Has Christie divided Newark opposition to Cerf and state control?

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BARAKACHRISTIEThe chairman of the legislative committee overseeing the Newark schools has called on the state Board of Education to reject Gov. Chris Christie’s choice of Christopher Cerf as the city’s schools superintendent.  State Sen. Ronald Rice (D-Essex),  chairman of the Joint Committee on Public Schools, told the board that putting Cerf, a former state education commissioner, in charge of the state’s largest district would be like “putting the fox in charge of the chickens.”  Rice provided each member of the 10-member state panel with more than 50 pages of documents outlining what he called Cerf’s “questionable activities and relationships.”
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Christie speech mocks the American Dream, wounds people of color

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Is the American Dream running from black neighbors?
Is the American Dream running from black neighbors?

The family histories of so many in this nation include escape from religious persecution, wars and revolution, political oppression, famine,  unbearable hardship, pogroms and the Holocaust. We are who we are because the oppressed faced the unknown and came here to start a new life. It was so jarring for Chris Christie to talk yesterday about his American Dream story as an escape from a neighborhood, Vailsburg, that was becoming integrated.
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NJ state school board won’t allow Cerf criticism

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John Abeigon--NTU president not allowed to speak to state boarsd
John Abeigon–NTU president not allowed to speak to state board

The New Jersey State Board of Education will not allow public testimony on its apparently predetermined decision to impose Christopher Cerf, former state education commissioner and private business entrepreneur,  on the people of Newark as the city’s next school superintendent. The president-elect of the Newark Teachers Union (NTU) said he was warned that, if he tried to speak at next Wednesday’s meeting in Trenton, he would be forcibly ejected from the meeting room.
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Feds say Cerf didn’t follow the law–so keep him away from Newark’s children

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Cerf--good for Newark's children?
Cerf–good for Newark’s children?

The New Jersey Board of Education meets this morning in private session to discuss the future of Newark schools—and the role former state Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf will play.  The board has been a rubber stamp for Gov. Chris Christie, who appointed most members, but even  rubber-stamps must have moral and ethical standards. Cerf came to the commissioner’s position earning money privately from Newark’s suffering as a consultant with Global Education Advisers . He left the position to earn money privately as a publisher with Amplify from Newark’s suffering.  And, just a few days ago, the federal government accused Cerf of evading state and federal law and regulations in a way that enhanced the suffering of Newark’s children.
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In Newark, a Trenton bureaucrat runs the schools while Baraka demands immediate local control

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Meet the man running the Newark schools--from Trenton
Meet the man running the Newark schools–from Trenton, Peter Shulman

This is what’s happening to Newark schools now that Cami’s gone: A state official, Assistant Education Commissioner Peter Shulman, is running the district from Trenton. The school board voted to express its desire to hire an assistant superintendent, Roger Leon, to be the new schools chief.  And Mayor Ras Baraka, bristling with irritation over negative reaction to the possible appointment of Christopher Cerf as Anderson’s official replacement for three years, says the city’s residents shouldn’t think about anything but regaining local control.
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Cerf was too high a price to pay for getting rid of Cami Anderson

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Just say no to Christopher Cerf
Just say no to Christopher Cerf

The resignation of Cami Anderson as state-appointed Newark superintendent followed weeks of negotiations among and between top officials of the Christie Administration, the office of Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, and members of the state school board. The almost unbelievable designation of Christopher Cerf–a friend and neighbor and former business partner of the man who runs TEAM Academy charter schools in Newark– as Anderson’s successor is the price Baraka and other city officials may have paid for what they consider a far more important prize, the return of home rule to Newark after 20 years of state control. The people of Newark may find it too high a price.
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GUEST: NJ school funding continues to neglect “other people’s children”

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Paul Tractenberg
Paul Tractenberg

By Paul Tractenberg

NOTE: In 1990, 25 years ago, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled–in a case known as Abbott vs. Burke–that the state must fund disadvantaged urban school districts at a level that would help them overcome the poverty imposed on their children by a society and an economy that favors the rich. Recently, Rutgers professor Paul Tractenberg, a founder of the Education Law Center that brought the Abbott case, spoke about how the state continues to fail its urban children. This site presents excerpts from his analysis.
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