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

Friday, February 15, 2013

What's Wrong With Paterson?

Paterson is the third-largest city in New Jersey. It's one of the poorest cities in America with a nearly 40% child poverty rate. Its schools have been under state control for 22 years.

And Paterson is now, apparently, the new center of reformyness here in New Jersey.

Start with the pressure teachers in Paterson are feeling to accept merit pay. According to the local teachers union, the latest contract offer is unprecedented in that it calls for doing away with all raises except for those tied to performance evaluations (and, inevitably, standardized tests). Incredibly, the president of the board of education doesn't even know the details of this offer, demonstrating just how little control the local citizens actually have over their schools.

Paterson also looks to be on the crest of a new wave of charter schools coming to Jersey. As Mother Crusader has reported (here, here, and here), Paterson stands ready to host a new charter whose founder has a record of abject failure, yet stands to cash out big thanks to tax laws favorable to education privatizers. Sources also tell me another charter coming into Paterson is aligned with the Gulen movement, which is already running a charter in Bergen County that has a decidedly different student population than the local public schools.

And then there's the story of Mike Miles - like NJDOE Commissioner Chris Cerf, a graduate of the Broad Superintendents Book Club Academy. Miles was paid over $7,000 a day to "consult" in Paterson, even though he already had a full-time superintendent's job in Colorado. Given his workload, he brought in his sister to help in Paterson; that was lucky for her, as she had just been fired from her job in the Defense Department for engaging in cronyism. Mike Miles now works as the superintendent of Dallas's schools, where he is already apologizing for freely throwing around taxpayer dollars on excessive salaries.

What, exactly, did the Broadie Miles accomplish for all that money in Paterson?

Challenging collective bargaining, disenfranchising teachers, expanding charters, overpaying for consultants... that's today's Paterson! I'll be keeping a close eye on the Silk City this year: it's quite likely the launching pad for the new reformyness that threatens to take over the entire state.

Paterson: home of reformyness, and Lou Costello!

ADDING: Darcie has even more about charters in Paterson. It's as bad as you think...

1 comment:

ad77 said...

Notice how Broadies call their senior staff "Cabinet" members! Try the Mike Miles link - he has a cabinet of which he appointed members with too high of salaries. Now he is "apologizing" to the Taxpayers of Dallas.

Why does this not surprise us? After all, some how, some way, Miles was able to secure a daily consultant fee in Paterson of $7,000 day. So truly, he doesn't have a reality base, does he?

The term "cabinet" has always been a term for executive elected office holders such as the president or governor.

But to boost ego's and self importance, Broadies like to say they have a "cabinet". This was one of the first changes made by NJ illustrious commissioner of education, Cerf.

It's all a part of the Broad illusion of superior, super stars of education. Yet, when confronted with real, every day problems, they have no idea what to do.