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, July 5, 2012

Newark Will NEVER Have Control Of Its Schools

To the surprise of absolutely no one, the state-appointed superintendent of Newark's schools' told its duly elected advisory board to go jump in the Passaic:
Newark’s top education official has overruled the wishes of the district’s advisory school board and will lease five district-owned facilities to charter schools, a district spokeswoman said.
Because the district is state controlled, virtually any decision made by the district’s elected school board can be overturned by Newark Superintendent Cami Anderson or acting state Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf.
On Monday, the board voted to strike down four of the five proposed lease agreements after deciding at an earlier meeting to table balloting. Many parents and community leaders oppose the leases.
School board member Marques-Aquil Lewis said the board voted against some leases because Anderson hadn’t provided information about agreements that allowed charters to share space with district school students this past year.
"How can we vote on these leases when we don’t know the results from last year?" he asked. "This decision is a clear sign of disrespect to the community."
Lewis added the board plans to seek legal advice about reversing Anderson’s decision. [emphasis mine]
Well, I'm sure old Uncle Eli will pick up the legal fees for the district; he's paying for all the other consultants. But here's what really kills me: at the exact same time Anderson was overruling the board, the NJDOE was ensuring that she had the power to do so.

Here is a letter, dated July 2, that explicitly rejects any basis for returning even partial local control to Newark:

Why can't the good people of Newark run their own schools? Because the state says:
In light of a decline in the area of Fiscal Management, the Commissioner cannot
determine that there is substantial evidence the district has adequate programs, personnel and policies in place and in operation to ensure that the prior progress demonstrated by the district has been sustained. For example, business personnel were not properly implementing the district’s policy regarding purchase orders; there were confirming orders. Additionally, the district does not have adequate internal controls to comply with the Public Contracts Law. Specifically, there were instances in which purchases exceeded the quote threshold without evidence of quotes. Moreover, the child nutrition program does not operate without a general fund transfer each year. These concerns are heightened given the size of the district’s budget and the fact that these areas were also noncompliant during previous evaluations.
Anyone see the many layers of irony here?

  • The state-appointed superintendent won't release information to the local advisory board to help them make a decision, but she retains her override power because the state says the board isn't forthcoming with evidence that it's following policy.
  • The state criticizes Newark's schools for not being in compliance with policy, even though the state has run the schools for 18 years! And there was a decade of state monitoring before that!
  • Superintendent Cami Anderson, empowered by the state, is overriding the board, after a year of running the district. Yet the same state that gave her the power to override local control admits the district has not improved since its last evaluation! 

There is simply no way that Newark, under the current New Jersey educational regime, is going to get its schools back. The Broadies who have infested the NJDOE want charters, and they want them run by their people. Nothing is going to stop them; certainly not a bunch of noisy parents who don't want to see school funds dumped into charters that don't do any better than the local public schools.

It's worth pointing out that Supermayor is just fine with this:
Newark Mayor Cory Booker scolded the board for striking down most of the leases and said he supports Anderson’s decision.
"We have an opportunity to expand high-quality school options for children and create revenue for the district, yet we continue to let the interest of adults get in the way of the interest of our kids," he said. [emphasis mine]
You know, I'd have to say I actually agree with Supermayor here: it looks like the interests of certain adults are definitely trumping the interests of kids - and their parents.

Local control is his Kryptonite!


Galton said...

The whole QSAC process is a joke. The teams can see whatever they want to see. Overall, the approach going in to a review is to look at the high stakes testing scores, do a DFG comparison, and then, if the scores are low, the QSAC report must be "tough" . They back into whatever number they choose. A total waste of money that profit the retired "experts" who consult on this crap.
I suggest the low QSAC scores are intended to give CA room to show "growth/improvement" ("see the QSAC report of 2013 shows the remarkable achievements of transformational changes.......,.).
As you know, Cerf has no problem playing fast and loose with data. His has not problem manipulating data: his problem is understanding it and honestly presenting it.

Unknown said...

Bawahahahahahaha! Supermayor! That picture should go viral.

Mark Collins said...

This is disturbing, but not surprising. 17 years of state control. Should be the model for local or state control nation-wide. Why isn't it? More serfdom from Cerf? Yikes!

Mark Collins said...

Yikes! Cripes! 17 years of state control and the results are still static or worse? What the heck is going on?

Newark should be the model for state control. I guess in a way, Newarkians will never regain local control. Based on the $17.5M for cyber charters and other expenses, they'll be perpetually broke and in the hole.

I guess more serfdom from Cerf. Still acting as Ed Commish. Sad. So sad.