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, September 8, 2012

Power To The People - Over Their Schools

Oh, dear: old Uncle Eli in California is not going to be happy about this:
City and school officials from Jersey City, Newark and Paterson gathered in Newark City Hall today to urge federal education and law-enforcement officials to investigate what they call the state’s “refusal” to hand control of the three cities’ school districts back to local officials.
State Sen. Ron Rice, leading the charge, said New Jersey’s control of the districts has led to poor performance that is then blamed on the districts’ leaders. He criticized Gov. Chris Christie and Newark Mayor Cory Booker for “running all over the country” blasting New Jersey’s urban school districts.
“They’ve been doing nothing but badmouthing the school systems of Paterson, Jersey City and Newark,” Rice said, calling Christie’s and Booker’s words “an insult.” [emphasis mine]
Remember: the reformyists have a vested interest in the failure of public schools. I'd only add that they aren't just badmouthing or schools - they're badmouthing our kids.
Jersey City has been run in part by state officials since 1989, while the districts in Newark and Paterson have been state-controlled in some way for around 20 years. Jersey City BOE member Sterling Waterman, present at today’s press conference, said Jersey City’s school district is showing “progress” and needs to be governed completely by the local school board.
“I think he needs to relax his control of Jersey City,” Waterman said, referring to state Education Commission Chris Cerf. “We are headed in the right direction.”
Jersey City’s school board was awarded control in the areas of governance and finance back in 2007, which the schools superintendent at the time called an “historic event.”
But the state still controls the areas of personnel, instruction and operations, and today Kabili Tayari, former school board member and current deputy mayor, said the state told “one big lie” when it led Jersey City to believe in 2007 that it would soon regain control of its district. [emphasis mine]
And NJDOE Commissioner Cerf told his own whopper when he said he wasn't involved in the appointment of a new superintendent in Jersey City.
Cerf spokeswoman Barbara Morgan said state officials "remain committed" to returning control of the school districts to local officials.
"In the meantime, our bottom line concern is whether all of our students have access to a high quality education," Morgan said. [emphasis mine]
Yeah, I tend to think your bottom line concern is that Eli Broad's minions in the NJDOE have access to new markets for Chris Cerf's friends to spread the gospel of reforminess.

I'll tell you what, though: show me some high-quality research that gives evidence for the idea that schools get better when we abandon local control. I'm happy to be proved wrong.

You folks at NJDOE can send that over right after you've finished with that charter report...

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