Cami Anderson, appointed by Gov. Chris Christie to run the state’s largest school district, just told the city’s residents that–starting tonight–she would no longer attend public meetings of the School Advisory Board. The board is the statutory remnant of the Newark Board of Education whose powers were transferred to the state superintendent by the state takeover law.
She made the decision just days after it was reported here that she would layoff 700 or more teachers while reserving the right to hire new instructors. She has applied to outgoing state Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf for a so-called “equivalency or waiver” that she believes would permit her to lay off tenured teachers without regard to seniority.
Anderson also is boycotting the public meetings in the midst of a controversy over her plan to close at least four neighborhood schools, expand charter school enrollment, and otherwise change the operations of about a third of the city’s schools.
“She’s a coward and doesn’t want to face the people,” said Grace Sergio, the president of the Hawthorne Avenue parent-teacher organization. Sergio was preparing to give a presentation at tonight’s meeting aimed at keeping the school open.
About 90 mintes before the meeting was supposed to begin, she released a letter in which she said the school board meetings “are no longer focused on achieving educational outcomes for children.”
She added: “The dysfunction displayed within this forum sets a bad example for our children, and it’s no longer a place where meaningful interaction and dialogue occurs between NPS and the public.”
At last month’s meeting, she stormed out after a Newark parents asked whether or ot she wanted for her children what Newark parents wanted for theirs. The parent, Natasha Allen, used the term “brown babies” and that apparently angered Anderson who is the mother an interracial.
I will be filing more later tonight.