When “doing God’s work” means firing half a school’s teachers

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Is this the future of Newark schools?

Marion P. Thomas Charter School--out with the old.
Marion P. Thomas Charter School–teachers are to blame for poor PARCC test scores.

The administrators of the Newark charter school that fired half of its teaching staff have blamed the instructors they hired for poor test scores and all but told worried parents to butt out of their decision-making–even when, as they concede, the decisions are “painful” and “drastic.”
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Officials, “anxious” about Passaic River dumping, demand Skyway investigation

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Sewer where construction waste was dumped in Kearny
Sewer where construction waste was dumped in Kearny

The state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)  is investigating the dumping of construction waste into local sewers by the chief contractor on the trouble-plagued rehabilitation of the Pulaski Skyway connecting Newark to Jersey City. The state agency, however, is not ready to release the findings of its probe.
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THE BIG FRAUD: Newark students won’t have to meet state performance standards before state relinquishes control

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Cerf, Baraka and Lauren Wells, the mayor's chief school aide, announced the community schools initiative in December.
Cerf, Baraka and Lauren Wells, the mayor’s chief school aide, announced the community schools initiative in December.

Newark students will not have to meet state standards for academic performance before local control is returned, the Christie-appointed schools superintendent told a school board meeting Tuesday night.
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State transportation officials accuse skyway contractor of illegal dumping, stop work and payment

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The 2nd Street ramp to the Pulaski Skyway in Kearny where China Construction dumped waste into municipal sewers.
The 2nd Street ramp to the Pulaski Skyway in Kearny where China Construction dumped waste into municipal sewers.

The state Department of Transportation has ordered work on the trouble-plagued $1.8 billion Pulaski Skyway renovation project to stop because, one of its engineers alleged, a contractor “improperly” dumped concrete waste into Kearny’s municipal sewer system. The state also said it would not pay the contractor until the dumping had been cleaned up and investigations conducted into how it happened were completed.
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David Hespe: How could you write such a shameful decision?

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David Hespe--How could you do such a thing?
David Hespe–How could you do such a thing?

New Jersey Education Commissioner David Hespe, in what has to be one of the most extraordinarily cynical and disingenuous legal decisions  produced by a state bureaucrat (who also is a lawyer), has upheld the dismissal of nearly 50 pupil attendance officers in Newark, a district with arguably the worst pupil attendance rates of any school district in the state.
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Hundreds rally in Trenton against school aid cuts and charter schools

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Jitu Brown--Sabotaging public schools to help charters is "evil."
Jitu Brown–Sabotaging public schools to help charters is “evil.”

More than 500 teachers, parents, public officials, and community activists rallied in front of the Statehouse in Trenton Sunday–and listened to blistering attacks on the failure of New Jersey’s leaders to fund public education and  prevent the draining of public funds from traditional schools by privately-operated charter schools.
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Atlantic City: Where democracy came to die–and the Norcross family will come to get richer

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Christie, Norcross, Sweeney: The New Jersey junta. Credit: Blue Jersey
Christie, Norcross, Sweeney: The New Jersey junta. Credit: Blue Jersey

The 25-year history of state control of local school districts is a narrative of an unworkable and poorly planned idea that, while initially promoted with good intentions,  has been transformed into a deliberate effort to suppress both the voting rights of minority men and women and the employment rights of public employees with the intent of helping the political and personal fortunes of the most powerful white men in the state, including Gov. Chris Christie, heir apparent Steve Sweeney, and political boss George Norcross III and members of his family.
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Newark: Lawsuit could reveal the truth about lead in school water

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Christopher Cerf's solution to poisoned water
Christopher Cerf’s solution to poisoned water

Four Newark families, according to the website Politico-NJ, have filed a federal lawsuit against state and local officials over the contamination of the city school district’s drinking water with lead. That’s a good thing, not simply for the families involved–families in which children reportedly have already suffered physical symptoms from drinking the water–but also for everyone who wants to know what really happened in New Jersey’s largest school system
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