I’ll make this quick because I’m going to a barbecue today. (Happy 4th of July weekend, everyone!)
Thanks in advance, as always, to Bob Braun and Jersey Jazzman, et al., who have done so much research and writing on Newark that linking to their work makes my job here easy.
So I’m just trying to figure out which scenario is more likely: 1) the Star-Ledger Editorial Board is comprised of people who are so ignorant to the educational situation in Newark that they are completely unfit to write about the subject at all, or 2) the real members of the Star-Ledger Editorial Board were kidnapped and replaced by underlings from the Christie/Cerf/Anderson administration crew a very long time ago. (If you think scenario #2 is more likely, someone should think about organizing a search and rescue party.)
This morning, they declared that “For all Cami Anderson’s political problems, the state was right to renew her contract as superintendent of Newark schools. Letting her go now would be massively disruptive to children starting the next school year.”
Could there be anything more disruptive than a botched “Universal Enrollment” process, led by Anderson, that
- forces children to attend schools far away from their homes–with no transportation/busing plan in place?
- ignores community input and concerns?
- prevents appeals from families that didn’t get matched with their preferred school (which is most of them)?
- sells taxpayer-owned buildings to private charter operators at below market value?
- results in layoffs of the district’s most dedicated and experienced teachers and closures of public schools?
- keeps families wondering about the fate of their children’s educations because the district failed to meet its own timeline for student placement?
- is wildly discriminatory?
Throw in a couple disastrous snow-emergency school-closing (or not) episodes and claims by the superintendent that Newark children engage in crime when they’re not in school, and you’ve got the perfect leader for the state’s largest school district! Right?!
YES, says the S-L! “At this stage, revising major parts of [Anderson’s] plan just isn’t practical.”
PRACTICAL, you say, S-L? Is allowing Anderson to continue her path of destruction particularly “practical”?
Has anything Anderson has done been “practical”? Show us the evidence. PLEASE.
The board then continues to praise Anderson’s “promising reforms,” including the “innovative new teachers contract” (you know, the one that includes a super–disastrous merit pay system) and the recruitment of “top charters to take over grades in failing schools” and an insistence that “charter schools take their fair share of low performers” (you know, the ones that don’t serve special-needs students who require self-contained setting, the ones that have high attrition rates and ship kids they don’t want back to district schools, and the ones that will employ a disproportionate number of inexperienced teachers–many of whom will live in a “village” that was built for them). Okay.
The S-L board only faults Anderson for her “failure to build a coalition” in Newark. But don’t worry, anyone! Because “the state has established a community board intended to help Anderson dig out of this hole, and to engage Newarkers in the project.” (Wait! Will this “community board” include the Newark community Chris Christie was talking about when he said, “I don’t care about the community criticism. We run the school district in Newark, not them”? And does the S-L board realize that Anderson is the same woman who stormed out of a school board meeting and refused to attend any future meetings because stakeholders opposed her ideas? Good one, S-L! Lol!)
I also wonder if the S-L board remembers that the Newark school board, which it criticizes for failing to “ensure a civil discourse” at meetings, is “largely powerless“?
Can someone please force the S-L board to read the work of Bruce Baker, Mark Weber, and Joseph Oluwole, as it is proves unequivocally that takeovers of public schools by unproven charters are arbitrary and have a disparate impact on both minority and low-income students and minority teachers? Can someone please force the S-L board to listen to the people of Newark–including the 77 clergy members who wrote in opposition to Anderson’s plan? Please?!
Cami Anderson’s One Newark is a disaster, and the children and citizens of Newark deserve better. I cannot understand how the S-L board can continue to publish this kind of nonsense and expect to have any credibility whatsoever.