77 members of Newark’s clergy signed a joint statement to Cami Anderson, who was appointed by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to run the schools of that city. Newark has been under state control for 20 years. Anderson’s “Ne Newark” plan will close many public schools and turn them over to charter corporations. Anderson refuses to attend meetings of the elected (but powerless) school board because she as treated disrespectfully at the last meeting she attended. Byway, she doesn’t need their approval so why should she attend theit public meetings. She disrespects them. She knows that her opinion is the only one that matters. This is not democracy.

Here is the ministers’ statement:

NEWARK CLERGY POSITION STATEMENT

As religious leaders in the City of Newark, New Jersey, we submit the
following position statement regarding the One Newark Public School Plan.
This position statement represents our collective concerns with respect to the
current state of affairs facing the Newark Public School system.

We are extremely concerned about the level of public anger we see
growing in the community, based upon an overwhelming sense of
frustration, community disenfranchisement, and alienation that has resulted
from the One Newark Public School Plan the Superintendent of Schools has
proposed. It is not overly dramatic for us to say that we are extremely
worried about the level and tone of the current emotional discourse.

It is venomous and it is our view that unless we have an urgent, objective,
egalitarian discussion about what is happening now in the Newark school
system, the climate within the City will continue to deteriorate. As religious
leaders, we cannot, in clear conscience, ignore the moral imperative that a
society empowers and engages human beings to lead in charting the course
of their own destiny.

There are many well-educated, reasonable minded, and rational
individuals, parents, educators and citizens in general in the City of Newark.
They all share an intense passion for excellence in education; they have
come to feel that their input and voice have been repeatedly ignored. It is
unfair to characterize Newarkers opposing the current approach to change as
irrational and resistant to change in any case. Many voices of reason have
been largely denied meaningful input into the decision-making process.

We are unanimous in our view that major change is needed in Newark
Public Schools. Excellence in education is paramount to the forward
progress of the City of Newark and the lives of its citizens. This statement
neither condemns nor endorses Charter Schools. However, the primary
responsibility of the Newark School Superintendent should be to ensure
excellent educational opportunities in the traditional Newark public school
system.

The One Newark Public School Plan, as currently proposed, is already
producing irreversible changes and fomenting widespread outrage. It has
caused unnecessary instability in the Newark public school system, as well
as the lives of thousands of its families. The disruptive and divisive nature
of the One Newark Pubic School Plan could have catastrophic and farreaching
consequences for the children of Newark, the reputation of the
State of New Jersey, and have implications for urban education nationally.

The presentation and implementation process of the One Newark
Public School Plan has been fraught with problems. There are elements
within it that are controversial, and make unsubstantiated claims for
potential success. It has precipitated tremendous teacher turnover and has
adversely affected the overall morale of Newark schools and various
stakeholders directly or indirectly associated and affiliated with the Newark
Public School systems.

Therefore, the undersigned clergy call for a MORATORIUM on the
Implementation of the One Newark Public School Plan until a process can
be found to obtain meaningful and credible engagement of the Newark
community. We call upon the Newark Superintendent of Schools, the
Acting Commissioner of Education, and the Governor of the State of New
Jersey to agree to a suspension of any further action pertaining to the One
Newark Public School Plan until an alternative educational plan can be
developed with substantial input from stakeholders at all levels of the
Newark community.

In summary, an alternative educational plan should:
)o> Employ data driven pedagogical practices.
~ Offer stakeholders an opportunity to play a substantive role in
determining the educational future of the children of Newark.
~ Provide for the citizens of Newark the opportunity to participate
in, plan, and adopt a long term educational strategy of change
that outlasts political tides, transitions, and tenures.
)o> Establish a working partnership between the State of New
Jersey and the citizens of the City of Newark to successfully
educate our children.

It is with great humility and grave concern for our future that we
submit this plea for consideration and compromise. As members of the
clergy in this great city, it is our earnest prayer that peace and harmony will
prevail, and that every child in Newark will experience a brighter future.

NEWARK CLERGY POSITION STATEMENT SIGNATORIES
1. Rev. George Blackwell
2. Pastor Malachi Brantley
3. Dr. Mamie Bridgeforth
4. Min. J. Brown
5. Min. Denise Carr
6. Pastor Joe Carter
7. Min. Dale Ciceron
8. Pastor Patrick Council
9. Rev. E. Doxy
10. Dr. K. Doxy
11. Rev. J. Escobar
12. Pastor Sean Evans
13. Pastor Friday
14. Pastor Philip Gilmore
15. Dr. Aubrey Gregory
16. Dr. G 1 oria Harris
17. Pastor Gerard Hart
18. Apostle Gennie Holte
19. Dr. William Howard
20. Pastor Craig Jackson
21. Pastor Irving Johnson
22. Min. Mitchell Johnson
23. Bishop Jethro James
24. Pastor David Jefferson
25. Dr. Albert Lewis
26. Imam Aqeel Matea
27. Pastor Darren Munroe
28. Rev. Dr. Jacobs Obaiaeio
29. Pastor Raines
30.Pastor Hilton Rawls, Jr.
31. Rev. Louise Scott-Rountree
32. Rev. Dr. M.D. Rountree
33. Pastor Tyrone Sharpe, Sr.
34. Rev. Gerald Whitaker
3 5. Min. Keith Wilks
36. Rev. Bernard Wilks
37. Rev. Andre Speight
38. Min. Juanita Mayo
39. Rev. Eric Beckham
40. Dr. Ahmed Screvens
41. Rev. George Martinez, Pres.
Good Neighbor Baptist Church
Shiloh Baptist Church
Faith Christian Center
Dominion Fellowship Mnistries
Emanuel Missionary Baptist Church
New Hope Baptist Church
Emanuel Missionary Baptist Church
St. John Baptist Church
The Great Commission
The Great Commission
NuevaArca
New Light Missionary Baptist Church
Pavilion of God Ministries
St. John’s Community Baptist Church
Newark Gospel Tabernacle
Beth-El International Church
Emanuel Missionary Baptist Church
Ray of Hope Ministries
Bethany Baptist Church
Agape Christian Ministries Worship Center
Metropolitan Dominion Fellowship
New Light Holy Church
Paradise Baptist Church
Metropolitan Baptist Church
World Gospel Music Association
United Muslim, Inc.
Chosen Generation Ministries
MOWI
Trinity United Methodist Church
Greater Grace Fellowship Church
Good Neighbor Baptist Church
Macedonia Ministries
New Life Family Bible Church
Christ Church
Dominion Fellowship Ministries
Metropolitan/ Dominion
God’s Deliverance Praise and Outreach
Emanuel Missionary Baptist Church
Clear View Baptist Church
Bethesda Baptist Church
Baptist Minister’s Conference ofNewark
42. Rev. John Teabout
43. Rev. Clarence Smith
44. Rev. Grady James
45. Rev. Martin Legree
46. Rev. James Collins
47. Rev. Vincent Rouse
48. Rev. R. Curry
49. Rev. Kimberly Credit
50. Rev. Henry Clay
51. Evang. Sara Lee
52. Rev. Andre Milteer
53. Rev. Robert Morrest
54. Rev. Roy Jones, VP
55. Rev. Ileathon McLeod
56. Rev. Kareem Christian
57. Rev. Ralph Thomas
58. Min. Barbara Turpin
59. Rev. Bennett Johnson
60. Rev. James Bailey III
61. Min. Darious Smith
62. Min. Frankie Phelps
63. Rev. Alfonzo Williams, Sr.
64. Rev. Anthony Mitchell
65. Rev. Andre Coffee
66. Rev. Ray Frazier
67. Pastor Lloyd Terrell
68. Rev. Vincent Grove
69. Rev. Orlando Vick
70. Rev. Jeffrey Bryant
71. Rev. Ralph M. Branch, Jr.
72. Rev. Cornelius W. Martin
73. Rev. Floyd Gaskins
74. Dr. T. Durr
7 5. Pastor Michael T. Westbrook
76. Rev. Douglass L. Williams
77. Dr. Perry Simmons
Greater Friendship Baptist Church
Baptist Minister’s Conference of Newark
First Bethel Baptist Church, Irvington
Little Friendship Baptist Church
Baptist Minister’s Conference of Newark
Pleasant Grove Baptist Church
Baptist Minister’s Conference of Newark
Smyrna Missionary Baptist Church
Baptist Minister’s Conference of Newark
Sunlight Baptist Church
Mt. Olivet Baptist Church
St. Peter’s Baptist Church
Baptist Minister’s Conference ofNewark
Abyssinian Baptist Church
Trinity Baptist Church
Emanuel Baptist Church
Baptist Minister’s Conference of Newark
St. Peter’s Baptist Church
Vineyard Baptist Church
Mt. Calvary Baptist Church
Mt. Calvary Baptist Church
Baptist Minister’s Conference ofNewark
Union Chapel AME
First Timothy Baptist Church
Baptist Minister’s Conference ofNewark
Franklin-St. John United Methodist Church
Providence Missionary Baptist Church
Greater Providence Missionary Baptist Church
Tabernacle Baptist Church
Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist Church
Unity Freedom Baptist Church
Grace Temple Baptist Church
Gospel Cathedral Baptist Church
Greater Life Christian Fellowship Church
Zion Hill Baptist Church
Abyssinian Baptist Church