QOD: The Truth is that the Achievement Gap Isn’t Only About Black and Latino StudentsSeptember 2, 2015
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and Education ReformSeptember 3, 2015
Newark students started school today in an atmosphere that appears to be a marked contrast to the agitation and unrest last year. The Record reports today that Newark’s new superintendent, Chris Cerf, has even started to win over John Abeigon, president of the Newark Teachers Union:
“He’s more affable, he’s more personable, even when you disagree with him, you can still have a civil disagreement with him,” Abeigon said.
Abeigon said Anderson had stopped dealing with the union at all, but that Cerf has met with him in person, spoken on the phone and exchanged emails with him during his first weeks on the job. Abeigon also said he’s not planning any immediate job actions even though the teacher contract expired in June.
That’s a welcome shift from the former animosity of NTU, as well as many other school community members, towards ex-superintendent Cami Anderson. For example, Anderson boycotted all School Advisory Board meetings because a resident referred to her child as a “brown baby,” then-NTU President Joe del Grosso said that Anderson’s policies were “an insult to Martin Luther King,” the School Board gave her a vote of no-confidence and filed a petition with the State Board of Education demanding her removal, and last May eight Newark students “occupied” Anderson’s office.
A math specialist at First Avenue School, Lourdes Rocafort, said “there was a sense of hope.” Senator Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex), who heads the Senate Education Committee (and is on the short list for Senate President if Steve Sweeney ends up in Chris Christie’s seat) “praised [Cerf] for meeting with parents, community members and educators.”
We’ll take it.