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Hot Rumor! Will Chris Cerf Replace Cami Anderson in Newark?

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Author: dianeravitch

Bob Braun reported it first, and Jersey Jazzman tells the rest of the story: The hot rumor in New Jersey is that Cami Anderson will resign as the state-appointed Superintendent of the Newark Public Schools and be replaced by Chris Cerf, who most recently worked for Joel Klein at Rupert Murdoch’s Amplify and before that was State Superintendent for New Jersey (who appointed Cami Anderson). It is a tight little circle.


Why would Cerf leave Murdoch’s Amplify? Murdoch’s $1 billion investment earned only $15 million in the first quarter. Amplify is cutting costs and laying off employees, and apparently Cerf lost his chair in the game of musical chairs.


Bob Braun writes:


Rumors of her impending resignation have been echoing throughout the school system for the last few weeks–sparked primarily by her apparent decision to empty her office. Employees at 2 Cedar Street have said her office has been empty for days. Cerf’s departure from Amplify Insight fed the rumors.


Still, there has been no confirmation from Trenton and the last word from Gov. Chris Christie on the subject of Newark is that he is not “changing my opinion.”


In the last few days, Anderson also has caved in on significant decisions–to make both East Side High School and Weequahic High School, both iconic institutions in the city, so-called “turnaround” schools.


The sources who reported Anderson’s resignation and Cerf’s appointment say they expect a formal announcement Monday or Tuesday. The Newark school board is expected to meet Tuesday night at a regular monthly meeting. Anderson has not attended a public session of the board since January, 2014.


No one can say for sure if this will happen, if Cami will resign, if Cerf will be appointed, or if it will make any difference in the state’s determination to charterize the entire district.


Newark matters for the nation because it has been under state control for 20 years. Privatizers latched on it as a source of fun and profit. Mark Zuckerberg’s $100 million gift disappeared into the pockets of consultants and entrepreneurs. Cory Booker ascended to the Senate.


Newark is a symbol of the corporate reformers’ belief that school districts in urban areas are different: They cannot govern themselves; they must be controlled by the mayor, the governor, an emergency manager, or handed over to entrepreneurs.


At the annual conference of the Network for Public Education, Jitu Brown of Journey for Justice called this neocolonialism. In her book Charter Schools, Race and Urban Space: Where the Market Meets Grassroots Resistance, Kristen Buras describes the process of privatization thus: First the state (controlled by the white majority) underfunds the majority-black district; political leaders condemn the district as failed and corrupt; then the state determines that it must take charge of the district (in this case, New Orleans); the state changes the rules for declaring “crisis” and “failure,” and turns large numbers of public schools into charter schools, run by white entrepreneurs; the white leadership hires black spokesmen to celebrate the success of privatization; as control shifts from the black majority in the district to white entrepreneurs and privatizers in the state capitol, hundreds of millions of dollars flow freely to the new charter schools to prove that privatization works. With control of the state department of education, the corporate reformers own the data, and no one has independent data to challenge their claims. And that is what Jitu Brown calls “neocolonialism.”

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