Newark students say 'One Newark' reform plan demands not taken seriously

A group of Newark students say a meeting with state education officials and the school superintendent accomplished very little, but they are resolved to continue their fight. (5/27/14)

NEWARK - A group of Newark students say a meeting with state education officials and the school superintendent accomplished very little, but they are resolved to continue their fight. 

The meeting with community leaders and students was agreed to after students staged a sit-in that effectively shut down the Board of Education meeting last week.

But students say the sit-in did not get them serious consideration for their demands at that meeting.

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Tuesday, hundreds of students walked out of school to rally in protest at the Newark public school offices.
     
Students say they walked out to protest the potential layoffs of teachers and staff, but also to protest Superintendent Cami Anderson's "One Newark" plan to reform the city schools.

During the walkout and protest, students and parents expressed their frustration with Anderson and her plan, which includes closing and consolidating schools.

"We hope that she changes her mind," says University High School junior Ronald Hines. "We want to remain a magnet school. We want her to reverse her decision to try to get rid of all of our administrative staff our teachers."

Many parents are supporting the students in their mission. "We need to be involved with what's going on in our kids' education," says Latrice Smith. "Some parents do care. That's why I'm here supporting my daughter."

"The goal of [Tuesday's] meeting was to discuss the need to balance the superintendent's and the board of education's right to hold public meetings and to thereby assist students, with the right of the students and other citizens to be heard," Acting Education Commissioner David Hespe said in a statement.
         
Newark schools also released a statement saying the superintendent and district are always willing and eager to meet with students and that everyone needs to work together.

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