“Stabbed in the back”–How Newark public schools were betrayed by “friends”
Johnnie Lattner at the school board meeting
The head of a grass-roots organization that forced the federal government to intervene in the Newark schools has charged that supporters of the city’s public schools have been “stabbed in the back” by the very political leaders who promised widespread change once the former state-appointed superintendent, Cami Anderson, was removed from office.
“In some ways, we were better off with Cami Anderson,” says Johnnie Lattner, the co-founder of PULSE (Parents Unified for Local School Education), referring to a much despise former schools superintendent ired a year ago. “At least we knew who the enemy was.”
Lattner spoke at the last meeting of the school advisory board and demanded to know why the elected school board–once the voice of anti-state sentiment–was saying nothing about the apparent failure of the administration of state-appointed school superintendent Christopher Cerf to respond publicly to orders from the federal government to remediate civil rights violations caused by Cerf and his predecessor and appointee, Cami Anderson. The co-called “One Newark” and “Renew School” policies were specifically cited in the complaint.
The only response Lattner received was from board lawyer Charlotte Hitchcock who denied any contention that the school system was under orders from the federal government. Hitchcock relied on a technicality to contend the school district wasn’t under a remediation order from the federal government–in fact, the school system agreed to the remediation to prevent any further investigation by the feds.
“They’re lying,” said Lattner of members of the board and school administration. “They should have brought up the federal civil rights complaint and discussed what the schools are doing to correct the problems that were found.”
Sharon Smith, the other co-founder of PULSE, cited three excerpts from an agreement reached between the school administration and the federal government, in which the education department’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) found that policies pursued by Anderson and Cerf violated the rights of Newark children. Smith cited these excerpts from the education department’s order:“Stabbed in the back”–How Newark public schools were betrayed by “friends” |: