Newark, NJ, is a city at a crossroads. For the past several years under the direction of state-appointed Superintendent Cami Anderson, the school district has followed the national trend of requiring schools to make do with fewer resources and closing (or turning into charters) those that struggle. Anderson's "One Newark" reorganization plan for the district has gotten push back from every corner of the city, including from students, parents, teachers and even the clergy.
But with the recent election of City Councilmember Ras Baraka as Newark's next mayor, all that might be about to change. Baraka and many of the parents, students and educators whose voices have been ignored by the state-run district are calling for Anderson to abandon the "One Newark" plan in favor of Baraka's "Newark Promise" plan.
Rather than closing struggling schools, the Newark Promise plan would involve turning local schools into community schools that provide the wraparound academic, social and health supports that all children need to succeed.
One of the most vocal opponents to the One Newark plan (and propponant of the Newark Promise plan) has been the Newark Student Union. Earlier this week the student organizers shut down a school board meeting by holding a sit-in and refusing to leave the district building. They are demanding that the district adopt the Newark Promise plan.
Watch the below video from their inspiring action at the meeting. And download the Newark Promise plan here.