Newark Superintendent: Focus Should Be Getting Kids in Excellent Schools

Assemblywoman Sheila Oliver has said it’s time for Newark Superintendent Cami Anderson to leave her position. Anderson told NJTV News Managing Editor Mike Schneider that she continues to work with officials and community members and the main focus should be getting students into excellent schools.

“We are fiercely focused on the day when every single kid in Newark is in an excellent school,” said Anderson.

According to Anderson, the graduation rate in Newark has increased by 10 points and that about 1,000 new students were enrolled in the universal pre-K program. About 12,000 families have applied through the One Newark plan, said Anderson.

Anderson said that families are getting the power of choice with One Newark and that it is a plan that she believes in. Families should be able to choose and should be able to select a school in their neighborhood or across town, said Anderson. She said that she has been out in the community and that people have approached her with suggestions.

“All I can say, it’s an election year and folks here in Newark are experiencing definitely a big shift and a lot of change and I think that causes some concerns but also a lot of excitement so I think we’re really onto something here,” said Anderson.

According to Anderson, as elections are revving up, people are gravitating to issues that are not the best options for kids, which should be the priority. Despite the comments by former Assembly Speaker Oliver, Anderson says that she will continue to reach out to Oliver and work with her.

Anderson said that she will continue to be accessible and work directly with students and their families as well as teachers and staff.

Following a School Advisory Board meeting, it appeared as if Anderson would no longer attend. Anderson said that she is in communication with the School Advisory Board and other leaders within the community that are focused on issues surrounding students. Various meeting and conversations have been held and her lack of attendance has not stopped any progress, according to Anderson.

“My job is to work with every single member of the community including the School Advisory Board, particularly when it’s around concerns, criticism or areas of collaboration and I will not stop doing that,” Anderson said.

As for the public meetings, Anderson said that it had evolved into a small group of individuals that tried to avoid talking about the issues.