Holding bullhorns and signs – some with the word “liar” in bold letters above the silhouettes of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and state-appointed Newark Superintendent Cami Anderson – hundreds of middle and high school students walked out of schools and into the streets of this economically struggling city on Thursday, demanding that the city administration reverse course on a plan that could lead to some schools closing or downsizing, teachers being let go and charter schools moving into public buildings.
“They said (the plan) will make Newark schools better,” said Jose Leonard, a 16-year-old at Arts High School. “They’ve been saying that for 20 years and we haven’t seen anything. It’s like they don’t care about the students.”
The students say they’re fed up with what they see as an intentional defunding of Newark’s traditional public schools in favor of charter schools – which are run by nonprofit organizations or private companies using taxpayer dollars.
They’re not alone.