Tag Archive: David Hespe

Photo of the Day: Camden parents confront Norcross, Sweeney and Hespe

Camden parents confront George Norcross, Don Norcross Steve Sweeney

3 very different expressions on Steve Sweeney, Tom Kean (corrected), George Norcross

as Camden parents confront them

PHOTO: April Saul, Camden, NJ: A Spirit Invincible (on Facebook)

Inside, a $35 ticket conference hosted by the New Jersey “School Choice” Education Reform Alliance (quote marks, mine). Inside, the man who’s made Camden his philanthropic playground, opened opportunities there for business friends to score, and put his name on a few some buildings – George Norcross, who also runs quite a few NJ Democrats. By him, a key beneficiary, Senate President Steve Sweeney, the Norcross operation’s presumptive pick for governor. Also there, NJ Education Commissioner David Hespe, appointed by Gov. Christie to grease the way for privatization targeting NJ’s minority-majority cities.

Outside, about 50 fed up Camden parents, who say they represent many more who aren’t available in the middle of a work day to crash a big wheelers’ get-together.

These are Camden parents who are are tired of people who don’t live in Camden calling the shots about how their kids are schooled and excluding their input. They object to the way their children are turned into commodities for the privatizers of education. Camden’s only under state control two years and they already see the need to shake it off. And they want Christie-appointed Superintendent Paymon Rouhanifard gone.

Confirmed: Education Policy Is Entirely Political for @GovChristie

Cross-posted from Jersey Jazzman.

Chris Christie, 2013 [all emphases mine]:

“We are doing Common Core in New Jersey and we’re going to continue. And this is one of those areas where I have agreed more with the President than not. And with Secretary Duncan,” Christie said at 2013 conference for KIPP Public Charter Schools. And he hasn’t been shy about criticizing others in his party for opposing the standard. “I think part of the Republican opposition you see in some corners in Congress is a reaction, that knee-jerk reaction that is happening in Washington right now, that if the president likes something the Republicans in Congress don’t. If the Republicans in Congress like something, the president doesn’t.”

Chris Christie, May 28, 2015:

The governor, speaking at Burlington County College in Pemberton, declared Common Core is “simply not working.” Christie wants to assemble a team to develop a state-based group to develop “new standards right here in New Jersey, not 200 miles away on the banks of the Potomac River.”

The speech is Christie’s first policy speech delivered in New Jersey and his fourth such speech since taking concrete steps toward a presidential campaign. The first three speeches – which included topics such as national security and economic growth – were given in the early presidential voting state of New Hampshire.

“It’s now been five years since Common Core was adopted and the truth is that it’s simply not working,” Christie said.

“It has brought only confusion and frustration to our parents and has brought distance between our teachers and the communities where they work,”
he said. “Instead of solving problems in our classrooms, it is creating new ones.”

Cerf’s Up in Newark, and That Means More of the Same For Its Schools

Cross-posted from Jersey Jazzman.

Remember haters: Bob Braun broke the story first:

Gov. Chris Christie and state Education Commissioner David Hespe have announced the resignation of Cami Anderson as state-appointed superintendent of the Newark schools. She will be replaced by Christopher Cerf, the former state education commissioner.

Here’s the official announcement:

Trenton, NJ – Commissioner of Education David Hespe today announced that Cami Anderson will be stepping down as State Superintendent of the Newark Public School District.

“Superintendent Anderson has worked tirelessly over the last four years to implement a bold educational vision for the students and parents of Newark,” said Commissioner Hespe.  “Under Cami’s leadership, the Newark school district signed a landmark teacher’s contract, implemented One Newark, and increased flexibility and support in virtually every school in Newark.  We know that these positive educational reforms will continue to benefit the students and parents of Newark for years to come.”

Superintendent Anderson will depart the district by July 8, 2015.  By July 8, 2015, Commissioner Hespe will recommend to the State Board of Education the appointment of Chris Cerf to the position of State Superintendent for the Newark Public Schools.  Mr. Cerf will be recommended for a three-year contract consistent with initial contracts in other state-operated districts including most recently Camden. [emphasis mine]

Yes, that’s right: Chris Cerf, the former Acting Commissioner of Education for the entire state, won’t just be an interim superintendent for the state-run district; he’s going to be the permanent replacement.  

NJDOE, Hespe Turn Blind Eye to Segregating Charter Schools

Cross-posted with Jersey Jazzman. Click on any of the charts to enlarge them.

I’ve said before that Hoboken, NJ is one of the most interesting case studies of charter school expansion in the country. Charter school parents have amassed significant amounts of social, political, and financial capital for their children’s schools, making them equivalent, in my view, to New Jersey’s high-performing yet segregated suburban schools.

Keep this in mind as we look at the latest charter school news from Hoboken:

HOBOKEN — The Hoboken Board of Education’s legal fight to block the expansion of a local charter school hit a new snag last week. After resolving to reconsider its approval of Hoboken Dual Language Charter School’s expansion to seventh and eighth grade in November, the state Department of Education issued a letter on March 20 upholding the school’s expansion.



The core of the school board’s legal argument was that HoLa’s admission policy has a segregative effect by drawing white students out of the district at large. The DOE said it took up the case in order to “more closely inspect the demographic statistics surrounding the relevant community in this matter and how HoLa’s admissions policy may involve that community.”

Cami Anderson gets another year – and $255k – to be incompetent in Newark

Less than 150 hours after leaders of the Newark Student Union ended a 4-day sit-in, representing a city revulsed at Superintendent Anderson’s school management, the State of New Jersey’s contempt for Newark kids and the peole who care about them is complete:

Cami Anderson’s contract was renewed today, with a raise to $255,016.

The students pushed past of efforts to starve them out, intimidate their folks. They simply, repeatedly asked for a meeting with their chief .

Anderson avoided her workplace for days, hiding out (and photographed) at Tiff’s, a pub in Union (6.76 miles away – I mapquested), with a drink of some kind next to her and a laptop open in front of her, perhaps watching students broadcasting from her office.

You can imagine the phone call as the civil disobedience made national news – from David Hespe, or perhaps Christie:

Relax. Let this thing play out; the kids will get tired. We don’t give a crap that students don’t like you – or their parents, or community, or clergy, or the Mayor, the School Board, Senator Rice or anybody. You’re our golden girl. Have another drink.

When Cami finally agreed to come in, the kids told her it was important that she be at Tuesday’s Board meeting. She stopped months ago to avoid hearing criticism, and she doesn’t think she owes parents any accountability. Cami blew off Tuesday’s meeting.

Something’s wrong when a bunch of school kids – fledgelings in blue jeans and tee shirts – have more integrity and dauntlessness than a 43-year-old, suit-clad professional pulling down more than a quarter-mil, and with Zuckerberg’s money and Christie’s horsepower behind her.  

.@pasi_sahlberg & David Hespe: A Tale of Two Education Leaders

Cross-posted with Marie CorfieldPromoted by Rosi.

il_fullxfull.263661385Lest anyone think I was a fat-cat, lazy teacher, raking in the chips at a high-rollers roulette table at the Borgata, last week I attended the NJEA Convention-the largest professional development convention for educators in the United States.

There are no coincidences

I don’t believe in coincidence. Too many things have happened in my life for that word to be relevant. Case in point: here’s what happened last week:

  • I read an article in the Star Ledger about why Dutch children are happier than ours

  • I listened to Pasi Sahlberg’s keynote address at the NJEA Convention in Atlantic City-a town whose economic fortunes seem to change like the tides that wash its shores every day, and right now, the tide is out

  • I attended the meeting with Acting NJ Education Commissioner, David Hespe, also at the Convention

  • I read this post on Wallet Hub ranking the best and worst school systems in the country.

    Please excuse me while I puff up my chest with pride… Lookie who’s #1:

  • 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.