Tag Archive: Chris Cerf

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week: Delirium at the State BOE Meeting Part 1!

Promoted by Rosi. Cross-posted from Marie Corfield.

Today was open topic day at the NJ State BOE, which means anyone can testify about any education topic. The board has their regular meeting in the morning, then public testimony in the afternoon. Due to NJASK testing, there was a small contingent of NJEA members present along with concerned parents and citizens.

It started with a resolution to recognize May 2014 as Physical Education and Sport Month. A physical education teacher gave a brief presentation on the topic. Forgive me for not knowing her name, but she’s a firecracker. She’s been teaching close to 50 years. I met her at a previous BOE meeting and she’s the epitome of a career educator: fiercely passionate, knowledgeable, inspiring and uplifting. During her presentation she reminded the board that even though NJ is one of the top states in PE in the nation, because of budget cuts and increased demands of standardized testing, many districts are not fulfilling the mandated 150 minutes of PE per week. Board president Arcelio Aponte told her to mention this to acting Education Commissioner David Hespe. (More on this in tomorrow’s post.) She then got the entire room up and doing an ‘brain break’-type activity, wherein Aponte laughingly admitted that he’d lost control of the meeting. Leave it to a teacher to take control.

NJDSC Chair John Currie on Chris Cerf’s resignation: “Sinking ship”

On the day of Education Commissioner Chris Cerf’s announcement that he’s resigning, state Democratic Chair John Currie says Cerf’s “no dummy,” deserting a “sinking ship of state” under Christie while he can.

Here’s the statement from the state Dems, and Currie’s statement:

With the announcement today that New Jersey Education Commissioner Chris Cerf is stepping down to rejoin the private sector, New Jersey Democrats are hoping Governor Chris Christie will recognize it as a teachable moment.

Cerf, a man the New Jersey Education Association criticized for “rushing headlong into catastrophe” with a chaotic rollout of new teacher evaluation guidelines, is now fleeing the Christie administration while he can still find room on an available life raft. Cerf’s announcement, which comes just weeks after Governor Christie made controversial educational reform the centerpiece of his State of the State address, calls into question Christie’s current priorities.

“This is clearly another warning sign, and an indication of Governor Christie’s failed leadership. Commissioner Cerf is no dummy. He can read the writing on the wall,” said New Jersey Democratic State Committee Chair John Currie. “As Chris Christie’s scandals steer our ship of state toward a Bermuda Triangle of intrigue it was just a matter of time before the governor’s misguided priorities and questionable navigational abilities caused people to jump overboard. Out of curiosity, given the fact that Christie is wooing Republican donors in Illinois later, was Commissioner Cerf afforded an exit interview? Or, is the state’s educational system really not that much of a priority?”

Chris Cerf, who never should have been hired, is stepping down

Via The Record:

New Jersey Education Commissioner Chris Cerf, who helped broker a landmark tenure law with the state’s large and powerful teachers union, is stepping down to rejoin the private sector.

He said Monday he will leave his $141,500-a-year job on Feb. 28 to become chief executive of Amplify Insight, a division of Amplify, an education technology firm run by his former boss, Joel Klein, who was New York City schools chancellor. Cerf was Klein’s deputy from 2006 to 2009.

Cerf said he aims to continue his mission to close achievement gaps and give public school teachers the tools they need to help children. Amplify Insight says it sells digital products to diagnose students’ weaknesses in reading and math and prescribe interventions tailored to each child, among other services. Amplify is an independent subsidiary of News Corp., the media company headed by Rupert Murdoch.

The symmetry is delicious. He’s returning from whence he came, the world of privatizing and educational tycooning. More on this tomorrow.  

Newark school boss Anderson cracks down on critics, suspends five principals in one day

promoted by Rosi

Cross-posted at Bob Braun’s Ledger

blogjamesH. Grady James – too successful?

At Newark’s Hawthorne Avenue School, the test scores are up, higher than state-imposed goals-and certainly better than those of the highly touted “Renew” schools favored by the administration. The hallways are quiet. Teachers and administrators get along. And this was all done despite central office’s stripping away of faculty resources and shameful neglect of the building. So, in the crazy, bullying logic of Gov. Chris Christie’s administration of city schools, it was time to suspend the school’s successful  principal, H. Grady James. He was just too good to be allowed to stay.

What’s Happening Today Fri. 09/06/2013

Campaign Stop Trivia: Thursday afternoon Gov. Christie went to Moonachie’s Robert L. Craig School, much-damaged during Sandy but now open. As opposed to his Town Hall shows, this was a no-glittz affair without music, spotlights, video, banners or even a flag. (Isn’t that a no-no?). The audience consisted of about 250 pre-K through 8th grade students (not a voter among them), a few teachers, Education Commissioner Chris Cerf, District Senator Paul Sarlo, embattled Republican County Executive Kathleen Donovan, the press (including seven video cameras glued on the stage) and Christie’s retinue. Maria Comella, Christie’s Communications Director (in charge of marketing Christie with a large, savvy staff that must make other governors envious) sits patiently at the rear of the gymnasium until she learns the Governor is arriving whereupon she ducks into the back room where he stands with his security detail. After having waited for about 40 minutes the well-behaved kids have started getting a little restless. Ten minutes later Christie walks in, speaks a few minutes, and then answers questions from the students. He acknowledges help from President Obama in repairing the school and even refers once to “the President and me.” There was plenty of space outdoors (and inside) for those who don’t like Christie’s and Cerf’s education policies to carry signs, march and protest, but no protestors were there.

Organizing for Action (OFA) is holding events in New Jersey to tell Congress to move forward with comprehensive immigration reform. 12:00pm, Rep. Chris Smith’s (R CD 4) Office, 112 Village Center Drive – 2nd Fl. Raintree Shopping Center, Freehold; and on Saturday, 12:00pm, Congressman Runyan’s (R CD3) Office, 4167 Church Road , Mount Laurel.  

The Assembly is back in session on Monday at 10:00am and has scheduled the following bills for a vote:

A3680 [Coutinho, Albert/Singleton, Troy+26], NJ Econ. Opportunity Act of 2013

A3797 [Mainor, Charles/Eustace, Timothy J.+5], Firearms, cert-concern reporting of info

A4329 [Bramnick, Jon M./Angelini, Mary Pat], Home invasion-creates crime

AR176 [Chivukula, Upendra J./Bramnick, Jon M.], Baha’i prisoners-immediate release

S2842 [Scutari, Nicholas P./Vitale, Joseph F.+1], Med. marijuana prog.

Public Schedules:

Buono/Silva gubernatorial campaign: 11:30am, Barbara Buono, Assemblywoman Annette Quijano (D-20), and Assemblyman Gordon Johnson (D-37): Press Conference to call for New Jersey high-school graduates who are undocumented immigrants brought to America as children to qualify for in-state tutition rates at the state’s public colleges, Rutgers AAUP-AFT, 11 Stone St. New Brunswick; Barbara Buono and Milly Silva: 5:30pm, 22nd Annual “Celebration of Labor” Parade and March, Newark City Hall, 920 Broad St, Newark.

Governor and Gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie: early morning appearance on NFL AM show. He heads to Texas this weekend, Michael Symons says, “where he’ll attend Sunday’s NFL opening-weekend game in Dallas between the Cowboys and Giants – rooting for the home team, not the one that plays in New Jersey. He’s attending with Ray Washburne, a Dallas businessman and finance chairman for the Republican National Committee.”

Senate candidate Cory Booker: has said he is discontinuing his campaign events this week in order to concentrate on Newark crime matters.

What’s Happening Today Thu. 09/05/2013

What does the Newark community think today after Christie’s insult? On NJToday Governor Christie was asked yesterday whether he would renew Cami Anderson’s contract as Superintendent of Newark schools. He said he and Commissioner Cerf would. He added, “We don’t care about the community criticism. We run the school system in Newark, not them.” Callous and insensitive maybe? How long can he get away with statements like this?

New Jersey Public Policy reports: As Congress weighs deep cuts to Food Assistance, new data show about one in eight New Jersey households struggle with hunger. As early as next week, the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to consider legislation that would significantly cut SNAP by $40 billion over 10 years. Nearly one million New Jerseyans face food assistance cut in November.

NJ Freedom to Marry campaign just took a big step forward. Mike Premo announces that after raising $25,000, with a matching grant of $25,000, NJFTM raised more than $50,000 to win marriage in our state. Way to go! Let’s keep it up. It takes money to beat Christie and our opponents.

Trenton Mayor Tony Mack: Still in office, refusing to answer important questions, under indictment, and in dispute with his Police Commissioner. He should not be in office today. He should resign. The city deserves better.

Campaign stop trivia: Tuesday at Gotham Burger in Teaneck Gov. Christie had nothing to eat (such as a tasty Gotham burger and fries platter for $12.50) but he did get a baseball cap. He attracted a crowd including the press. Wednesday at Hackensack’s Arena Diner Cory Booker’s event had not been publicized so there was no crowd. He arrived in an RV (not his large busmobile) with a Newark P. D. security detail. He held a roundtable event on the impact of sequester with selected diners and a boatload of press.    

Public Schedules: (Your opportunity to support or heckle)

Buono/Silva gubernatorial campaign: Barbara Buono: 5:45pm, TCU/IAM Local 626 Meeting, Hilton Gateway, Essex Room, 1048 Raymond Blvd., Newark; Milly Silva: 6:15pm, IUOE Local 68 Meeting, Polish National Home, 215 Cleveland Ave., Harrison; Milly Silva: 7:30pm, Dominican Parade Gala, The Venetian, 546 River Dr., S. Garfield.

Governor and Gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie: and Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf, 11:00am, reopening ceremonies for two schools that had been closed since Superstorm Sandy – Hugh J. Boyd Jr. Elementary, Seaside Heights, and at 1:45pm, Robert L. Craig Elementary, Moonachie.

Senate candidate Steve Lonegan: 1:00pm, news conference outside City Hall in Newark to announce a lawsuit over the city’s response to the campaign’s request for Senate candidate Booker’s expense records as mayor. Booker’s spokesman says, the mayor didn’t have a city credit card or file for reimbursements.

Email items for this column the evening before to BillOrr563@gmail.com.

NJDOE Commissioner Chris Cerf Knows How To Pick ‘Em!

Cross-posted from Jersey Jazzman.

Chris Cerf, New Jersey’s Commissioner of Education, promoted Barbara Morgan to NJDOE’s Director of the Office of Public Information back in 2012. Morgan – who apparently never moved to New Jersey, unlike the many public workers forced to move even under the most onerous conditions – only lasted in the job six months: you see, something big came up

MAY 23, 2013

Veteran official departs after 34 years; public info officer moves on after one year to join Weiner’s campaign in NYC

Two of the state Department of Education’s top staffers are leaving this week, one a longtime official who has played a prominent role behind the scenes and another a newer, public voice of the agency.


Barbara Morgan, the public information officer and state Education Commissioner Chris Cerf’s press secretary, also left the department this week after a year on the job. She is going on to be the communications director for former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner’s fledgling campaign for New York City mayor, which was announced yesterday.

Cerf yesterday said both women made important contributions, in their own ways.

“Barbara Gantwerk had an extraordinary career as a public servant in New Jersey, and she left her mark on many, many positive initiatives,” Cerf said in an interview.

“Barbara Morgan’s move speaks for itself,” he said. “She had a very interesting opportunity arise, and we wish her the very best.” [emphasis mine]

Oh, it arose all right…

So, Barbara – how’s the new job going?

[Ladies and gentlemen, as you know, this is a family blog. While the occasional PG-rated, mild vulgarity may grace your screen as you peruse this web-based tome, it is nonetheless my policy to keep the more malodorous profanities at bay. In the interests of good taste, therefore, I present a somewhat edited version of the following report. I would still suggest you read this away from children.]

Tuesday was an angry day in Weinerland.

The campaign staff awoke to see their former intern, Olivia Nuzzi, on the front cover of the Daily News. Inside the paper was an article bylined by Nuzzi in which she told a rather unflattering tale of her experience working on Anthony Weiner’s mayoral bid.

Now, Team Weiner is firing back. TPM called Weiner’s communications director Barbara Morgan to discuss an unrelated story Tuesday and she went off on a curse-filled rant about Nuzzi, describing her as a fame hungry “b****” who “sucked” at her job. Morgan also called Nuzzi a “slutbag,” [Is this one worth bleeping? ‘Cause the next two sure are! – JJ] “t***,” and “c***” while threatening to sue her. [See? – JJ]

Newark Student Walkout in Progress: #NPSwalkout

We have the first set of photos from today’s noon walkout from high schools all over the city of Newark, so that students could converge on the Assembly Budget Committee’s public hearing on education funding in Gov. Christie’s FY14 budget. Along with early photos from the walk, we also have some of the fliyers students made to communicate with each other. The most damning? The photo of Newark School Superintendent Cami Anderson and Chris Christie, reading: They feed on your apathy. Join the NPS walkout.

Created with flickr slideshow.

Live blog of the walkout at Dispatches from the Underclass. H/t DSWright.  

Newark Student Walk Out – Tuesday April 9

Here we go. On Tuesday, Newark students will walk out of their schools at noon – “no longer separate schools, we are one united voice” – and converge from all over the city to the legislative budget hearings on education, at Rutgers Law School, Newark.

I have to say, this makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I’ve been waiting for this. Watch:

Paterson Collegiate Charter School Approved. What Now?

promoted by Rosi

 Yesterday Education Commissioner Cerf approved two new charters for New Jersey. Both will be located in Paterson, where as Jersey Jazzman has reported, some serious reformyness seems to be underway.

One of the applications approved, Paterson Collegiate Charter School, is founded by Boston native Steven Wilson who is also the president and founder of a Charter Management Organization (CMO) called Ascend, based in Brooklyn. Ascend licenses their educational materials from Sabis Educational Systems, which originated in Beirut, Lebanon and conducts US operations out of Eden Prairie, MN.

 Clearly, this school will have deep roots in Paterson.