Feds will probe firing of black school administrators

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Tony Motley
Tony Motley

Newark’s state-imposed school superintendent, Cami Anderson, now armed with a new three-year contract and the unrelenting love of presidential aspirant Chris Christie, has found yet another way to waste public funds on legal fees–violating the civil rights of employees, parents and children. Just little more than a week after the US Department of Education announced it would investigate potential civil rights violations inherent in the “One Newark”  redistricting plan, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is looking into personnel actions taken against the city’s school principals.

The principals contend the Newark Public Schools under Cami Anderson’s leaders has engaged in a “practice of removing, demoting, and replacing  black tenured administrators.”

The complaint also contends:

“There has been a pattern of discrimination in rating administrators and such ratings have been utilized as pretext for the aforementioned practice.”

So far, three school administrators–Tony Motley, Fred Chatman, and Aretha Malloy–have filed affidavits in support of the complaint. But Motley says more are expected to sign on.

Motley was removed as principal of the Bragaw Avenue School so it could become a charter operation run by TEAM Academy, a privately operated but publicly funded school whose leaders have close personal and business ties to Anderson. Anderson authorized the sale of the 18th Avenue School to a profit-making subsidiary of TEAM Academy known as Pink Hula Hoop LLC.

Chatman was summarily removed from the Harriet Tubman School at the end of the school year, despite protests from parent groups. Malloy was removed as principal of E. Alma Flagg School. Parents at all three schools tried unsuccessfully to reverse Anderson’s decisions but the state-appointed superintendent has shown an unwillingness to bend. She also has refused to attend school board meetings that allow open discussion.

Anderson’s dictatorial ways have provoked widespread protest–and factored in the election of Ras Baraka as mayor. Despite the opposition to her and promised by state Education Commissioner David Hespe to rein her in, she has remained Christie’s agent in Newark with all the power she has enjoyed since getting the nearly $300,000-a-year job in 2011.

Motley says he and the others have been reassigned to central office. Although they receive full salary and benefits, the scores of school administrators and hundreds of teachers sent to 2 Cedar Street have no real responsibilities–a practice by Anderson that wastes millions of dollars each year. The reassigned educators are also known as “educators without placements”–or EWPS.

A previous complaint, now under investigation by the US Education Department, contends the “One Newark” redistricting plan has a disparate impact on black and other minority parents, children, and employees.

In addition, Motley is one of five school principals who were suspended earlier this year for speaking out on the “One Newark” plan. They have filed a federal lawsuit against Anderson.

“We expect the number of school employees joining this complaint to grow,” says Motley. “It’s clear Anderson has targeted many administrators and it’s no accident many, if not most, of them are black.”

 

 

 

 

9 comments

  1. Down Brown

    You cannot run an organization of any size by setting a climate of fear especially one the size of Newark. Your efforts are bound to backfire with tragic results… I wish she would just leave Newark on her own. Meanwhile she is on some sort of witch hunt of separation to remove long standing members of our communities from our schools… She must be stopped!!!!!

    • newaekbluesman

      She has 300,000 reasons to drag it out.The Damage she is doing could take decades to fix,she has passed Beverly Hall for worst we ever had,we must continue to expose her incompetency.We will win the war but it will take many battles.

  2. Michael Fiorillo

    Ah, yes, the Civil Rights Movement of Our Time, predicated on the removal of senior Black educators…

    • Maci Sonrenda

      Thank you for clarifying that for everyone, Mr. Fiorello. People fail to understand the scope of my work.

      The way I see it, The field of urban education needs a transformative and disruptive leader; a leader like Andre Jackson. I’m like Andrew Jackson trying to make things better for everybody. And you know what? If a couple of Black School leaders and a disproportionate number of predominantly black students in primarily black neighborhoods have to walk a Trail of Tears in order for my interpretation of Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream for their future to be a reality, then so be it!

      Oh, and to be clear, by Trail of Tears, I mean their fearful and anxious daily commute walkingto and from school through the streets of unfamiliar Newark neighborhoods to which they are not familiar. #chauffered

  3. Steve Des

    Newark schools open a month from now. Does anyone expect the Feds or the courts from stopping Cami from the charter schools land rush from happening? In reality, what we can expect is chaos happening in all the schools that will reopen as charters, renewed schools, etc. There will be demonstrations in the areas affected and in front of 2 Cedar Street, but when all the dust settles, Cami and her corporate sponsors of charter schools will be left in charge while the regular schools smother in ashes. No one expects the Feds or the courts to take action stop or revert the Newark school system.

  4. DeeplyConcerned

    These principals are removed from their positions, and yet, as you reported earlier this year, CA had no problem hiring and keeping a principal who was thrown out of the NYC school system and banned from ever returning after he was accused of having an affair with a subordinate and using his school district credit card for $9,000 in personal purchases?!

    • Maci Sonrenda

      First of all, he wasn’t accused. He was accused AND confessed to it. So get your facts straight.

      Second, The New York City Department of Education is a big place. There are scandals everywhere. Just because we worked for the same employer doesn’t mean I knew what was going on. I barely know what’s going on in the district I’m employed in now! What do you think? I’m supposed to direct my nearly billion dollar a year budget on background checks? Hell no! I’ve got pancakes to pay for.

      Bob Braun: I think this is ironic.

  5. Unsettled

    This entire system is broken. There is no winning with these people. None. They have laws and hearings intended to be “fair”, but they aren’t. In 20 years, the administrative union has never won a Donaldson hearing. 20 years?! You mean to tell me that no administrator has been non renewed without purpose in all that time? A shame. I am a child of Newark and this pains me.

  6. Newarkbluesman

    Hard but not impossible,together we can make the Governor vulnerable,he so wants a presidential run.Let us ask republicans “Do you like big Government, Do you think Government can solve all social problems,do you believe that running a100 million dollar deficit is good for. Hard working tax payers?Dear Governor you are the decider,rest assure we are on the campaign trail asking you these questions,A liberal democrat you appointed running up the tab,shame on you Christie your a dam liberal.

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