New Jersey Newark Students

Bob Braun: How State Control Hurt Newark’s Children

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If education is the civil rights issue of our time, as “reformers” often claim, then the students of Newark should sue Governor Christie, Cimmissioner Hespe, and Superintendent Cami Anderson for violating their right to a high quality education.

Bob Braun reports a study showing that the ongoing disruption in the lives of students, families, and educators have failed.

“A report compiled by the Alliance for Newark Public Schools reveals that so-called “Renew Schools,” city schools singled out for special attention–Anderson would call it “reform”–not only did not produce the student progress she predicted–but, in fact, lagged behind schools throughout New Jersey whose students have the same socio-economic and racial characteristics.

“So, after 20 years of state control and four years of experimentation by Anderson, the best the state-run Newark school administration has to offer fails in comparison to schools in the poorest school districts throughout New Jersey.

“This report…revealed that, with respect to 2013-2014 academic performance, all seven (7) Newark, New Jersey, Renew Schools significantly lagged or lagged their peer schools across the state.

“In the area of student growth performance, six (6) Renew Schools lagged or siginifically lagged their peer schools…”

“The analysis also shows that Newark has failed to meet its promised academic progress targets established as a condition for the granting by the federal government of a waiver of the draconian provisions of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law. Under the law and under the waiver, student progress was measured for tracked for various subgroups based on race, language skills, poverty and other factors. According to the analysis, “The Renew Schools did not meet any of the 56 targets.”

And more:

“The commissioner also hinted he would, despite her failures, renew Anderson’s contract for another year. Hespe, once a well-respected educational administrator, clearly has moved to Chris Christie’s alternate universe, an Orwellian place where truth is lying and success is failure.

“It’s an embarrassment not because she failed but because of the pain and disruption Anderson caused creating the so-called “Renew Schools.” Under her plan, new principals were brought in, entire staffs were fired, schedules were changed, days were lengthened, millions of dollars were spent–including on outside consultants with close ties to Anderson–and it all has come to nought.”

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