Tuesday, January 21, 2014

N.J. Schools Superintendent Suspends 5 Principals for Speaking out against Gov. Chris Christie school Privatization Movement.

Republicans no longer care about local control.

In Wisconsin, Scott Walker is determined to spread private voucher education statewide, killing public education and Common Core at the same time. Plus, in an action that neutralizes the elected office of the state superintendent, the GOP will oversee educational changes and remove local school board involvement altogether.

But the same thing is happening in N.J., where similar attempts to destroy public education are moving quickly forward, even while Chris Christie is getting all that attention.

Check out the following comment by Gov. Chris Christie about his education superintendent’s decision to bully and suspend indefinitely five principals for speaking out against privatization:
Edweek: During a public appearance Wednesday at a school in Beach Haven, Christie was asked whether he and Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf plan to renew (superintendent of schools) Cami Anderson's contract, given the level of criticism from the Newark community, about the job she's doing.
"Yes we do, and we're going to renew it because she's done a great job, and I don't care about the community criticism," Christie said. "We run the school district in Newark, not them."
Welcome to the Republican idea of democracy; an authoritarian, top down style of “representation,” a contradiction if there ever was one.

Is “I don’t care about the community criticism” clear enough?
Journalist Bob Braun today carries a report on the decision by Anderson to "indefinitely suspend" five of Newark's principals. Braun explains:
Four of the principals...tried to answer questions from local residents worried about what would happen to their children as Anderson moves toward a wholesale transfer of public school assets to the KIPP Schools, a charter organization that operates TEAM Academy Charter Schools. Questions Anderson wasn't answering. Ms. Anderson's action in suspending the four principals is the last straw in a chain of inept, and horribly out-of-touch decisions.

The four principals have a constitutional right to speak out. The Newark school district is not a military dictatorship, and Ms. Anderson is neither an army general nor a police chief. 
This little aside should send a chill:
Senator Ron Rice, who represents Newark in the NJ Senate, spoke about another incident in which the Newark Administration locked students in a school library to speak with them about the school closings and reorganization and would not allow parents access.  The parents were at the school for a PTA meeting. 

On a more positive note, new legislation to stop forced public school closings was introduced in both the NJ Senate and Assembly. 

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