Chris Cerf Unplugged: Charter Schools, Phil Murphy, NJEA, and Save Our Schools-NJ

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In an interview in today’s Star-Ledger, Newark Superintendent and former New Jersey Commissioner of Education Chris Cerf discusses the threat of a charter school moratorium, his views on “boutique” charter schools in leafy suburbs, why NJEA leaders and Save Our Schools-NJ fight so vociferously against public charters yet give discriminatory magnet schools (and their own access to school choice) a pass, the impending governorship of Phil Murphy, and how Newark charters are incubating new ideas and sharing them with traditional schools.

To add further context as Newark prepares to regain local control of its district,, two weeks ago the Star-Ledger interviewed Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, whose stance on alternatives to traditional Newark schools remains muddy at best. (See here, here, and here for my attempts at divination.) When asked about the impact of state control in this recent interview, he said, “The minute they took over, they began doing all this reform stuff. Teachers started becoming very leery of this stuff, it was one reform model after the next. And in two, three years it’s gone. All of it was top down. The charter stuff is really the last iteration of all the reform that’s supposed to take place in the district.”

So charter schools, which now enroll 31 percent of Newark public school children, 46 percent of them African-American, are merely “reform stuff”? Superintendent Cerf begs to differ. Here are a few highlights from the interview; I recommend you read the whole thing.

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1 Comment

  • Fact Check for Phil Murphy and Sheila Oliver - NJ Left Behind, September 5, 2017 @ 3:58 pm Reply

    […] Should we change the law? Should the state collect all local school taxes, add in state aid, and distribute the revenue among our 591 school districts? (Oy.) Maybe. Then let’s talk about that, not dis the choices made by current Newark families who overwhelming support a charter school sector that now educates 31 percent of Newark schoolchildren. […]

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