“One Newark”–Gov. Chris Christie’s plan for privatizing many of the city’s schools–might be bad news for many parents, children, and school employees. But it’s likely to mean a promotion–another promotion–for a former New York City school principal who was banned from working in the New York City public schools because he misappropriated public funds for personal use.
Does anyone remember John Updike’s 2006 novel, Terrorist? It’s an odd Updike work and didn’t receive critical acclaim. It’s about a young Muslim man who plans to set off a truck bomb in the Lincoln Tunnel, an act, of course, that will—among many other dreadful things—paralyze traffic throughout Northeastern New Jersey.
Many of the political pundits have short memories when they say that Gov. Chris Christie has a carefully crafted image as a straight talking non-partisan who is above petty politics. That image only works for people who don’t pay attention or don’t live in New Jersey.
Keeping public education public and out of the grasp of privatizers won’t be easy. The people behind it all make following the power and the money deliberately complicated. Consider the story of the Pink Hula Hoop, a convoluted tale of big money and insider contacts that could be the future of public education.
Today, it begins. It’s the assault on public education in the state’s largest city known as “One Newark.” Instead of fully funding the state’s school aid formula, instead of ending racial isolation in the schools, instead of returning the schools to representatives of the people of Newark—all of which are required by law—the Christie Administration is beginning a wholesale closing of neighborhood public schools and transfer of valuable real estate to private entities like charters.