Nothing to show for the pain inflicted on Newark’s children

Cami Anderson--Failure is success
Cami Anderson–Failure is success

This much is true about Newark’s schools: Change–its proponents call it “reform”– has been painful. Painful to parents and children who must negotiate traveling long distances to new schools in strange neighborhoods and dealing with changes in curriculum, testing, procedures, and individualized education plans (IEPS). Painful to teachers and administrators, hundreds of whom have lost their jobs or been assigned to tasks for which they are unsuited and unlicensed. The pain was predicted– Mayor Cory Booker said the pain and disruption might last years–and that has happened. Even state-appointed schools superintendent Cami Anderson and her  supporters concede “reform” would not come without hurt. The question is: Has all this pain resulted in progress for Newark’s children? The answer is no.

Newark: Why the student sit-in really matters

BLOGSITIN3The Newark high school students who occupied the offices of state-appointed superintendent Cami Anderson for four days forced her to meet with them but they did not, of course, get her to agree  to their most important demand, that she resign.  It’s unlikely any of them believed they could get Anderson to quit. Far beyond their stated goals, however, what this small handful of students did truly mattered—mattered in ways the students and their adult supporters might not even have considered.

Baraka and Rice to meet with feds, demand action on schools

Sen. Rice
Sen. Rice

The most prominent critics of the state administration of the Newark public schools are traveling to Washington, DC, to make their case  to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan. They will include Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, state Sen. Ronald Rice (D-Essex) and other legislators,  union leaders, community activists, and advocates and experts associated with the Education Law Center (ELC) and the Alliance for Newark Public Schools.

Cheating at Newark’s Barringer High School?

Students protesting conditions at Barringer last November
Students protesting conditions at Barringer last November

State-appointed administrators have scheduled a press conference Monday morning to boast about improved conditions at Newark’s Barringer High School–but they may be facing questions instead about both a cheating scandal and an unexpectedly low number of seniors graduating from the school’s “STEAM Academy,” one of two schools operating in the building.

How Newark set up a tenured teacher to fail

LaRhonda Ragland

Tenured Newark school teacher LaRhonda Ragland—a former member of the Alvin Ailey dance company and a New Jersey Nets cheerleader—was set up to fail  by the  state-run school administration, a state-appointed arbitrator has ruled. In a 41-page decision reinstating the teacher after the district tried to fire her, the arbitrator described how Ragland, a single mother with a teenaged child, was declared an “educator without placement” (EWP)  by the administration of superintendent Cami Anderson, then transferred from  Maple Avenue School to Arts High  where she was given non-teaching duties to perform. She was assigned to teach  only when administrators wanted to evaluate her–then gave her poor evaluations.

Cami Anderson’s charm offensive–it works for The Star-Ledger

Part of the presidential campaign?
Part of the presidential campaign?

Cami Anderson, a woman hardly known for her charm, has—with the help of media friends–launched a charm offensive aimed at the impossible task of rehabilitating her image. Those friends include the always reliable Star-Ledger, a newspaper that not only refuses to publish any bad news about Anderson but now also has made dubious journalistic history by promoting Anderson in a popularity contest disguised as a news story entitled, “Has the criticism of Newark’s superintendent gone too far?”