Cerf about to throw school workers into the streets

Cerf and Christie--bad for Newark school employees
Cerf and Christie–bad for Newark school employees

This is a nation that doesn’t simply tolerate felonious behavior by its wealthiest entrepreneurs–it rewards it.  If you are rich enough and powerful enough, you can get away with nearly sinking the American economy and be forgiven–and even given a raise. However, if you are poor, if you are just holding on to a low wage job, you can be thrown into the streets–and the powerful among us will call it accountability.  Consider the 91 Newark school employees who will be among those laid off this year to help the state reduce the $60 million deficit its mismanagement created.

The Newark Teachers Union (NTU) published a list of these men and women who were rewarded for their service by dismissal for economic reasons. This site will not add to their anguish and embarrassment by publishing their names. But attention must be paid to their suffering–and  it should be noted that they will be let go by the latest state overseer imposed on the people of Newark–millionaire Christopher Cerf from Montclair, himself a rich person often forgiven for his many mistakes.

Some of these employees worked for the district for decades–the most senior, a security officer, was hired in 1976. Many others were hired in the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s.  Many of them are city residents, parents and grandparents of Newark school children.

They are not simply numbers on a spread sheet–they are people.

Here is what the NTU said in its statement:

“BREAKING–NPS Lay Off List for SY 15/16…more blood on the hands of Cami & her Chief P.I.C. Vanessa Rodriguez. Following up on their original “general notification” letter sent to all Civil Service positions in June. Like a ticking time bomb, next will come the official confirmation letter. SAS Cerf can stop this by demanding that the state reverse its decision to reward Newark’s Charter Schools with a “hold harmless” extra $25M and lobbying for restorative aid. Lets see what he does. Meantime, the NTU will be filing an immediate bad faith appeal with the Civil Service Commission. Download & SHARE”

Anderson and Rodriguez should not, of course, be exculpated. But the list of those  responsible for the mismanagement that prompted these dismissals is a lot longer. How many $175,000-plus assistant superintendents does the city need? How many of the jobs held by poor and working class people could be saved with one or two fewer friends of Cerf and Anderson on the payroll?

How about the $2.3 million that the Newark publis school awarded to Amplify, the company Cerf most recently worked for? Or the $500,000 Cerf’s Global Education Advisers received from Newark just before Gov. Chris Christie named Cerf the state education commissioner–and Cerf hired Anderson who, in turn, hired her special friends from New York City and New Orleans?

But the NTU has a good point here. Cerf, the charter champion, will preside over the diversion of $25 million earmarked for Newark public schools that will instead go to, among others, the Kipp charter schools run by his former business partner, Tim Carden.

Of course, Cerf will NOT respond to the NTU’s demand that he not give $25 million to his charter pals. Cerf’s job, like that of Anderson before him, will be to weaken the neighborhood public schools, strip them of resources, lower their enrollment–and, within a year, ensure that a majority of the city’s school children attend charters.

Conventional media will make excuses for the injustices represented by these layoffs. Christie will brag about how he is bringing “accountability” to the Newark and other takeover systems.

And no one outside their families will mourn for those chosen to pay for the sins of the powerful.

 

 

 

 

5 comments

  1. Becca Fields

    You are quite right about the injustice in the NPS decisions of who gets paid and who gets fired. The way the district is administered parallels the way Christie runs his administration. But the mandate to give charters the extra money is from the state budget, not a district decision. Where was NTU during the budget process protesting this when the decision was being made? Maybe they were objecting and I missed it but it would have been better to mobilize people to fight it then before the damage was done.

  2. booklady

    A few random questions:
    1. Will Brittany C Parmley be released from her position?
    2. Will NPS lay off Gabrielle Wyatt, who may be NJ’s only public school employee under age 30 paid $135K? Is her job necessary if NPS is returning to local control?
    Or is she a Cerf crony from New York City PS?
    3. Are the people who were hugging Cami Anderson in the market able to find Cerf to hug him, too?

    4. If NJ State take-over of districts is so terrific, why did Chief Intervention Officer Timothy Matheny leave after a relatively short time in that position?

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