Press Release

AFT President Randi Weingarten and AFT New Jersey President Donna Chiera on Newark Superintendent Cami Anderson’s Plan to Waive Contract

For Release: 

Monday, February 24, 2014


Kate Childs Graham
202/393-6354; cell 202/615-2424

NEWARK, N.J.—Statement by American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten and AFT New Jersey President Donna Chiera on Newark Superintendent Cami Anderson's plan to evade teachers' contract.

"Yet again, Superintendent Anderson has demonstrated why the Newark community should regain control of its schools. In her quest to impose her One Newark school consolidation plan—after suspending several principals who disagreed with her, refusing to heed public commentary and ignoring the opinion of the Newark Public Schools Advisory Board—she is now seeking a wholesale waiver of state law and the contract she negotiated. This all happens on the eve of state Education Commissioner Chris Cerf's departure, and it will enable her to mass fire Newark's teachers. This isn't what students need or teachers deserve, and it creates more distrust in a community already laden with it," Weingarten said. "We need leaders we can trust. We need leaders who help create, nurture and support safe, welcoming and collaborative neighborhood schools, not ones who close them or who fire those who have dedicated their careers to Newark's children. Superintendent Anderson's plans do not reflect the will of the Newark community."

Chiera said, "While we may have come to expect this type of abuse of power in my home state, parents, teachers and students will not accept it. The community is coming together to say 'no' to mass school closings, 'no' to mass firings and 'yes' to local control. State control has clearly gotten out of control. We need to take back Newark schools and reclaim the promise of public education for all our kids."

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.