THE BIG SELLOUT: The extra state aid is going to charters, NOT public school children.

cerfwellsbarakaNewark’s state-appointed schools chief Christopher Cerf has spent a lot of time lately praising the Christie Administration for increasing Newark’s state aid–“The first time in years we haven’t had flat funding,” he told the board meeting Tuesday night. Several members of the audience yelled out, “Liar!” and they were right. The extra money is part of the big Cerf/Baraka sell-out of public schools–and it is not going to the city’s public schools. It is going to charters, the favorite educational children of Christie, Cerf, and now, sadly, Mayor Ras Baraka.

Cerf slimes the Newark Teachers Union

Cerf--accusing the NTU of "taking the fifth."
Cerf–accusing the NTU of “taking the fifth.”

Newark’s state-appointed school superintendent Christopher Cerf set out last night to smear–and maybe destroy–the Newark Teachers Union (NTU), contending its leaders had “taken the fifth” to keep information away from a judge. The lawyer representing the union immediately denounced what Cerf said, contending his statement was “absolutely, utterly and, probably, knowingly, false.”

Newark’s school wars are over: Cerf and Baraka win, the people lose


The victors in Newark's school wars--Cerf, Baraka, and Baraka aide Lauren Wells.
The victors in Newark’s school wars–Cerf, Baraka, and Baraka aide Lauren Wells.

Years of  resistance to the state masters of Newark’s schools collapsed last night in a stunning show of the political power of the new alliance between state-appointed superintendent Christopher Cerf and Ras Baraka, the mayor whose election was due almost solely to his opposition to state control and his support from employee unions. The elected school board voted 6-2 to approve Cerf’s giveaway to the city of millions of dollars in school property–a plan endorsed by the mayor.

Judge: State broke the law when it fired Newark attendance counselors

Anderson fired attendance counselors
Anderson fired attendance counselors



In 2013, a time when the state-operated Newark public schools suffered from one of the highest truancy rates in the state–if not the nation–its state-appointed superintendent fired all of its attendance officers. Now, three years later, with the district experiencing an even worse absenteeism problem, an administrative law judge has ruled the system acted “in bad faith” and broke New Jersey’s truancy law.

A state judge keeps Newark teachers on edge about health benefits

Cerf and Christie: Will they determine health benefits for Newark teachers?
Cerf and Christie: Will they–and George Norcross– determine health benefits for Newark teachers?

The future of health benefits for 4,000 Newark teachers and their families is still precarious despite a recent court ruling that stopped the state from unilaterally changing prescription drug providers.  Although both the Newark Teachers Union (NTU) and the state-appointed schools superintendent claimed victory after a Jan. 29 court hearing, the truth is the issue is still unresolved.

Guest: Reforms like charters confront the law of unintended consequences

Shouldn't we care about those hurt by "reforms"?
Shouldn’t we care about those hurt by “reforms”?

Much has been written about the inability of some to be able to foresee the potential downsides of a decision. Psychology and business publications abound with examples of cognitive dissonance preventing us from truly looking at all possible implications of a decision.  What I am exploring is somewhat more specific to decisions made in education.  More specifically, it is about how a decision affects those who are NOT the target of the particular decision.

The wounded beast heads home

Christie: You gotta problem with wasting taxpayers' money?
Christie: Living and dying by the smirk

Chris Christie’s political persona lived by the smirk–and, this past week in New Hampshire, it died by the smirk. His relentless attack on Marco Rubio on what was, after all, a meaningless point, more than just damaged the Florida senator’s standing, it put an inglorious end to Christie’s hopeless crusade.