Category: Education

Cami loses another big tenure case–and Neil Thomas wins

Neil Thomas--denied due process
Neil Thomas–denied due process

State-imposed school superintendent Cami Anderson was handed a stunning legal blow yesterday with the release of an arbitrator’s decision demanding the reinstatement of a widely respected teacher whose only apparent flaw was opposition to Anderson’s policies. Neil Thomas, the father of former student school board member Jordan Thomas, must now get his job and pay and benefits back. He had been suspended since September.
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Newark: Students protest Barringer chaos

Students demonstrate outside Barringer
Students demonstrate outside Barringer

The state-run administration of the Newark public schools doesn’t know how to keep principals at Barringer High School. It doesn’t know how to provide the students with schedules, courses, teachers, desks, or even edible lunches. On a day, like yesterday, when  temperatures fell below freezing, it didn’t even know how to supply heat. But it sure developed some creative ways to prevent students from joining a planned walkout to protest conditions in Newark’s oldest high school.
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The story of two dead teenagers

Brenda Keith
Brenda Keith
Hannah Graham
Hannah Graham

 

Hannah Graham and Brenda Keith were teenagers whose lives were cut short this fall in eerily similar circumstances. They disappeared within days of each other in September. Their bodies were found within days of each other in October, both left out in the open and so badly decomposed that immediate identification was impossible. But that is where the similarities stop.
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The call no parent should receive from school

Akil Stevens at University Hospital
Akil Stevens at University Hospital

It’s the call parents never want to get. Never should get. But, on October 22, Aquila Stevens received a call from the school nurse at John F. Kennedy School in Newark. Her son Akil had been in an accident. He was injured and would be taken to University Hospital. Akil is the younger brother of Marques-Aquil Lewis, a member of the elected Newark board of education.
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NJ schools chief buries report critical of Newark’s Anderson

Rice demands subpoena power
Rice demands subpoena power

Acting state Education Commissioner David Hespe has suppressed a report critical of how the Newark schools have been run by Cami Anderson. The controversial  Anderson was appointed the state school superintendent for Newark by Hespe’s boss, Gov. Chris Christie, in 2011. Anderson, once a campaign worker for former Newark Mayor Cory Booker,  presided over a chaotic school opening in September and  recently admitted her tenure had failed to raise achievement levels in many of the city’s public elementary schools.
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Brenda Keith: A child lost in Newark

Brenda Keith
Brenda Keith

She could be trouble, but her teachers and other staff members at Newark’s West Side High School loved her and did what they could for her because, as one said, “She could be warm and loving.” She might run through the school’s halls spouting obscenities, but also was known to help out at a local church. Whoever Brenda Keith was, however anyone saw her,  no matter how she acted, the 17-year-old should not have died.
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Christie’s Newark schools break the law

LIke he said to the courageous nurse--"So sue me" if Newark uses unlicensed teachers.
LIke he said to the courageous nurse–”So sue me” if Newark uses unlicensed teachers.

Every day,  Tom Robinson, a Newark public school teacher,  meets his classes and feels a little sick to his stomach. He feels sick because he knows he is not qualified to teach the course he has been required to teach since the beginning of the year, chemistry. It is, of course, not the first time he has been required by the Newark Public Schools (NPS) to teach outside both his knowledge and his license.  And, at least, he is working, something more than he has been doing for most of the last two years when he either was home or hanging around what even the school administration calls “rubber rooms”–places where money is wasted paying teachers not to teach.
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Bigger than Bridgegate? Christie’s $25 million in no-show Newark school jobs

Christie: You gotta problem with wasting taxpayers' money?
Christie: You gotta problem with wasting taxpayers’ money?

Gov. Chris Christie’s operation of the Newark schools wastes some $25 million a year in public funds to pay teachers who don’t teach–teachers who spend all day in so-called “rubber rooms” or at home, doing nothing to earn the money they are paid. It’s something he’ll never bring up in his presidential campaign trips to Iowa or New Hampshire–but New Jersey’s governor is OK with no-show school jobs in the state’s largest city.
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A victory in Christie’s war on teachers. But how big?

Christie and Anderson, together trying to fire teachers and break their union
Christie and Anderson, together trying to fire teachers and break their union

The decision by an arbitrator to dismiss tenure charges against  Lafayette Street School teacher Sandra Cheatham was unquestionably a major victory for the 40-year veteran of the Newark schools–and for the Newark Teachers Union (NTU) and all city teachers. It exposed how far the state administration of the Newark schools will go to twist the law and logic in its bloodthirsty purge of instructors at the top of the pay scale. But no one should believe state-imposed superintendent Cami Anderson’s war against tenured teachers is over. It has just begun.
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