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

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Fool Me Twice...

When ACTING NJ Education Commissioner Chris Cerf worked in NYC, he swore that teacher evaluation data would NEVER be released to the public. Last week, it was.

Now, he's making the same promises in New Jersey. How do you think this will turn out?
Yesterday, acting education commissioner Chris Cerf tried to quell worries and said he would be against public disclosure of individual teachers' scores.
"I don't believe in that," Cerf said in an interview last night. "It is counterproductive, and I believe it is not something we should put out. And especially putting that out in isolation, it's against everything we want to do."
ACTING Commissioner, the folks you worked with at the NYCDOE were the ones who urged the NYC press to file freedom-of-information requests for the data. The weak protestations that they are only following the will of the courts are ridiculous: they started the whole thing! Your old boss, Joel Klein, always wanted the data made public. Releasing these error-ridden, unreliable ratings was always part of the plan.

Further, ACTING Commissioner, you have a history of working the press to meet your own ends. You were in charge of the "Truth Squad" at the NYCDOE that leaked information you had accumulated about Diane Ravitch to be used to savage her in the press. (Is there a similar shop currently set up in the NJDOE? Hi, fellas!)

So you'll forgive me, ACTING Commissioner, if I'm not ready to merely take you at your word on this. Your boss has already lied about our pensions, and you've been incredibly disingenuous about the state of New Jersey's schools and the "achievement gap". Why would any teacher ever believe you on this issue? As the NJEA says:
"In two and a half years, we have seen enough misinformation from this administration that, let's just say, our caution lights are on," said Steve Wollmer, communications director of the New Jersey Education Association. 
"It's a disaster that shouldn't happen anywhere, and certainly not in New Jersey," said Wollmer. "If you want to totally alienate an entire generation of teachers, that's the way to do it."
That is exactly right, except we know that this administration couldn't care less about "alienating" teachers: insulting us has pretty much been Chris Christie's entire education policy.

There is no doubt where this is going, and no one should be fooled by Chris Cerf's pie-crust promises ("easily made; easily broken").  The only question is: what are we going to do about it?


Anonymous said...

They will further erode the schools here by their new "grants," like RTTT, making school accept their economic reforms *cough* education reforms to get money. Further, they are seeing to it by taking millions from the neediest districts making those grant monies for attractive for them than for red-suburbia. Really? I'm so disgusted I have no words.

Then the NYPost outed the lowest scoring teachers by name so the public can have their red meat for the day. How disgusting, I cried. :( This evil being perpetrated upon our children and schools must end.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why no one is reporting on the fact that whole language reading methods are being forced down the throats of teachers in the public schools. This failing instructional method is the EXACT reason why our students are not learning to read properly. Today, it is called "balanced literacy" but it is really whole language if you do your research. Will anyone out there finally do what's right for the future of America? It is time we get rid of bad instructional methods and let the teachers TEACH!

Deb said...

The tragic irony in that is that charters are given flexibility in approaches and methods to teach while the public schools are bound tighter and tighter - and then public school teachers are going to be judged by standards which they themselves would never support/favor as effective teaching and evaluative methods......and charter schools will be hailed successes because they can do whatever they want.....it is a bit sick and twisted....

Anonymous said...

Charter schools are not doing much better. The people who run charter schools don't know one instructional method from another. Most charter schools in my town also are using whole language methods. The difference is that charter schools are not being attacked the way the public schools are. These politicians simply want to see an end to public education as we know it and they will stop at nothing until they finally get their wish. Guess who suffers? The kids! The illiteracy rate in the USA has been skyrocketing. Shame on all of them!

Anonymous said...

errr....I'm the hated "anon 1 troll".

I gotta say, I looked at the NY published teacher ratings and....that is just effed up right there, bro.

Shouldn't be published.

Duke said...

I appreciate that you're willing to make that statement here, Anon - sincerely.

You are not "hated." But this is a place where a teacher has been pushed around enough and isn't going to take it anymore.

Others apparently feel the same.