Employees of the state-run administration of the Newark schools may have tampered with documents essential for determining whether the state-operated district is complying with a federal court decision designed to ensure the city’s special education children are receiving services required by law. Priscilla Petrosky, a court-appointed monitor reported that some obviously phony records “compromised” the validity of assurances given to the court that the district was trying to comply with its order.
If a history of Newark public education is written, the date of Oct. 19, 2015, will go down as the day the dream died. It will be written up as the day the forces of selfishness and greed, as personified by the clown we in New Jersey call governor, defeated the last best hope of residents of the state’s largest city for a rebirth of a liberating public school system.
The Newark Central Planning Board, with the apparent approval of Mayor Ras Baraka, voted 8-1 to allow the charter school chain, Uncommon Schools, to build a new charter school literally within sight of City Hall. One member of the board told this site that the panel was told before the meeting that Baraka, who had been viewed as a champion of traditional public schools, “let the board members know he was fine with the approval.”
Cami Anderson, Newark’s now disgraced superintendent, was many things. Arrogant. Mendacious. Insensitive. Too willing to use Newark schools as a hiring hall for inept cronies from New York and New Orleans. But she was right about one thing–and that one thing may turn out to be the most important thing facing Newark’s neighborhood public schools. Her successor, she said, would be worse for Newark’s public schools than she was–and that’s before she even knew who her successor would be. Of course, it turned out to be her old boss and enabler, Christopher Cerf.
There is a lot of cruelty in the way Newark schools treat parents and their children. Especially the way the state-run school administration treats the neediest, the most powerless. Just ask Isabel Troche and her four children.
The Newark public schools will soon be overwhelmed by a vast expansion of privately-run charter schools–the inevitable result of the deal that was supposed to bring local control to Newark’s schools. The national chain of KIPP schools today announced plans to open five new charters to add to the eight already operating in Newark. The hybrid Brick Academy schools–Peshine and Avon–are expected to seek designation as charter schools in the spring. And Uncommon Schools–operating as NorthStar–is seeking city approval to use former Star-Ledger land to build a new charter school.
BREAKING: JERSEY CITY MAYOR STEVE FULOP announces full control of the Jersey City schools will be returned to the locally elected school board. He made the announcement before the state school board voted to relinquish state control, demonstrating the deal was in the works without regard for the state board’s opinion. As a political fig leaf to justify returning the district to local control despite poor test scores, Hespe created a committee to “study” what to do about the embarrassing problem of student performance. But Fulop’s original statement–including remarks by superintendent Marcia Lyles–shows the deal was in to restore local control no matter what the state board members think.