The agony has begun. Or, really, just continues. Newark teachers and parents are about to find out how many more public schools will be closed or turned over to Chris Christie’s friends in the privatization movement. They’re about to find out how many jobs will be lost. According to a document circulated by the Newark Teachers Union, some 22 schools will be affected.
Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays. Happy New Year.
Cami Anderson to teachers: Go to hell.
And, for many teachers, it will be a kind of hell. A late friend of mine who was a labor lawyer—the sort who worked for labor—described layoffs as “a little death.” And it is. So much pain—the worry about the future, the humiliation of losing a job, the self-blame, the inability to explain, the shame. The death of dreams.
Newark principals were informed of the changes Friday. The NTU has distributed a list of affected schools. School Closure
It will be a blow, too, to the unions representing school employees. I know many workers are upset with their unions right now—this comes just after public recognition that the negotiated merit pay plan helped Cami Anderson most of all. But, right now, school employees need their unions more than ever—and those unions need to find the militancy they have lost since the 1970s.
Timidity invites destruction—I don’t like the name “Badass” (it won’t even be used in and by the mainstream press) but teachers who are not badass have a better chance of becoming unemployed.
Yeah, I know, schools are supposed to be about the kids. Anderson will undoubtedly say this plan will help the children. But there is no evidence this will help the kids. The “One Newark” plans means fewer neighborhood schools, more disruption, more segregation by class and need.
And teachers have kids, too. I can guarantee that laying off teachers will not help their children.
Looks like this plan will help the charter people. Shaq and other supporters of and donors to the Christie campaign. Teach for America.
This, of course, comes as no surprise. The “One Newark” plan has been circulating for weeks, if not months. It was known schools in the south and central wards would be closed.
But Weequahic High School? Turned over to a charter school? I wonder what Philip Roth thinks of that. Or Hal Braff, Zak’s father. Weequahic High School had one of the greatest alumni organizations of any public school in the country.
But what does Weequahic mean to Christie or to Anderson? This will be touted throughout the country, not as the desecration of Newark history, but as an example of the “bipartisan school reform” that may launch the bully on State Street to Pennsylvania Avenue. The hero of the George Washington Bridge will try to change the subject. Again.
After Shabazz becomes Shaq’s sports academy, you can be sure to see political ads with the two big men together—just as we saw before the gubernatorial election.
I hope teachers and parents throughout New Jersey recognize this isn’t simply a Newark phenomenon. The same ideology that supports the disenfranchisement of popular control over schools, the privatization of public education, turning schooling into profits, and the denial of basic employment rights to school employees is spreading throughout New Jersey and to the suburbs as well—just look at Jersey City and Highland Park and Montclair.
They’re coming for your public school.