Friday, September 3, 2010

It's Official: Change Is Coming To Newark

Governor Christie officially let Newark Superintendant of Schools Clifford Janey know that Janey's 3 year contract will not be renewed when it expires next year. In a surprising show of generosity, the Governor is not claiming that this is a termination for cause. Yet.

The Newark school system is directly under the control of the Governor, giving the Governor a unique chance to implement reform. His intention is to make Newark a test case for his education policies and priorities, as part of his on-going effort to build his national profile. And the writing is on the wall, as the Newark Teachers Union, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers (and not the NJEA), has already gone on record as being open to merit pay and to changes in tenure and seniority.

The next step will be to name Janey's replacement. And here the politics will get interesting. Christie will want the support of Newark mayor Cory Booker behind the next superintendant. But there may be some bad blood there, as Booker supported Christie's call for a property tax constitutional amendment just before Christie abandoned that plan. There is a difference between being a steamroller and being a dealmaker, and it may be that the Governor is about to get schooled

If nothing else, it should be educational to watch two local politicians with national reputations come together for the sake of the kids.

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