus routes. From now until the end of the month, Anderson is supposed to be conducting an “outreach” program to persuade parents the plan is a good idea. From Sept. 8 to 24, “family safety and transportation seminars” will be conducted—after the school  year opens.

Parents will have until Sept. 26 to determine whether they want to “opt in” and the routes will be adjusted by Oct. 3.

one newark transportation

 

 

32 comments

  1. Patricia Lamarre

    I hope parents will come out in full force to speak out against this mess.
    I also wish outside unions would speak out against this laying off of union personnel and rehiring as non union. The time has come for solidarity of unions.

  2. Truthglow

    I don’t think anyone should ‘volunteer.’ Let the plan fail, as it surely will, & let the whole world see what HELL Christie & his cronies have brought to NJ’s largest city. THIS is what would happen to the entire country, should he ever become president.

  3. willie

    This is ridiculous. Are these “volunteers”going to be subjected to state background checks like everyone else who deals with children are? If a child is hurt because of neglegence, who takes responsible? If anyone with no connection to Christie came up with this, they would be ridiculed and forced to resign.

  4. newark teacher

    Unfortunately these “volunteers” will attract a lot of strange characters. Hmm do you want sex offenders, drug dealers, or intoxicated “help” volunteering to watch over your child?? Yikes- I hope not. And how will these volunteers be monitored especially in some of the worst areas. I am literally scared for these children and their families come September. September is still when we start school right? Lol Wasn’t busing discussed by concerned parents, staff, and community members back when this plan was introduced? Now in August we are just thinking about what to do with all these misplaced kids? It is laughable the chaos that is being caused. But hey- it will all be fixed come October. Hysterical!!!

    • Dorian

      The Elizabeth Board of Education in Union County did have a system where all employees who work for , and around, the school children must pass the fingerprint process. before they were hired. Obviously, the process did eliminate those with questionable records from obtaining employment working near the school children.
      My question to Cami and her boss is “Will they follow this same fingerprint procedure with all her volunteers before they are placed into action working for the Newark school children ?”

  5. DeeplyConcerned

    Anything in her plan about requiring criminal background checks for every volunteer in her scheme who might have contact with students?

  6. anniefromnewark

    What are the insurance ramifications of parent patrols? I would hope there would be mandatory criminal background checks for the volunteers as in schools, churches, etc, basically anyone who deals with children for more than X-Hours a week. How long will it take to perform these checks, or will they not be necessary in this instance? I would hope these parents would insist on some type of remuneration for their services. How dare she rely on Churches to help her out, what happened to “separation of Church and State”. If this wasn’t so pathetic it would be funny.

  7. Michael Dixon

    Yet another reason why CAMI HAS GOT TO GO!!! Does she really expect the parents that she has not engaged in this process to now come and bail her ass out as volunteers??? Really???

  8. Source1

    Dear Lord….

    How about involving the National Guard, US Marines, Air Force, Army, and Navy. Better yet, the Navy Seals…

    The plug should be pulled on this shuttle plan as soon as possible. Some child is going to be hurt or worse…outrageous.

    This is a first hand example of the kind of planning and educational program impementation that has been ongoing ever since Anderson has been here ( with the guidance of misguided consultants). Another example of building the airplane and flying the airplane at the same time. Her lunacy is now exposed for all to see.

    Anderson is an abomination.

  9. Susan Best

    CHILDREN MOVING AROUND THE CITY FROM ONE PLACE TO ANOTHER WILL NEVER BE SAFE. CAMI HAS TAKEN THEM OUT OF THEIR SAFE ENVIRONMENT AND PLACED THEM IN THE WAY OF DANGER WITH THIS RIDICULOUS PLAN. I WONDER IF VOLUNTEERS WORK WHEN IT RAINS AND SNOWS…OR WHEN THEY ARE SICK….
    WILL THE CHILDREN BE ABLE TO IDENTIFY THESE WORKERS.????ARE THEY THE SAME ONES EVERYDAY???? THE CHILDREN ARE OPEN PREY….
    TOO MANY HOLES IN THIS PLAN….ALMOST AS MANY AS CAMI HAS IN HER HEAD…..

  10. Tony

    If kids in newark are going to be bused why stop at the local charter school with the limited curriculum, underpaid teachers, and limited arts programs; why not just drive on over to any rich town and recieve a private education via public dollars.
    That would be real choice that Anderson calls for!

  11. Bill Thomas

    Wouldn’t it just be easier to put money into a local school? I don’t know, fix the buildings, a working copier, more materials for the students, pay teachers more, add a health clinic…

    Bob Braun: Yes, but that wouldn’t help Tim Carden and other friends of Cami Anderson.

  12. Mr. Outside

    This is a really innovative way of encouraging parental involvement. Which is ironic because as much as we say, and I read in the comments on this site, that “someone needs to do something;” here is a real opportunity to do so, as inconvenient and as ill-intentioned as it may be, and I feel, personally, that the outrage demonstrated in these comments is removed from the outrage in Bob’s post.

    What I’m saying is that the comparisons are always being made between urban and suburban schools, students and parents; the latter among whom parental involvement and community engagement is strong and is a significant factor in overall student achievement. This may not be the way we want to come together as a community for the students, but this may be THE reason why we have to do so. We have the choice between being reactive and being responsive. TRUTHGLOW’s comment suggesting that people decline to volunteer protecting children for the purposes of embarrassing Cami is reactionary and irresponsible. To my earlier point, do you think parents and whole communities in suburbia balk at such responsibility? It’s exactly what the PTAs in those communities are for. Refusing share the burden of responsibility is not the way to come together to respond to this incredibly stupid plan. It’s just passive aggression, and I don’t believe at this critical point, we can continue exercising passive behavior of any variety.

    I’m just as bewildered at what I’ve written as any of you reading. I want to clear about the fact, that I DON’T SUPPORT THIS PLAN. I also can’t stand by and virtually listen to more complaining, and more resignation. I hear enough of that at work. If the people who are responsible for educating the students don’t give a damn, and the parents and the community don’t give a damn, then who the hell does?

    With school opening in just a few weeks we need a response. We need a forum wherein to shape and cultivate that response. If Bob would oblige us, I’d like to ask if he would lend a place on this blog to serve as the central forum where we coordinate, exchange ideas and share information.

    Cami reads this ledger. It’s my strong opinion that she presses forward with these delusional ideas because she is unopposed, and unchallenged. She doesn’t perceive a threat from exposes, no matter how brilliant they are. To challenge her and her backers, we have to levy a serious response that clearly communicates that we are aware, that we are upset, and that we are many.

    We didn’t start this, but we can shut it down. #NewarkSpring

    Bob Braun: I’d be more than happy to do what you suggest–if I knew how. I mean, technically knew how. Any advice certainly would be welcome. Meanwhile, I don’t agree with your comment about Truthglow’s posting. I’d like to see parent volunteer to keep their kids home or bring them to freedom schools. That, however, would have required a level of planning and leadership I have not yet seen at this late date.

    • marin

      Excellent post… the reality is that this plan would bring the parents together and then they can make their voices heard.
      I am in opposition to the plan, however I see the value in organizing volunteers within the community to keep children safe.
      Showing children they are cared about can make all the difference in their lives.

    • Mr. Outside

      Bob,

      A new post can be the forum. We can dialogue in the comments section just like we do in any other posts comments section. It just needs to be distinct in title and purpose. Let’s title it “#NewarkSpring Forum” or some such, and include a brief description encouraging dialogue, ideation and exchange.

  13. Educator

    Bob

    Has you reached out to the NPS’ insurance carrier for a react quote? I can’t imagine they would be too happy.

  14. Wilhelmina Holder (Grandma)

    Parents should volunteer and fight to keep their neighborhood schools open with highly qualified and effective administrators and educators who reflect, understand, and honor their childrens’ cultures.

    Parents should volunteer to enforce the level of respect afforded to parents in other communities, not controlled by the NJDOE with top-down school reforms which are not inclusive nor sustainable and object to any continuation of the same.

    Parents should volunteer to demand the release of test scores which the District is holding as a “secret” since August 1. They have a right to know how their children performed and how they can support them moving forward.

    Parents should volunteer to educate themselves about One Newark to determine if a transporation plan (i) where their voices were not included and (ii) which commences three weeks after school begins and (iii) which will require them to have their children on a street corner at 6:15 a.m. -6:30 a.m.

    Parents should volunteer to object to having inexperienced educators in their schools who often quit mid-year subjecting their children to six or more substitute teachers in a one-year span.

    Parents should volunteer to object to the colossal waste of talent and money of those educators/administrators (who are efficient) seated at 2 Cedar Street in an Educators Without Placement Pool which adversely impacts our childrens’ ability to access to state-of-the art technology, support personnnel, personalized education plans for every student, and out-of-class learning experiences due to budget constraints mandated by replacement hiring.

    Parents should volunteer and object to the expansion of hiring of six-figure district administrative personnel while laying off educators with experience. Who is more critical to our children —-an experienced efficient educator or a district administrator with ties to the Superintendent?

    Parents should volunteer and object to the direction of Newark Public School is headed under the current administration and its inability to self-correct.

    Parents should volunteer to visit each and every classroom and bathroom in their childrens’ school to evaluate the health and safety environments and determine if an adequate staffing level is present to prevent harm to the children.

    Parents should make the ultimate decision by asking themselves: Is this what I want for my children?

    Parents should volunteer to support one another for the sake of all children by talking with each other and ask: “I love your child, do you love mine enough to take a corrective action.”

    • Mr. Outside

      You’re right Wilhelmina, they should. But they won’t. Not without leadership. How can we step up today? How can we make it easy for parents to volunteer to stand up for their children?

      Which immediate issue can we wrap ourselves around? We can’t explicitly recommend parents keep their kids home from school without undermining and discrediting our cause, while further validating Cami’s contorted logic.

      Can we encourage parents to bring their children to their neighborhood schools? I think that puts the ball in Cami’s court. On one hand parents are exercising their legal rights under NCLB, and on the other, it presents Cami with having to publicly break the law either by denying children access to education by refusing to let them in, or granting them access to seats in their neighborhood schools.

    • newark teacher

      OMG! Wilhemina is so right! Parents need to step up and volunteer for the things she mentioned. I would love for parents to walk into schools and see classrooms, hallways, and restrooms not up to code. Unfortunately not too many parents speak up for what is right. What happens when one of these “volunteers” speak to a child in a way that perhaps their own parent may not. Who will protect them? It is a security issue that has not been thought out. I do not underestimate the parents in Newark. I have worked in the city for 20 years and have had amazing parents of students in my classroom, but I have also seen some real “winners” as well.

  15. Newarkbluesman

    She laid off all community aides,now she is doing same to six hour aides not many left.Some aides had 20 years in,She doesn’t have a clue her own staff is worried she acts crazy and her outbursts are pretty bad.To bad they balked on getting her out,they know she is nuts.

    • NJGS

      As I read your post and then the comments, I couldn’t stop shaking my head over the lack of understanding regarding the definition of “children’s safety” and what it actually means.

      I also am wondering about the apparent lack of respect and understand Ms. Anderson has for our religious institutions. Do I understand correctly that Ms. Anderson NOW wants the religious institutions of Newark to help insure the safety of Newark’s students by providing safety houses and/or people to help move the students around the city? Aren’t these the very same people that wrote Ms. Anderson about her One Newark Plan that the safety of Newark students was a major concern for them? Aren’t these the same people Ms. Anderson refused to acknowledge their concerns about the safety for Newark’s students? NOW Ms. Anderson is reaching out to the very same people she ignored to help her solve the transportation problem that her One Newark Plan is causing.

      I’m so confused by everything that is happening in Newark. None of it makes any sense on any level, intellectually or emotionally.

      Why wasn’t transportation considered BEFORE the One Newark Plan was forced upon the Newark residents? Why are our students going to be test-tube experiments to see how their transportation works out before it is finalized? Isn’t this backwards planning? How many of our children need to be hurt before people see how harmful The One Newark Plan is for them?

      Ms. Anderson, we would not be having this discussion if Newark students were allowed to go to their local community public school. Sure, we have had safety issues before, but nothing like what is coming and not because local neighborhood schools were closed.

      Ms. Anderson. If you truly want to keep our students safe, STOP THE ONE NEWARK PLAN NOW. Take back and reopen the public schools you have closed and given away. Allow the students to go back to their neighborhood public schools. If you do this, you won’t have to worry about dealing with the students’ safety. You won’t have to worry about getting places and people to volunteer to protect our students, because our students will not be put in harm’s way because they are being bused across town.

      I truly hope the community does get together. NOT to assist Ms. Anderson, but rather to figure out how to STOP the foolishness of The One Newark Plan. I know it is late in the day, but it still isn’t too late to work together to keep our children safe by forcing Ms. Anderson’s hand and getting rid of The One Newark Plan.

  16. Susan Cauldwell

    As a former suburban parent, I want to assure Mr. Outside that no suburban district would so irresponsibly attempt to transport students as Ms. Anderson is now attempting to do. If they did, suburban parents would storm board of ed meetings and demand appropriate and safe transportation for their students. Suburban parents pony up for the extras, not the basics that schools districts are required to provide.

    • Mr. Outside

      Susan,

      You prove my point. I never said suburban parents would do what Cami is asking volunteers to do. I just said they wouldn’t balk at the responsibility. The point I was trying to make is that PTAs in suburbia respond to challenges like this by coordinating online and face to face. Of course they pony up the resources! Almost all of the parents in suburbia regularly dialogue about issues facing their public schools both online and face to face as we have been doing. But to our shared points, they do this every day.

      If the bus drivers in suburbia all won the lottery and retired to Monaco, leaving parents to have to bring children to school themselves, some parents might complain about the inconvenience. Some may raise valid issues about safety amid suggestions of district sanctioned volunteer transportation. Other parents, who may be neighbors and trust one another may alleviate the problem and share the responsibility by carpooling, or taking turns walking kids to school, for example. Unlike in Cami’s ridiculous plan, these efforts aren’t volunteered. In situations as I’ve outlined, this is a community response to a community problem.

      Cami is like an irresponsible roommate. She spends the rent money on things she doesn’t need; brings in weird strangers all the time who use her because her daddy’s rich; is never around; never does any chores; and clogs the tub AND the toilet, then expects you to fix it.

      When Cami leaves, we’ll still have a responsibility to manage, and issues to respond to. I’m saying let’s do that.

  17. booklady

    If a grad student wrote this plan up as a paper for Harvard Graduate School, where Ms Anderson got Master’s in Public Policy degree, I suspect it would get a failing grade.

    • Mr. Outside

      Wanna bet?

      http://www.hfrp.org/evaluation/the-evaluation-exchange/issue-archive/community-based-initiatives/promising-methodologies-for-evaluating-cbis

      http://www.hfrp.org/evaluation/the-evaluation-exchange/issue-archive/community-based-initiatives/evaluating-community-based-initiatives

      Here’s some of her work back when she was a graduate student and research assistant at Harvard. Almost twenty years later, it is still being presented and highlighted by Harvard. Where she received her degree may be prestigious, but I don’t know if that qualifies the school, the course of study, or those who conferred the degree such distinction to assume they are above approving mediocrity.

      What she and her colleague do in these evaluations and analyses of community based initiatives is the ground work for what she is trying to enact in Newark.

      Please note how it is labeled as theory at the top of both pages. Our esteemed Superintendent has confused theory, or in her case, make-believe, with practice, or what most would call reality.

      I recommend reading it. If for nothing else, it illustrates and contextualizes what she’s trying to do, how divergent she is, and spectacularly she is failing at her own theories.

      It is important for us to familiarize ourselves with this and read it because essentially, it is Cami’s testimony against herself.

      • booklady

        Thank you for the links. The first mentions “engaging the community” at least twice. Am I cynical to think CA’s co-author wrote those sections? We haven’t heard much about the extra community task force that David Hespe recommended.

        • Source1

          Perhaps it was a typo in Anderson’s research paper.

          It may be that she didn’t mean “engaging” the community , but rather “enraging” the community. In which case, she has been highly effective…

          • Mr. Outside

            That’s feasible. But it begs a great question. How do we also respond to her enraging the community too?

            She’s disrupted the teaching community, the neighborhoods, and specific families. The feds looking into One Newark is a great response using the legal system. But that will take time.

            Using the methods described in her papers, I’d like to engage the ethnic groups and encourage them to bring their children to their neighborhood schools, regardless of where the One Newark enrollment letters tell them they were assigned to.

            The ethnic newspapers have been printing One Newark propaganda since she announced it. NPS has paid good dirty money to propagate the spin, and these smaller ethnic newspapers have been eager to collect the revenue. But, maybe we can reach out to these newspapers and as teachers, parents and concerned civic members, encourage them to write about the issues we are discussing here.

            Local Talk is read by groups that speak English. Does anyone know which newspapers correspond to the Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Creole speaking communities?

            If we can reach these papers, we can multiply the force of our effectiveness, and reach more people more quickly.

  18. booklady

    Maybe Newark Student Union youngsters can advise re newspapers for various language communities. They are admirable! Can’t wait to learn K Tomiak’s future accomplishments. OR maybe Newark mayor’s office has list for public service announcements.

  19. Pingback: Cami Anderson: Time to Send One Newark to the Graves | Blind Noise

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