New Jersey universities and colleges that offer graduate education programs are the next targets of what Gov. Chris Christie and Newark schools superintendent Cami Anderson call educational “reform.” But what they are doing to block Newark teachers from earning credits at these traditional institutions looks–and smells–like insiders using their power to help old friends make money in the good old Christie ExxonMobil sort of way.
The state operation of urban schools–including those in Newark–provides little occasion for humor. However, those following the state usurpation of the local franchise among the predominantly black and brown people of New Jersey’s cities might get a slight chuckle out of this provision of the state takeover law.
The reappointment of a failing Cami Anderson to a fifth year as Gov. Chris Christie’s superintendent of Newark’s public schools caused anger, of course. Sadness and disappointment, too. But these are not new. What is now taking over the emotions of the city’s residents and leaders is a pervasive and disorienting sense of bafflement. What Christie and his subordinates and allies have imposed on Newark seems like a logical impossibility, a contradiction: A numbing sense of surprise. It’s as if the city’s residents were forced non-stop to watch an absurd play where impossible nonsense regularly happens but is treated as normal. In the rabbit-hole that is Cami Anderson’s and Chris Christie’s Newark, failure is success, illegal is legal, wrong is right. And the more failure and illegality and wrongheadedness the city’s people witness, the less they can do about it–and the more Anderson is praised and rewarded. It is madness as public policy.
A delegation of some 25 political, union, civil rights, and religious leaders is scheduled to meet Wednesday with “senior officials” of the US education department in an effort to force federal intervention in the state-operated Newark school district. The trek to Washington, DC, was announced with rhetoric invoking the city’s and the nation’s history of both racial discrimination and the discord it provoked. The leader of the delegation, state Sen. Ronald Rice (D-Essex), compared the current climate to 1967, a year marked by bloodshed in the streets of Newark and other cities.
A reader who uses the pseudonym Silence Dogood offered this light verse about PARCC for suffering teachers and students throughout New Jersey.