A group of Newark parents announced today that their children will boycott Newark public schools beginning next week, at the start of the new school year. “NPS Boycott 4 Freedom” is a response to “One Newark,” a school reform plan set to take effect next month that will restructure or shut down a third of schools in the city’s state-run public school district.
“The NPS Boycott 4 Freedom is an act of resistance and a statement against the One Newark Plan – Gov. Christie and Superintendent Cami Anderson’s destructive and shortsighted plan,” Newark parent Deborah Cornavaca said in a statement. “We have decided to escalate our actions to a boycott because we cannot continue to let the state and the superintendent disregard our lived experience and endanger the lives of our children.”
In May, Newark parents, together with groups from Chicago and New Orleans and the Advancement Project, filed federal complaints with the Department of Education, charging that school reform and closure plans disproportionately affected African-American and Latino children in those cities. Last month, the Department of Education confirmed that it opened an investigation into Newark’s One Newark plan off of the complaints it received.
According to the federal complaint civil rights groups filed, African-American students comprised 53 percent of the district enrollment but nearly three quarters of those impacted by school closures in the 2011-2012 school year. One Newark will have similarly racially disparate impacts on Newark students, parents warn.
Parents are calling for an end to the One Newark Plan, and an end to decades-long state control of Newark Public Schools, as well as implementation of “community-driven sustainable schools,” according to parents’ demands.