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Newark, Paterson and Jersey City want school independence from N.J. Board of Ed
Not too shy to talk
http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2012 ... erson_and_jersey_cit.html
An electronic system that tracks students' credit acquisition as they prepare to graduate high school and extending the school day in a quarter of city schools are a few of the achievements Newark Superintendent Cami Anderson reported to state officials who control her school district this afternoon.
The state Board of Education held a special meeting at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City to hear presentations from superintendents in Newark, Paterson and Jersey City — three urban school districts that have been controlled by the state for as many as two decades.
Anderson spoke of her successes over the past year — her first as superintendent of the state's largest district — and also her challenges. One of the biggest hurdles to the district's success, Anderson said, is the need for state lawmakers to pass tenure reform legislation.
"I've done my part to paint a picture on where we are and why we badly need a better statute. Right now, you get tenure by being around for three years," Anderson said. "In an era of declining enrollment, you have to be able to make hiring and downsizing decisions based on performance."
A bill sponsored by state Sen. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex) that would dramatically overhaul the state's century-old tenure law may be fast-tracked in Trenton this month. Another bill, sponsored by state Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan (D-Middlesex), would extend the time it takes to earn tenure and will be considered in committee Thursday.
Anderson's status report on changes in the district included moves to close some failing, under-enrolled schools and open new ones; replace ineffective principals with more dynamic school leaders; and create an Office of Community and Family Engagement to address Newarkers' concerns.
STAY CONNECTED 24/7 Download our free NJ.com mobile and tablet apps to keep up with the latest New Jersey news, sports and entertainment.Members of the state Board of Education, in comments to Anderson, seemed impressed with her work, but it's unlikely the superintendent's achievements to-date will influence whether the district is controlled by Newarkers or by Trenton. Last year, state officials opted not to relinquish control of the district in spite of Newark's success on a state assessment known as QSAC.
A spokesman for the Department of Education could not be reached for comment on Anderson's report and what influence it might have on the Newark's ability to regain control of its schools. If local control were restored, city voters would get to decide if ultimate decision-making power should fall to the elected school board or to the mayor.
Superintendents of school districts in Paterson and Jersey City also delivered reports to the board. Paterson Board President Christopher Irving offered an impassioned plea to state officials who attended the meeting to return local control in Paterson.
"I was nine years old when the state took control of this district, and I'm 29 years old now," said Irving, who is working toward a PhD. "To tell me there are not nine highly qualified community members in Paterson to serve on this board. It's not right."
Posted on: 2012/6/13 17:23