I am following this news closely, because even though I now live far away, I was born in Newark and went to elementary school there. Now my elementary school is slated to close and become a KIPP Charter Academy.
It must have been schadenfreude for Ms. Anderson, that the principals at the schools slated for closing spoke out at a meeting held by a city councilman. It made it so much easier to dismiss them.
[H.Grady]James was one of five principals indefinitely suspended in one day by Cami Anderson, Christie’s agent in Newark. The others were Tony Motley, Bragaw Avenue School; Dorothy Handfield, Belmont-Runyon School; Deneen Washington, Maple Avenue School, and Lisa Brown, Ivy Hill School.Watch the video below the squiggly.
Four of the principals—James, Motley, Handfield, and Washington—had spoken at the community meeting two days earlier. They tried to answer questions from local residents worried about what would happen to their children as Anderson moves toward a wholesale transfer of public school assets to the KIPP Schools, a charter organization that operates TEAM Academy Charter Schools. Questions Anderson wasn’t answering.
Shortly before noon Friday, the four were ordered to show up at district headquarters at 2 Cedar Street and handed letters by Vanessa Rodriguez, the district’s “chief talent office.” The letter states:Would it surprise anyone, that Chris Christie's TFA (Teach For America) appointee was given the go-ahead to decimate public schools?
“Please be advised that an investigation has been launched regarding an incident that occurred on or about January 15, 2014. As a result, you have been placed on suspension effective immediately. You are not to report to any Newark Public School facility until further notice.”
An incident? Since when is an open public meeting an “incident”? An “investigation”? It was videotaped and witnessed by hundreds of people.
The principals were individually called in and ordered to hand over their keys and their email was instantly blocked. Dennis McKeever, an attorney for the administrators’ union CASA, was present.
But a lot is on the line. Christie’s reputation as a “reformer.” Anderson’s job. The future of KIPP Schools and the millions it is investing in Newark real estate.I can tell you this would never fly in the tony suburbs of Newark. In the name of "school choice," Newark's parents have lost their choice. Who will be next?
It comes at a critical time for the Christie regime. Bridgegate has tarnished the reputation of the man who has presidential ambitions and the Legislature has begun a massive investigation–a real investigation of a real incident. His office also is under investigation for misusing public money meant for rebuilding parts of New Jersey damaged by Superstorm Sandy. A lawsuit alleging the governor used the state Attorney General’s office to quash indictments against political allies in Hunterdon County is making its way through the courts.
And because the Star Ledger has not covered this, here are the links to those who are covering it:
Anthony Cody at Ed Week:
and of course, my hero, Diane Ravitch: