I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Heckuva Job, Cerfie!

Tom Moran is once again in a huff; he can't understand why anyone would have a problem with the bestest education commissioner ever!
Chris Cerf has been steering education policy in New Jersey for more than a year now, and no one disputes that he has brought talent and devotion to the work.
But you can’t call him commissioner because the boys in the Senate won’t confirm him, for reasons that are beyond ridiculous. And the governor, instead of defusing the dispute, has escalated it by refusing to appoint judges in Essex County as retaliation.
Gentlemen, please. Here are the key facts in this dispute: Cerf is doing a fine job. Rice’s objection to him is crazy. And the most important stake in this game is to end the stranglehold on Essex County courts.
It is way past time to move this nomination.
I'll save Rice's objections for another time; let's, instead, stick with the "key fact" that Cerf is doing a fine job, and that "no one disputes" his talent.

I often suspect Tom Moran doesn't read his own paper; if he did, he'd know that there are many people who question Cerf's "talent" (and not just wacko teacher-bloggers):
  • The many citizens of Cherry Hill, Voorhees, Lawnside, and Somerdale - including the boards of education in each town - who object to having a charter school shoved down their throats that they neither want nor need.
  • The many citizens of Highland Park, New Brunswick, and Edison who object to a boutique charter that misrepresented itself in its application, yet continues to be encouraged to reapply by the DOE.
  • The many teachers and members of the NJEA who are tired of being vilified by this administration, and who are sick of Cerf's repeated defenses of Governor Christie's disgusting attacks.
  • The charter applicants without political connections whose applications were turned down by the NJDOE, while others with ties to the administration sail through.
  • The education researchers, judges, and journalists who question Cerf's repeated misuse of data to make the case for policies that exacerbate funding inequality and oversell the alleged benefits of charter schools.
  • Citizens concerned about cronyism and secrecy in the NJ DOE.
Keep in mind: this is a partial list of stories just from Tom's own paper. I could go on quite a while longer if I expanded my sources.

I am sure it's comforting to the ACTING Commissioner that the editorial staff of the largest paper in the state really doesn't care much about these issues.

How the readers of the S-L feel is an open question.


Anonymous said...

Once again, Jazzman, you fail to comment on the fact that Senator Rice's own son mysteriously was able to escape the Newark school system and attend Pingry, the most expensive and exclusive high school in New Jersey. Yet Sen. Rice rails agaisnt giving his constituents freedom over their tax dollars to make the same school decisions for their children.

Why are you ignoring this issue?

Duke said...

I didn't realize I am now the official defender of all things having to do with Ron Rice. I mean, if I'm going to take that job, I think I should get paid...

You'll notice I put aside any questions about Rice's objections to Cerf for this piece. Honestly, I couldn't care about what Rice said to Moran about all this; I don't find it at all relevant to the issue of Cerf's career or tenure at NJDOE. And I've said several times that part of me would like Rice to remove his hold so we can get all this out in the open.

So, no, I'm not "ignoring" this issue - it's that I don't find it relevant to my point: a lot of people object to Cerf's tenure, and Moran is wrong to say they don't.

If you disagree, you are free to say so here, as you have done. Or start your own blog, where people can visit and leave comments about how you don't write about what they think is important.

Anonymous said...

Aw Jazzman lay off the Cerf man. He's got great qualities, reread the article you posted . . . he's uh, tall. (Is six ft. still considered tall?) Now that's an accomplishment! And I hear his teeth are pretty good.