Newark voters go to the polls April 16 but the real question they face in the school board election isn’t printed on the ballot. It’s a question that’s brutal, clear and stark–a question that, maybe, no one wants to face:
Just days before the New Jersey state school board voted to end state control of the Newark schools in 2017, local administrators appointed by former Republican Gov. Chris Christie pushed through a contract awarding nearly $200,000 to a consulting firm with ties to state officials who ran the district. It was just one of a number of commitments the system’s former state masters imposed on the struggling, financially strapped district.
Jim Pathe, a veteran photojournalist who worked for decades at The Star-Ledger, has died. He was 83 and succumbed to thyroid cancer on Jan. 13.
Pathe, a Navy veteran who joined the submarine service, came late to mainstream journalism. He had worked in construction, built lobster boats, served as coordinator and spokesman for an organization of veterans who opposed the Vietnam War.
The New Jersey state education department has refused to release public documents that might shed light on former Gov. Chris Christie’s loan of $10 million in state funds to a failing Newark charter school and its partner, a private, for-profit real estate developer that was receiving more than $800,000 in public funds as annual rent from the school. (more…)
The collapse of Newark’s Lady Liberty Academy Charter School hurt the nearly 500 inner-city children who attended the privately-run, publicly-funded school–but the debacle also exposed a reckless financing scheme used by former Gov. Chris Christie to help political allies in the charter school movement. (more…)
Before New Jersey bought the property in Union as the site for Newark State Teachers College, the land was a farm owned by the Kean family. The Keans were from South Carolina but, in the 18th Century, one of them married a Livingston– Livingston, as in Robert Livingston, the first governor of New Jersey. All of that is unimportant except for this: I met Dickie Riley on what we called Kean’s Farm and he became my friend. He was my friend until he was killed in a helicopter crash in Vietnam 50 years ago. October 24, 1968. (more…)
The Newark school board election is scheduled for tomorrow–but the results already are already in. Two winners: Ras Baraka, the city’s mayor. And the other winner–Christopher Cerf , the charter school champion, Chris Christie pal, and former city schools superintendent and state education commissioner whose snake oil consulting show continues to play–and pay–in Newark. (more…)
Under the Christopher Cerf plan, full autonomy won’t be granted to the elected Newark school board until a two year transition is completed. A transition in which many consultants will get rich and high paid administrators, appointed by Cerf, will continue to earn their six-figure salaries and follow the pro-charter, anti-public, union-shredding school plans for Newark. That will make it official–the state will have controlled the city schools for 25 years–a quarter century. (more…)