Cami Anderson, who runs the largest school district in New Jersey, came to Washington on Thursday to give a quiet talk about education at a think tank. But the staid event quickly turned dramatic when a busload of angry residents followed Anderson from Newark in a display of the slugfest politics that have infused debate over public education across the country.
“For us, what’s going on in Newark is not a triumph, it’s a tragedy,” said Sharon Smith, who has three children in that city’s public schools and was among about 40 parents and students who filled the 12th floor conference room at the American Enterprise Institute. “Our children are facing this disruption, and we don’t have a voice.”
The Newark protesters, several of whom registered in advance for the event, ate a hot buffet lunch and waited for Anderson to appear, surprising organizers and sending them scurrying.
“We’ve had 150 of these events since I’ve been here — people like Michelle Rhee after she closed schools in D.C. and (former New York City Schools Chancellor) Joel Klein when he was very controversial,” said Rick Hess, director of education policy for the conservative think tank. “Never before had such a disruption threatened in such a way.”
After some delay, a staffer announced that Anderson would deliver her talk in a room two floors below without an audience, news that was met with howls of protest. >>> Read more Washington Post >>> See the video (here)