JERSEY CITY - Newark students are back in school this week after hundreds walked out last Friday in protest over Superintendent Cami Anderson's "One Newark" plan.
The One Newark plan has been a source of lots of contention in Newark, with students and parents holding protests for months about it.
Anderson says she hears the criticism and admires their passion, but says their education is important.
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"At heart, I'm an educator - and I kind of hope we can work with those young people and channel that passion and energy toward positive solutions because the status quo is not OK," said Anderson.
Nearly two-thirds of the students in the district area are not college ready, according to Anderson.
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, one of Anderson's toughest critics, says it is not personal. In a press release, he described the school district as being out of money and a district that has "devolved into chaos."
In the end, Anderson says she can handle the criticism.
"I think about a kid who walks in to Weequahic High School the day after their best friend was shot...I think I can handle a bad news day, because that kid? We're asking that kid to get back up, to go to school and get on a pathway to excellence. That's what drives me," she says.
Anderson was appointed as Newark schools superintendent by the state.