By John Mooney

One year after celebrated signing of teacher contract, national union president charges officials have reneged on promises

Randi Weingarten
Randi Weingarten

A year after final approval of Newark’s teacher contract – a “Kumbaya” moment hailed nationally as a landmark example of labor-management cooperation – the good will appears to be all but gone.

Randi Weingarten, the president of the national American Federation of Teachers who personally helped negotiate the Newark pact, yesterday returned to the city to lambast the district for failing to live up to its promise in that deal – or in much of anything else, for that matter.

Weingarten’s visit was part of a 90-city campaign that the AFT helped lead this week to push back against what it calls the draconian cuts in urban public schools nationwide. Newark has been especially in the spotlight, with continued budget reductions and school closures coinciding with the expansion of charter schools in the city.

An estimated 200 people – including students, union leaders and teachers — joined Weingarten for the rally in downtown Newark, walking up to the front doors of the Newark school administrative offices on Broad Street before being turned away.

“This gives you a good sense that they don’t want to hear from parents, teachers and students of this great community,” Weingarten said through a megaphone to the gathered crowd.

“If you don’t want to listen to the parents, the teachers and the students, then don’t run the schools,” she said.


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