Standing With The Newark Five

We are outraged to hear of the five principals who were unjustly suspended in Newark by Superintendent Cami Anderson for simply supporting community members and speaking out against the closures of public schools.

As Newark Councilman Ras Baraka said in a statement on Friday, January 14: Today Cami Anderson indefinitely suspended four Newark principals: Tony Motley of Bragraw Avenue School, Grady James of Hawthorne Avenue School, Dorothy Handfield of Belmont-Runyon, and Deneen Washington of Maple Avenue. She suspended the four principals because they spoke at a public forum on Wednesday in opposition to Ms. Anderson’s widely criticized “One Newark” reorganization plan which includes closing or “repurposing” nearly one third of Newark’s public schools.

As Diane Ravitch clarifies in her blog: “The plot thickens when we understand what these community forums were all about. These forums were convened by mayoral candidate Ras Baraka, to give the community a voice in response to planned school closures.”

As school leaders, our responsibility lies what with what is best for our students and schools. The efforts to bully these principals and stop them from speaking up for what they see is as best for their community defies public education and is completely unacceptable.