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, June 19, 2012

Will Democracy Come to Jersey City?

The circus train that is the NJ Department of Education pulled into Jersey City this week:
Superintendent candidates Debra Brathwaite and Marcia V. Lyles made their first appearances at a public meeting on Friday, answering pre-selected questions on district issues at a four-hour special session attended by about 200 residents. But their appearance at School 11 seemed to take a back seat to drama that unfolded, centered on one candidate who failed to make the final cut – interim superintendent Franklin Walker, a 33-year district veteran.
During the emotionally charged meeting, critics of the board’s handling of the search process vowed to try to postpone a final appointment until certain concerns are resolved. They are seeking an inquiry into whether perceived political and state interference has hampered the board’s legal authority to make the final choice.
Trustees were advised efforts could be launched to subpoena documents explaining how the board arrived at its final choices as well as a possible bid for a recall of board members. [emphasis mine]
Three things:

1) Good luck with that subpoena, folks: ACTING Education Commissioner Chris Cerf is on the review board that controls what you will get to see. Do you really think you'll be able to pull back the curtain?

2) The good people of JC know that Newark and Paterson and Camden have been under state control for years - and it's been a disaster. If you really want to turn around urban districts, the very first thing you have to do is give the residents of those districts control of their schools.

3) We used to live in a country where loyalty, perseverance, and hard work were rewarded. You could start as a teller at a bank and work your way up to become its president some day. This notion is now considered quaint.

So no one should be surprised that refromyists with a corporate mindset think it's a good thing to bring in outsiders as "disruptors"; again, this plays to the vanities of the CEOs who fund this nonsense.

Of course, the fact that this way of thinking has arguably ruined the American economy, and will probably ruin our schools, doesn't much seem to matter to these people. We can't have people who have roots in a community run things; we have to have folks who "challenge the status quo," no matter how dangerous those "challenges" may be:
Both candidates conceded they have been in the unenviable position of closing schools due to poor academic performance, though they promised to take numerous steps to try avoiding the process in Jersey City.
Lyles noted that while in Brooklyn, she launched the closure of Paul Robeson High School.
“It was really hard for me,” she said, citing the school’s “consistently underperfoming” over a five-year span as the reason. “There is a point in a process where closing a school has to be a consideration, because of our expectations as to how we should support children.”
“It is not an easy decision to close any school,” Brathwaite said, though she said the option must be on the table. [emphasis mine]
Gosh, I'm so sorry it was "hard" for you. No mention of how it affected the kids, the teachers, or the community, though.

I'm glad to see the parents of JC are not going to take this crap lying down. I've said it before: the reformies may be fighting for money, power and ideology - but the parents are fighting for their kids. Who do you think will win that battle?


Galton said...

Lyles is a BROADIE and the JC BOE have no real choice here.

Duke said...

Do they not have a choice? Or where they chosen to do the will of their patron?


Galton said...

The choice Hobsian. Did you what is going on in New Britannia Ct.? A local BOE was "offered" a bunch of cash if they let the Commissoner od Education up there pick the next Superintendent!
Old man Eli would be Proud of such an audacious sale of the public interest.

Galton said...

Sorry for the typos, hard to see these little buttons at my age!