So, at the last possible minute -- I got the official email at 4:15 PM -- she's chickening out of tonight's highly-anticipated school board meeting:
February 25, 2014What this means, of course, is that Cami Anderson will now only appear in forums similar to the phony "town halls" her boss, Chris Christie, leads (paid for with our tax dollars).
An Open Letter to Newark Families,
The goal of our district is to work with families every day to provide students with a great education. From the daily conversations we have with families as they drop their children off at school, to regular parent/teacher conferences to discuss a child’s progress, and to community meetings to discuss Universal Enrollment options, we greatly value our interactions with parents and community members each and every day. Newark Public Schools (NPS) is totally committed to your children and their education – it’s why we’re moving aggressively to increase equity, transparency and accountability throughout the system.
We have come to realize that one particular venue—the monthly meetings chaired by NPS’ School Advisory Board (SAB)—are no longer focused on achieving educational outcomes for children. 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. As a result, Superintendent Anderson and the NPS Leadership team will no longer attend these meetings until the SAB can commit to ensuring a space conducive to open dialogue with the community.
In light of this decision, NPS will redouble its efforts to ensure the community is informed about One Newark plans and other key initiatives. NPS will continue to create community events and discussions throughout the city and publish the agendas and minutes of these events online and in schools. We will also continue to meet with parent advisory groups and attend student leadership forums to garner feedback in order to ensure that your concerns are effectively debated and addressed.
Finally, NPS will videotape its monthly update, traditionally presented at the SAB meeting, and distribute it directly on our website - http://www.nps.k12.nj.us/ - and on Channel 77, the Newark community cable network.
Dialogue with you is more important than ever before. We look forward to continuing to implement our ongoing efforts and adding new options to facilitate greater access to information.
Newark Public Schools
No more questions from the public she supposedly works for; no more defending her policies to the parents she supposedly serves.
No more justifying her outrageous attempts to skirt the tenure law and the NPS teachers contract -- both negotiated in good faith by the unions representing NPS teachers, who, for their good efforts, will now be screwed over royally.
No more questions on the racially biased One Newark plan, which faces legislative investigation for, among other things, allegedly engaging in brazen backroom dealing.
Chris Christie and Cami Anderson are, as far as the people of Newark are concerned, one and the same. Neither gives a damn that democracy, free speech, and accountability is now only available to suburban parents, and not to working-class urban parents of color.
Fellow suburban parents and teachers, I will say it to you once again: if Christie and Anderson and the rest of the reformy types can take away their rights, what makes you think they can't take away yours?
Here's the rest of the press release:
Statements from NPS Leadership regarding recent decision to create alternative engagement venue:As a veteran educator with two masters degrees -- one in the subject I teach, another in how to teach it -- I am more than a little cheesed that anyone with two years teaching experience, no degrees in education, no building-level administrative experience, and no standard certifications issued from the State of New Jersey would call herself "an educator."
“I am an educator who believes that we must all serve as models for our students. No one wins when personal attacks are allowed to seep into discussion. There must be a way where we can have rigorous debates and disagreement -- even vociferously -- but remain respectful and focused on business," stated Superintendent Cami Anderson.
“We witnessed a series of concerning actions last month at the SAB meeting that simply undermine the definition of a public event. For years, fair and agreeable rules have been followed in SAB meetings to ensure decorum and the strongest possible voice for the public. In my judgment, we have now reached a serious threshold of disorganization. We simply cannot continue to have dysfunctional meetings. It is vital to remember that the true purpose of this meeting is to both inform and provide an opportunity for community input. In this environment we have lost the ability to advise the public, and we must look for ways to keep them informed,” stated Valerie Wilson, NPS’ School Business Administrator.Ms. Wilson, with all due respect: that is not your "judgement" to make. If you don't like the way the SAB runs the meetings, resign your position. I'm sure there are many districts that could use your skills. You serve them, not vice versa.
"Since late fall, NPS has hosted over 100 community meetings with families, community members, clergy, and elected leaders. Last week alone, NPS had 10 family meetings focused on universal enrollment options for students. On a monthly basis, we meet with students, advocates, families, and faculty," stated Ruben Roberts, NPS’ Executive Director for Community Affairs and Engagement. "Debate has occurred in these meetings and ideas have been challenged, but there has always been a sense of community and a focus on our students. Our top priority must be to ensure that information is shared and questions are addressed and my team will continue these efforts -- and the Superintendent, who is particularly focused on these conversations -- will continue to attend."Mr. Roberts, with all due respect: your "top priority" should be to serve the children and parents of Newark. If things get a little too hot for you at SBA meetings, maybe it's time to ask yourself if, perhaps, the good people of Newark don't think as highly of your efforts as you seem to.
I wonder: how long do you think the good people of Millburn would put up with this sort of talk from their school district administration? How do you think they would feel if they their superintendent decided not to attend their school board meetings anymore because his feelings might get hurt?
Cami Anderson: So vociferous!