Strike Against the Charter Movement: Newark elects Baraka

Newark elects Ras Baraka as mayor. Baraka is a former public high school principal, and son of the late poet Amiri Baraka (who came out to support the student walkout against racially segregated leveling at my alma mater, Columbia High School, in 2006). His opponent, Shavar Jeffries, sat on the school board, founded a charter school, and was supported by the charter lobby. From the Star Ledger:

A major focal point of the election was the debate over the schools and state-appointed Superintendent Cami Anderson’s controversial “One Newark” school reorganization plan — which calls for the relocation and consolidation of one-quarter of the city’s schools and turning over some neighborhood schools to charter operators.

Baraka was a fierce opponent of the plan, which would have involved shutting down schools and moving kids all around the city. The equivalent plan in Chicago, Renaissance 2010, has been disastrous, and disproportionately so for black students. Jeffries supported “One Newark,” along with our glorious governor.

Though Jeffries raised nearly double as much money as Baraka ($1.7mil vs. $945k), Baraka won with 54% of the vote. Though I haven’t been following this election as closely as I would have liked, seems like a significant strike against the school privatization movement in NJ.

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