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From today’s NJ Spotlight’s preview of an interview with Mary Alice Williams and Newark Superintendent Chris Cerf.
Could this really be the Newark school district? Yes, it is.
In sharp contrast to the contentious reign of departed schools superintendent Cami Anderson, the district’s first year with former state Education Commissioner Chris Cerf at the helm of the state-run district has been relatively quiet and peaceful, even as he continues to oversee the controversial citywide enrollment system and helps the district move forward in the slow process leading to the return of local control.
Cerf credits the changed atmosphere, in large part, to efforts to actively encourage community involvement, citing what he calls “the dignity of engagement.”
And, from the transcript of the interview:
Williams: Many of your detractors say you’re biased towards charter schools. What’s a good ratio between charter schools and traditional public schools? And we should point out, because it’s hard to remember, that charter schools are public schools, they’re just different than traditional.
Cerf: I’m glad you said that, because my bias is not towards charter schools. My bias is towards quality, public, free schools and I think we should define our success by the number of children who have access to free, quality public education. And by the way, by that measure there’s a recent study that shows that Newark is doing better than literally every other urban center in the nation. If you look in the aggregate at public schools, charter, magnet, traditional, etc.
For more on the study that Cerf refers to, see here.