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.”