By Peggy McGlone/The Star-Ledger

NEWARK — Newark mayoral candidate and South Ward Councilman Ras Baraka blasted the school reorganization plan released by State Superintendent Cami Anderson earlier this week, calling it “radical” and “disruptive” and predicting it will damage the city’s school system.

Mayoral candidate Ras Baraka, standing outside Weequahic High School in Newark, criticizes the new district plan. (Frances Micklow/The Star-Ledger)

“They say this is about choice, but it is about anything but choice. They are saying we’re going to get rid of your neighborhood schools,” Baraka said today. “This is a dismantling of public education. It is an irresponsible and radical plan. It needs to be halted.”

On Tuesday, Anderson unveiled the latest part of her “One Newark” proposal, a strategy to improve the quality and availability of schools to Newark residents. Anderson proposes turning over five neighborhood schools to three charter school operators who have received approval to grow.

In addition, the plan would relocate several district schools to better buildings, convert others to early learning centers, and install smaller academies into three comprehensive high schools. Weequahic High School, for example, would be home to the Eagle Academy, a district school for boys, and the new Girls Academy.

Baraka, who is on leave from his job as principal of Central High School, spoke to some 60 parents, politicians, Newark Teachers Union members and community leaders gathered across the street from Weequahic High.


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