July 1, 2014
By Marc Bussanich
Newark, NJ—Newark Schools Superintendent Cami Anderson’s contract was renewed by state officials on Friday, prompting ministers, parents and community leaders to rally outside City Hall calling for her resignation. One Newark clergyman said that the re-hiring by the state amounts to union busting.
In a video interview, we asked Rev. Ronald Tuff why he believes so.
“The teachers and the principals with the One Newark Plan have to reapply for their jobs. That means that all those people who were working are now out of work. New people are going to be brought in, and maybe some of the old people will be kept, but all those people that were there will lose their jobs,” said Rev. Tuff.
The rally at City Hall on Monday is just the latest in a number of marches and rallies where Newark parents, teachers and students have been opposing Ms. Anderson’s One Newark Plan. The plan will consolidate, relocate and re-configure more than one quarter of the city’s schools, which opponents say favors charter schools at the expense of funding public schools.
Just last month, Newark students staged a dramatic sit-in during a school advisory board meeting, prompting Ms. Anderson to leave the meeting. The students stayed overnight, followed by a press conference the follow morning where they announced a direct meeting the following week with Ms. Anderson and David Hespe, New Jersey’s Education Commissioner.
We also interviewed Deborah Smith Gregory, president of the Newark NAACP, asking why did Newark clergy decided to call the press conference on the steps of Newark City Hall.
“The clergy have taken a stand. Seventy-seven clergy members asked the governor to place a moratorium on the One Newark Plan, but he disregarded them. They are our spiritual leaders,” said Gregory.
Ms. Gregory also noted that the ministers voiced their complaints of Ms. Anderson’s contract to Mr. Hespe. But after two meetings, “Hespe renewed [her] contract anyway.”
After the last speaker spoke at the press conference, Pastor Jennie Holt offered a prayer.
“Father we know that you are all mighty and all powerful. And we know God that you are going to show yourself strong in New Jersey by your mighty hand to remove Cami Anderson,” said Pastor Holt.