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

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Reform = Disrespect

God bless Mildred C. Crump, Newark Councilwoman and patriot:
The Camden Board of Education deserves congratulations for not bowing to pressure and for denying applications to build New Jersey’s first privately owned public schoolsuntil all questions were answered. We recently had a similar opportunity here in Newark, but the results were entirely different.
The recommendations of the Advisory Board of Education in Newark were overturned by the state-appointed superintendent, Cami Anderson, supported by Gov. Chris Christie, Mayor Cory Booker and state Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf. It was another example of the lack of respect they have for the people who were duly elected to our board of education, and a constant reminder that they are only “advisory.” In other words, their opinions don’t count. So instead of a partnership, we have a dictatorship.
State Sen. Ronald Rice (D-Essex) has been fighting the power brokers, advocating for local control of our district. What happened in Newark is a clear indicator that, until we regain that status, we are at the mercy of those whose mission is to destroy and dismantle the public school system.
No, charter schools are not public schools. They receive our public tax dollars, but are not bound by the same rules and regulations as the public schools. The co-location of a charter school in a public school building is an opportunity to observe firsthand the disparities in resources allocated to our public schools. You will find carpet on the their floors, air conditioners, smart boards in rooms, sufficient books and whatever is needed to provide an excellent learning environment.
I understand that parents want to give their children the best education possible, but we cannot discount those who are left out of the lotteries if our mission is to educate all children. [emphasis mine]
I'd reprint this entire piece if I could: it's perfect. Crump correctly points out that Newark has been under state control for years; if anyone has a problem with Newark's schools, start there. I'd only add that there is no known correlation between autocratic district control and student achievement. It didn't work in New York City and it's certainly not working in New Jersey's cities.

Over and over again, the reformies tell us that parents need more "choices." Well, how about giving citizens the choice to run their own communities? Or is there no money for edu-vultures to make in that?

Something is happening in Jersey, and the rest of the country: slowly, a groundswell of opposition is building against the corporate reform agenda. People are starting to resent the idea that a California billionaire like Eli Broad has more influence over the directions of their children's schools than they do. Paterson and Jersey City are also straining under their state-imposed yoke. Camden is pushing back against plans imposed from outside its borders. Even the 'burbs have had enough.

Were I a smart politician, I'd get on the right side of this - now.


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