“For Robert Frost, home was the place ‘where, when you have to go, they have to take you in.’ For me, the library is the place that wants to take you in—where the weary find rest and the restless find stimulation; where ideas come alive, discoveries are made, where imaginations take flight; and, too, where jobs are located, prices determined, trips planned, languages learned; where friends gather and strangers meet.”
The state-operated administration of the Newark Public Schools is developing a plan—called “One Newark”—to close many conventional public schools in the city’s poorest sections and expand charter school enrollment. It is a Great Escape plan for parents who want to leave traditional schools for what the district’s state masters say are better charter schools.
Cami Anderson, the Christie-appointed Newark schools superintendent, apparently will pay no price for sending out a letter to Newark families contending that, when their children are home from school, they get into trouble, crime goes up, and the city is ”less safe.” She will not lose her $240,000-a-year job or her $50,000 bonus, she will not have to apologize, and she won’t even have to admit she sent out the letter. Teachers, however, who have made less inflammatory comments have paid with their tenured jobs.
As the recently elected Councilman At Large, I was inclined to meet with all who impact our quality of lives here in the City of Newark and give them the benefit of doubt for moving our city forward. Unfortunately, in terms of education, I was greeted with a letter sent out by current Newark Superintendent Cami Anderson, who only 11 years ago, was merely Cory Booker’s campaign manager. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nW7zm0BLhsk&list=PLorBRaoEC9gTrpRKV1JNIECZrFTxtjjEC)
The central administration of the Newark Public Schools sent out a letter last week to “families”–a letter over the signature of state-appointed superintendent Cami Anderson –that displayed unforgivable insensitivity by suggesting crime would go up because Newark’s childrenwere not confined to their schools for the two days of the New Jersey Education Association convention. It posted the same letter on its website.
A few hours ago I began receiving copies of a letter purportedly sent out by Cami Anderson, the state-appointed schools superintendent in Newark, explaining why she closed down the state’s largest school system for two days with virtually no notice.
Before New Jersey bought the property in Union as the site for Newark State Teachers College, the land was a farm owned by the Kean family. The Keans were from South Carolina but, in the 18th Century, one of them married a Livingston– Livingston, as in Robert Livingston, the first governor of New Jersey. All of that is unimportant except for this: I met Dickie Riley on what we called Kean’s Farm and he became my friend. He was my friend until he was killed in a helicopter crash in Vietnam 45 years ago.
Barbara Buono was treated by New Jersey’s Democratic leadership as if she suffered from a contagious disease. She had one—she was a woman unafraid of Chris Christie in a state where many men leading the Democratic Party hid behind the big man’s shadow.
Let’s make tomorrow different. Let’s not allow the Big Boy and his poodles to own it. Sure, I want to see Barbara Buono win, but, if she doesn’t, if she is sold out by too many people, at least kick a little sand in the Pufferfish’s face: Vote for the minimum wage he vetoed.
I am voting for Barbara Buono to take New Jersey back from the “bipartisan,” billionaire-funded coalition of bullies, punks and cowardly sycophants who are using the state as a testing ground for a future national assault on the welfare of the poor, working people, and the middle class. That makes voting for Buono Tuesday an essential act of patriotism.