Newark Superintendent Cami Anderson has decided not to attend School Advisory Board meetings and Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin told NJTV News Managing Editor Mike Schneider that Anderson may not be the best person to help move Newark forward right now because she has lost the community’s trust.
“I think now that members of the legislature are very upset at a lot of things that are going on. I think the community though is a lot more angry about the situation currently occurring,” said Pintor Marin about the reaction to Anderson stating that she will not longer attend the meetings.
Anderson said that she will not be attending the meetings due to “the meetings getting out of hand,” and Pintor Marin said that she has sat in at a meeting and depending on the topics, the meetings do get heated at times.
“Anderson has a point to a certain extent but I think that the community feels that they have not been a part of this large process and plan that seems to be moving forward [One Newark plan] since the community wasn’t a part of it and now they really feel like this is the only place where they can voice their opinion,” Pintor Marin said. So it is heated at times, however I think that once a plan is out there, if that’s your plan, you have to stand your ground and you have to say, ‘This is why I think this plan is going to work.’”
Pintor Marin said that she thinks the community would act more civilly if there were more community meetings in each ward because parents need to know what is going to happen and how it involves their children.
“I think right now being the way that it [One Newark plan] was conducted and the way that it was rolled out, no one can agree to it. The biggest problem was that there was no community input, there was no parental involvement, there was no buying into the plan,” Pintor Marin said.
Pintor Marin said that she thinks there are elements of the One Newark plan that are not very good. She said that if there is going to be talk of open enrollment, there are a lot of elements missing, such as how children will get across town and if there are enough seats in the schools.
“I think that before that was rolled out, there needed to be some serious discussion with parents, along with stakeholders and elected officials and say, ‘How is it that we are going to do this?’ There is no busing. It has not been a cohesive plan. I think that it has gone too far. Unfortunately, I don’t know if we can put a band-aid on the cut because I think that the cut has opened so wide,” Pintor Marin said.
Pintor Marin said that she would like to see the plan toned down. And she questions the ability for Anderson to effectively lead the district.
“Right now Anderson might not be the best person to move Newark forward. When I say that, I truly believe that reform needs to happen, that we need to have an open dialogue and have some serious conversations. I think that coming in and realizing what things need to be done and how it needs to be done, I don’t know if Anderson is the capable person of right now at this moment, of getting that done because the trust has been really removed from everything that has been done,” Pintor Marin said.