Superintendent Cami Anderson needs support to make change in Newark schools
The Newark Star-Ledger with a good article about Cami Anderson:
Cami Anderson, the new superintendent in Newark, is a veteran of the school wars in New York City, so maybe she was prepared for what hit her the other night during a community forum at the Louise A. Spencer School.
She was called a liar. She was called a coward. Her reform plan was condemned as an insult to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. And then it got worse.
The low point came when a union leader, Joe DelGrosso, compared the state control of city schools to slavery: "You robbed them of their ancestry once," shouted DelGrosso, who is white. "Why not again?"
For this patent nonsense, this racial demagoguery, DelGrosso got thundering applause.
But even that's not the really sad part of this story. This is Newark, after all, and public meetings here often get rowdy, thanks to a small group of activists who would be right at home on "The Jerry Springer Show."
The really sad part is that most of the elected school committee did not lift a finger in her defense. It was as if Anderson was supposed to move the reform all by herself.
"What concerns me is there's no chorus of people emerging in her support," says Mayor Cory Booker. "This is the first time in decades we've had a superintendent who is willing to do unpopular things that put children first. I give her an A-plus for courage."
Anderson is the sort of woman who seems ready to bang her head through a brick wall to get this done. One of 12 children in a mixed-race family, a senior aide to Joel Klein when he revamped New York City's schools, she is a white woman who lives in Newark with her African-American husband and their young son. This is not someone who is going to be intimidated by the race card.