Category: Education

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

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.”

THE BIG FRAUD: Newark students won’t have to meet state performance standards before state relinquishes control

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.

David Hespe: How could you write such a shameful decision?

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.

Hundreds rally in Trenton against school aid cuts and charter schools

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.

Atlantic City: Where democracy came to die–and the Norcross family will come to get richer

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.

Newark: Lawsuit could reveal the truth about lead in school water

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

Newark’s school mystery–political theater or reality?

Christie--he tells Baraka Newark has enough money
Christie–he tells Baraka Newark has enough money

What is going on in Newark?

On Tuesday, the city’s mayor, Ras Baraka, blasted Gov. Chris Christie for an impending 6 percent local property tax increase  because of what he said was poor management of the state-operated school system, a criticism that provoked an angry response from Christie. Yet, just a day later, on Wednesday, the school board adopted the state regime’s  $1 billion budget with the big tax increase potentially still there, because, said its newly elected president, Antoinette Baskerville-Richardson, Baraka would come up with $9.6 million to fill the budget hole–and ultimately prevent the tax increase.

The Star-Ledger’s alternative universe–and the reality in Newark

John Abeigon--NTU president
John Abeigon–NTU president

If you read the state’s largest newspaper or its digital version, NJ.COM, you will expect that. on Tuesday, thousands of angry teachers will march together into the next meeting of the Newark school board. Of course, that will not happen. But in the alternate universe populated by The Star-Ledger’s chief editorial writer, the Newark Teachers Union (NTU) is “a potent political force in town”–and that “potent political force” has called for a massive demonstration against state-appointed superintendent Christopher Cerf.