Nothing beyond silence, resignation, and acquiescence comes out of Newark’s once united and vocal pro public school community anymore, but there are three questions that should be answered. They probably won’t be until it’s too late to do anyone any good. Here they are:
1. Why have schools and families throughout the rest of the state received their PARCC scores but not Newark? What scam is Christopher Cerf, the state-imposed superintendent, planning to make him and Gov. Chris Christie look good while making traditional public schools look worse? By the time the scores are made available to teachers, they will be useless as diagnostic and remedial tools.
2. Why is no one protesting the decision by the so-called “Brick Academy” to bypass state law and become a charter school through the clumsy expedience of closing down and reopening as a privately-operated school. We know of course that Dominique Lee, an old-time Teach for America crony of Cami Anderson, has been given unprecedented private, entrepreneurial control of Avon and Peshine. But there is a law requiring a vote by teachers and family to convert a public school into a charter. Why is it that following a law is always a requirement of the powerless—but never of the powerful? We know why Cerf is allowing this—like Anderson, Lee also was a creature of Christopher Cerf. But where is the advisory board? Where is the mayor? Where is the teachers’ union? Was this illegal conversion part of the mayor’s deal with Christie?
3. It is now almost the end of the year and the twins of school destruction, Cerf and his new-found ally Valerie Wilson—Don’t you just love hearing, “You can call me Val” and “You can call me Chris”?—are still blocking school budgets and personally approving (or disapproving) every cent spent by traditional public schools. The schools, already stripped barren of amenities common in suburban schools, have been denied funds for supplies and field trips. When will the budget cuts end? When will Wilson resign?