Go read my series on Cerf. Follow my links to Leonie Haimson's writing about the guy: here's her latest. Then come back and try to convince yourself that Cerf is some altruistic crusader, fighting the folks who don't care about the kids as much as he does.By Joel KleinChris Cerf has been nominated as commissioner of education in New Jersey. He has a long and illustrious background in education reform — more than a decade at Edison Schools Inc. and at the New York City Department of Education combined — and, not surprisingly, he has stepped on a few toes along the way.Education reform is like that: Either you challenge a broken status quo and upset its many defenders, or you tinker around the edges and please the status-quo crowd while continuing to fail many of our children. Chris did the former and now, predictably, the sharp knives are out for him.
This is a guy who oversaw a blatant rip-off of taxpayers around the nation during his failed Edison tenure. Who made sweetheart deals for himself using teacher pension funds. Who has failed repeatedly to own up to his conflicts of interest. Who monitored his critics like he was Nixon and held the door wide open for privatizers. Who was part of Klein's inner circle during a huge testing scandal that has sent Mayor Bloomberg's pubic approval ratings into the toilet.
He is the face of corporate education reform. He was trained by billionaire Eli Broad is to spread his zeal for Halliburton Highs all over New Jersey. And there's plenty of evidence that he shares Chris Christie's autocratic tendencies.
So you'll forgive me if Joel Klein's endorsement doesn't carry a lot of weight:
That last line says it all, doesn't it? Klein and his master Rupert Murdoch are smelling the money to be made in this brave new world of over-tested and computer-taught students. Who better to hook News Corp up then their good buddy Cerf?New Jersey could not have picked a better education commissioner. I am confident that Chris Cerf will perform with integrity, with an unflinching commitment to the children of the state and with distinction.Joel Klein is CEO of the education division of News Corp. and former chancellor of New York City public schools.