By STEPHANIE SIMON
Just as he’s fighting to regain his political footing, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is facing a new uproar on the home front, as public protests mount against state control of the public schools in Newark, the state’s largest city.
Parents and teachers are demanding the ouster of Christie’s appointee as superintendent of the Newark schools, Cami Anderson, who is fending off accusations that she orchestrated political payback against opponents of a district reform plan.
On Wednesday evening, teachers unions ratcheted up the pressure as American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten sent Christie a letter demanding that he relinquish control over the troubled school district, which the state has run since 1994.
Weingarten has accused the governor’s appointees of dismantling programs that were helping poor students, making backroom deals to turn over public schools to private management and imperiously ignoring public opinion, triggering a surge of raucous protests over the past several weeks.
“This is a failure of management, a failure of fiscal stewardship and a failure of instructional leadership,” Weingarten wrote.
“Governor, you have complete and total control over the schools — the way they are managed, the way they are funded. … I ask you to listen. Give the people of Newark their schools and their future back,” she said.