What the residents of Newark and other cities understandably do not wish to accept is a harsh, basic fact of political life in New Jersey: They do not matter. While Cami Anderson, the much-hated, state-appointed superintendent of city schools, insists her plans to close neighborhood schools and open new charters are supported by all but a vocal minority, that is clearly an artifice she has promoted as a public relations strategy. Slothful, clueless, and, in the case of The Star-Ledger and NJTV, fawning, media representatives go along with the lie and make it seem real.
The Newark school board Tuesday night voted unanimously to freeze the salary of state-imposed superintendent Cami Anderson. It also passed a resolution making it more difficult for her to boycott board meetings. Finally, in what might be the only resolution to have an impact, the board rejected an effort by Anderson to spend $1 million in private funds to evaluate the labor contract she reached with the Newark Teachers Union.
UPDATE — The NJEA’s communications director has responded to this article. It picks up where my blog leaves off. I don’t appreciate the personal attacks and use of what I wrote in personal emails but, hey, pr people do what they got to do:
Here’s the core of the problem in Newark schools: Cami Anderson, Gov. Chris Christie’s agent in Newark, has the numbers that reveal how well or how poorly she is doing. No one else, including the city’s elected school board, has them. So she can make outrageous statements–like the first day of school had 90 percent attendance, as she said Tuesday night, and all the school buses ran on time–and, while everyone else believes she’s either lying or demented, or both, they have no way of disproving her.
You have to hand this to Cami Anderson–she knows how to control the main-stream media. And not just her besotted swain at The Star-Ledger who often acts as if she were the Lady Guinevere and he was Sir Lancelot galloping to save her from burning at the stake. On NJTV, the Adubato/Christie television enterprise that won’t even talk about how The Star-Ledger has left Newark, Anderson is treated like a Mel Brooks version of an oracle whose evasive answers cannot be challenged. “How many parents stayed home from school the first day?” the anchor asked. Cami answered a different question and the anchor obediently never brought the question up again.
Barringer High School in Newark was in chaos today after scores of students and parents marched out of the North Ward school–the oldest high school in Newark–to protest teacherless classrooms, foodless lunch hours, and class sizes reaching into the sixties.
UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE
Kristin Towkaniuk, the leader of the Newark Students Union, was injured last night when police tried to forcibly remove chains she had used to link herself with other students during a protest of Christie administration school policies in the states largest city.
Newark’s political and organizational leaders will, I know, scoff at this but, right now, the leaders of the struggle against “One Newark” and the privatization of public education are the hundreds of high school students who early this morning marched from three high schools to Military Park and who, tomorrow, are expected to take even bolder action against the policies of Cami Anderson, her puppet master Chris Christie and Christie’s privatization guru, Cory Booker.