By Peggy McGlone/The Star-Ledger

NEWARK — Carrying signs declaring “Cami Must Go” and chanting “Stand up, fight back,” Newark students, teachers, union officials and community members took to the streets yesterday to make their case for local control and increased funding for the state’s largest school district.

Some 200 advocates marched to the Newark Public Schools offices and to City Hall in a rally organized by Newark Student Union, New Jersey Communities United, and local unions to spotlight the failing policies of Superintendent Cami Anderson and state officials who have control over the district.

The rally was part of “National Day of Action to Reclaim Promise of Public Education,” a network of events organized by the American Federation of Teachers and held in more than 60 cities. Nationally, the union message — supported by a $1.5 million media blitz — focused on restoring community involvement in public education and criticizing “corporate-influenced school reform.”

“We stand in solidarity with communities all over the country,” Newark Student Union president Kristin Towkaniuk, 16, said. “The only way we can change things is to unite, stand together and say we deserve a quality public education.”

Regaining local control and curtailing the growth of charter schools were the main themes. Organizers and union leaders took turns blasting Anderson’s policies, which they claim have hurt students.

“Every child deserves a great neighborhood school,” AFT president Randi Weingarten said. “Schools should be fixed, not closed.”


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