First of all, here's the NJEA press release. I dare the ACTING Commissioner or anyone else to find anything here, or anywhere else at the NJEA website, that says or even implies that poor black kids can't achieve at a high level. To the contrary, the press release explicitly says:
Cerf's statement is nasty, obnoxious, and a great example of race-baiting. He should be ashamed of himself for painting the NJEA as an organization of racists; he owes them an immediate apology.
It is not racist to point out the facts. And the fact is - as Cerf himself acknowledges - all categories of students in New Jersey have shown improvement. This improvement came at a time of renewed emphasis on equitable school funding, and it came without the aid of charter schools, test-based evaluations of teachers, vouchers, merit pay, deunionization, or any of the other "reforms" Cerf and his merry band love to push.
One other thing: if Chris Cerf really, truly believes that poor black children can achieve the levels of success as wealthier white kids, why doesn't he let the communities of these poor black children run their own schools? Why does he bring outsiders - in some cases, all the way from Los Angeles - into these communities to push charters without the input of the citizens and parents who live there? Why does he insist on secret charter approval panels? Why does he stick his nose into the hunt for superintendents to run these school districts?
It's as if he doesn't trust these communities to run their own schools. But somehow, those celebrating the achievements of the children in those communities are the real racists.
A couple other beauties from this Q&A:
Listen, ACTING Commissioner: you're the one who's pushing a system to delineate teachers in far more categories than the research says is warranted. You're the one who has a teacher evaluation task force with only one working teacher on it. You're the one who basically wants to roll the dice with a teacher's career.
Don't be surprised if you don't get a lot of buy-in from us. Especially given the tone your boss has taken from the very start of this.
So we need to be more impatient, and we need to be more patient. Makes sense...
I'm sorry, but I just start to tune out at this point. It all becomes bromides and platitudes and nonsense, and it's in direct contradiction to the actual actions of the folks who are running the show in Trenton.
How does it help to "retain talent" when you slash benefits and break promises on pensions? How does having "higher standards" do anything to help the achievement gap? Everyone agrees third graders should read; what exactly should we do about that?
So it goes in the reformy land of the NJDOE: lots of talk about how important schools are while slashing state aid. Lots of talk about how important teachers are while slashing compensation. Lots of talk about "accountability" while secret charter panels and back room privatization deals run amuck.
Just freakin' awesome...