Wednesday, Apr. 18, 2012

Cami Anderson

Cami Anderson is a modern-day freedom fighter, investing her life's work in the educational trenches and working to liberate our country from the destructive delusion that children can't achieve at the highest levels just because they were born into tough circumstances.

In New York City's then infamous District 79, Cami declared that whether a child had been incarcerated or pregnant or had dropped out, aged out or flunked out, she could still nurture her genius, learn, develop and, yes, graduate. Cami, 40, took a system with little accountability and no expectations and in a short time created a model for the country, increasing student achievement, graduation numbers and GED completion rates. Now, in Newark, Cami has put forth a bold plan for transformative change. Joining with parents and the community, she is determined to end a long local and national nightmare in which too many of our children are casualties of our failure to serve their genius. Newark is on the front lines of the fight for America's highest ideals. And I believe that with her leadership and this community of conviction, Newark will make true those five important words spoken by our children in classrooms everywhere: that America is truly a land with "liberty and justice for all."

Booker is the mayor of Newark, N.J.