Guest blog: Councilman James “appalled” by Anderson’s “degrading” comments, wants apology

johnsharpejamesBy John Sharpe James

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. (

This letter was sent to over 700 families within the Newark School system and specifically stated that, because teachers were away at an annual conference for two days, crime would go up with the students not being in the classroom.  Mrs. Anderson retracted this letter after heavy criticism of its content began.

I was appalled by Cami’s implication that Newark students not in school automatically resort to criminal acts and make our great city “less safe”.  I also referenced an Administrative Law case in Passaic (County), New Jersey, where a tenured teacher was FIRED merely because she posted on Facebook that she was teaching future criminals.

I spoke on both of these situations at the Newark City Council meeting held on November 18th and other council members equally expressed outrage and concern about the insensitivity of the letter sent out by Mrs. Anderson.  I specifically requested that the council look into demanding a letter of apology and a meeting with Mrs. Anderson to explain the content of her letter.

In an age of promoting equality, fairness and unity, age old stereotypes cannot be perpetuated.  To move Newark in a positive direction students and families must be encouraged that they can achieve a bright future and do great things in the classroom as well as their community.  To imply otherwise is a pessimistic, negative and degrading belief which partially explains why there is still a significant disconnect between the leadership in the State controlled Newark Public School district and the community it is constitutionally obligated to serve. 

  1. Cami Anderson owes the community of Newark more than an apology. An apology means nothing because so many of us who have been a part of this education system have weathered the storm of her regime being voiceless and powerless to speak. Cami spoke what was in her heart. She showed anger and contempt for the very people she serves. She is insensitive to the community because she is not a part of the community. How can she be a part of something she fights and devise ways of dismantling on a regular basis?
    She was angry and she retaliated against the NTU and teachers who defied her orders to not attend this convention. When she did not approve it. This is another tactic she is using to drain the unions of their strength. Teachers are required to attend professional development and staff development workshops. The NJEA convention is one way of receiving much needed and desired training that Newark Public Schools will not give teachers. And it’s free. The NJEA convention allows teachers to network with teachers from other school systems, learn from professional who are working in the field and keep abreast of the lastest trends in education. There are benefits in attend a Convention such as this. It’s an excellent resource. Hurray! I can attend the convention every year. I am appalled with Cami’s devise behavior and she should feel embarrassed that she aired her laundry publicly, especially to the parents. But, that goes to show you she lost control and lashed out in the best way she knew how. And now people can see some of the nasty politics in education.

    Bob Braun: Thank you for your insightful letter, Ms. Ausby. We should all be part of a community of caring for children, no matter what their race, ethnic background, or economic status. Her letter grouped together the children of Newark, most of whom are brown or black, and depicted them, not as individual boys and girls, but as a group that is more likely than other groups to get “into trouble,” and make their community “less safe,” and create conditions in which crime goes up. Her role, as the great white goddess savior of Newark’s children, is to keep them warehoused as long as she possibly can. I live in a city, Elizabeth, not unlike Newark. I personally resent her attitudes towatd children of the cities and I am shocked at the lack of reaction from the both the city’s and the state’s political leaders.

  2. “As the recently elected Councilman At Large, I was inclined to meet with all who impact our quality of lives”. “In an age of promoting equality, fairness and unity, age old stereotypes cannot be perpetuated.”

    Yup. That’s Sharpe’s boy. A severe lack of eloquence and a high degree of delusion. This AIN’T no “age of promoting equality, fairness and unity”. The sooner we acknowledge that, the sooner we can fix that deficit.

    Bob Braun: Well, at least he spoke out and didn’t use a phony name like yours.

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