Newark Superintendant Cami Anderson Cancels AEI Appearance

Today AFSA joined with fellow educators, parents and students to attend “The story of Newark: Cami Anderson on the challenges, successes, and lessons of school reform,” at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington, DC. While Anderson, who took office as superintendent of Newark Public Schools in 2011, was supposed to share her perspective on the status of her school reforms such as the One Newark plan, she never arrived.

An AEI spokesperson claimed security concerns, but the real concern was Newark community members, who had travelled to DC, specifically to hear Superintendent Anderson’s remarks and to add their input and concerns to the conversation about One Newark.

The One Newark plan was billed by Superintendent Anderson as “a community-wide agenda to ensure all students are in excellent schools and thriving communities, and are on the path to excel in college and 21st century careers.” However, the plan has been divisive from the beginning. One Newark has led to the closure of several community schools in low-income neighborhoods, which do not have a history of achieving high outcomes.

Upon learning of today’s events, AFSA President Diann Woodard released the following statement: “Today, Newark community members faced a grave injustice. While they took it upon themselves to travel hundreds of miles, just to hear from their city’s superintendent, they were snubbed and their voices were silenced. Supporters of One Newark continue to ignore and shun those most affected by its agenda, and today’s cancellation was no exception. Closing schools that are the very fabric holding our communities together and often providing the one constant in a child’s life is unacceptable. We stand by concerned Newark community members, and will work to ensure their collective concerns and voices are heard.”