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Chris Cerf, Christie’s former education commissioner and arguably the chief architect of his reform approach, says great things are happening in Newark, but people don’t see it because the politics of education are so interest-group driven, they often ignore the objective facts. In 2009, 54.7 percent of students had a “proficient or advanced” test score in language arts. In 2014, that figure was nearly 80 percent. In mathematics, the number rose from 42.6 percent in 2009 to 53 percent in 2014.
“There’s been a level of lying and propaganda that has been fed into the communications stream from the union that are like nothing I’ve seen before, and I was deputy chancellor in New York City, and I’ve seen a lot,” Cerf says.
He points to a 2012 study by CREDO, an independent research group out of Stanford University, that found that charter students in New Jersey, on average, gain an additional two months of learning in reading over their public school counterparts. In math, the advantage for charter students is about three months of additional learning in one school year. In Newark, in particular, charter students gained an additional seven and a half months in reading and nine months in math, the study found.