Education reform in New Jersey: like bad reality TV

I’m a cool dad.  That’s my thang.  

I’m hip–I surf the web; I text.

LOL: laugh out loud.

OMG: oh my God.

WTF: why the face.

-Phil Dunphy–Modern Family

I was really worried when they canceled Jersey Shore.  Everyone loves a little excitement (and controversy, and dysfunction, and fake eyelashes), but when Snooki got pregnant and was relegated to the house next-door to the house where all the fun happened–for her own safety and the safety of her unborn Snooki–everyone knew the end of the entertaining New Jersey drama that attracted attention from all over the country was near.

How lame!

But I shouldn’t have been worried, because shortly after everyone’s favorite fist-pumpers packed their tans and laundry and headed back to their home states (wait! You didn’t know that most of them weren’t from NJ? What’s next?! Allegations that they’re not even Italian?), politicians and school reformers recognized how boring New Jersey got and kicked their own dysfunction up a notch–just for grit and giggles.

It’s obvious that we need a fresh, new reality show in New Jersey, so I suggest that someone strap a GoPro to his head and start lingering around the buildings where all the important people in New Jersey hang out to capture footage on film.  Like right now–time’s a-wasting! Here’s some of the recent stuff you’ve missed already, chronicled in a fake twitter feed that highlights some of the real messed-up-stuff that’s happening in New Jersey courtesy of lots of fake educators:

  • NJ Ed Commish Chris Cerf forced new assessment and evaluation systems onto NJ schools, then left to take a job with AMPLIFY, the Murdoch-owned company that will $ell materials to $chool$ that have to implement Cerf’s reforms. #WTF?!
  • Newark State Superintendent Cami Anderson wrote a letter to the city’s parents suggesting that Newark kids would commit crimes if the district closed schools so its teachers could go to the NJEA convention.  #WTF.
  • Chris Christie funnels money meant for Sandy victims to projects that will make tens of millions for his friends, then tells students that greedy unionized teachers are the reason he had to cut funding for schools. #WTF!
  • Paymon Rouhanifard got put in charge of Camden’s schools, even though he had no administration certificate, no experience running a school, and just a little more than five minutes of teaching experience.  #WTF!
  • Gloria Bonilla-Santiago, founder of Camden’s LEAP Academy University Charter School, raised the school chef’s salary to $95,000—when most people in comparable positions make about $50,000.  Oh, and he’s her boyfriend.  #ForRealsies. #WTF.
  • There’s this for-profit company called “PinkHulaHoop1, LLC” (that gets its own #WTF) that’s BFFs with Cami Anderson, and they hold hands and work together to funnel public money to charters. #WTF!
  • On a super snowy day in January, Cami Anderson played a not-fun game of “charter-kids-stay-home, public-school-kids-bundle-up and get to school!” #WTF.
  • A few days later, Anderson played another not-fun game of “I’ll cancel school, but I won’t do it until 7:35am, when tons of people people have already ventured out into the ice.” #WTF.
  • The Star-Ledger endorsed Christie, then said the decision was “regrettable”…but then praised Christie’s ed reforms and Chris Cerf…because, #REFORM! #WTF.
  • David Wildstein thinks it’s okay for “children of Buono voters” to be stuck on buses for hours because he felt like closing the George Washington Bridge. #wtF!!!!
  • The Jersey City BOE made a new rule limiting who can speak at meetings–and for how long…because really, why should taxpayers have input!? #WTF.
  • The Highland Park School District laid off 9 staff members, including the union president and vice-president, and then said it wasn’t a deliberate attempt to break the union. Okay.  #WTF.
  • Cami Anderson made a NY principal who was caught using $9,000 in taxpayer money on personal expenses the principal of a Newark charter school. #WTF?!
  • Newark charters keep lying about how many kids are on their wait list. #LOL.
  • Rutgers University let Dr. (#LOL) Steve Perry give the keynote address at a conference about college readiness.  No, not #kidding.  #WTFWTFWTF.
  • Chris Christie refused to visit Trenton Central High School, and it took until January 2014 (after NBC aired a national story about the crumbling building with undrinkable water and dead mice in the wall) for someone in charge to agree to give students a new building. #WTF!!!!
  • The NJDOE was “optimistic” about its findings that 1/4 of teachers in a pilot study were only “partially effective.”  And by 1/4 they actually meant many fewer than that, but they wouldn’t say so and hoped you wouldn’t notice. #WTF.
  • Cami Anderson suspended five principals and banned a PTO president from his child’s school because they all spoke out against the One Newark plan. Because that’s fair and reasonable.  #WTF.
  • Chris Christie pointed his finger in the face of NJ public school teacher Melissa Tomlinson while his wife laughed in the background. #WTF!!
  • The NJ Supreme Court had to order Chris Christie to restore funding he cut from the state’s poorest school districts. You know, kind of like when judges force absent parents to pay child support.  #WTF.
  • And finally–New Jersey voters overwhelmingly re-elected Chris Christie. #W.T.F.

What am I forgetting?  (A lot–I know.)  Anyway, if someone can get started on this project, that’d be great.  Maybe a reformy reality show would run its course pretty quickly–much like Jersey Shore did–and its stars will be forced into obscurity after their too-long stint of causing damage in New Jersey.



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2 responses to “Education reform in New Jersey: like bad reality TV

  1. Pingback: Weekend News Roundup & Open Thread for Feb. 15-16, 2014 - United Americans

  2. Pingback: Education reform in NJ: like bad reality TV—PART 2 | teacherbiz

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