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Newark's Absenteeism Crisis
September 26, 2018
Another year, another Newark attendance campaign. Can León succeed where others have failed?
Like his predecessors, Superintendent Roger León wants to end Newark's absenteeism crisis. It won't be easy.
behind the scenes
August 22, 2018
How Newark’s former schools chief used a ‘victory lap’ and privately paid consultants to cement his legacy
Former Newark Superintendent Chris Cerf's administration used private money to tout their policies and manage the district's transition back to local control.
June 23, 2018
Top Newark school officials ousted in leadership shake-up as new superintendent prepares to take over
About 30 Newark Public Schools officials and administrators were given the option Friday to resign or face termination.
behind the scenes
Updated June 8, 2018
‘It may not bode well.’ State lawmaker intervened in Newark’s superintendent search, its first under local control
State Sen. Teresa Ruiz pressured officials to replace a member of the superintendent search committee and to allow an extra candidate, sources said.
June 6, 2018
Three lessons Newark’s new schools chief can learn from New York City’s retired chancellor
Roger León will soon take over a district still reeling from past changes. Former NYC schools chief Carmen Fariña knows what that's like.
'It's a new day'
May 25, 2018
In Newark, will homegrown change replace outsider-led reform?
After controversial reforms enacted by outsiders, Newark has chosen a homegrown leader. Can he create a new model of change?
May 23, 2018
Former principal Roger Leon chosen as Newark’s new superintendent
Leon, a Newark native and veteran of the school system, was picked by the school board in a unanimous vote Tuesday night.
May 2, 2018
For the first time in a generation, Newark will pick its own schools chief. Meet the interim leader hoping to get the job.
After working in Newark schools for two decades, Robert Gregory thinks he's ready to lead the district. But he's not the only one vying for the top job.
February 1, 2018
‘All eyes are on Newark’: As the city regains control of its schools, a look at what’s to come
A 22-year state takeover of Newark's public schools is over. Now, local decisions about leadership, spending, and more, begin.
February 11, 2014
Chris Cerf and Joel Klein, together again at Amplify
New Jersey education commissioner Christopher Cerf is stepping down and reuniting with Joel Klein, his old boss at the New York City Department of Education.
August 21, 2013
Rouhanifard, former NYC official, to head Camden, N.J., schools
Department of Education officials Marc Sternberg and Paymon Rouhanifard spoke to the City Council in 2012. Rouhanifard, who has worked in Newark since last year, was named superintendent of Camden, N.J., schools today. A former top New York City schools official is New Jersey’s pick to run the Camden school district, which the state took over this year because of poor performance and mismanagement. Paymon Rouhanifard, who has been a top deputy in Newark since last November, will take over the struggling district as its first state superintendent. N.J. Gov. Chris Christie announced Rouhanifard’s appointment this morning during a press conference at H.B. Wilson Elementary School in Camden. The choice signals the direction that Christie and N.J. schools chief Christopher Cerf are planning for the 14,000-student, 30-school district near Philadelphia that Christie has called "a human catastrophe." Since announcing in March that they planned to make Camden the fourth urban district under their authority, officials have overhauled staff, curriculum, and other resources in the district and flooded it with people with experience in education and management. “Paymon has a proven track record of improving the lives of hundreds of thousands of students in Newark and New York City, and brings innovative leadership that Camden needs moving forward," Christie said in a statement. "Under his leadership, I know Camden’s schools will improve on the progress of these last few months.”
December 13, 2011
To one panel, unions are both moribund and living obstacles
Chris Cerf, Evan Stone and Seth Andrew at a Manhattan Institute panel this morning. Even though he received 6,000 applications to fill 60 teacher positions last years, charter school operator Seth Andrew said he still has trouble hiring the right people for the job. Andrew, who runs four Democracy Prep Charter Schools in Harlem said even the promise of a $65,000 starting salary – 50 percent above that of a city teacher's – did not attract the kind of teaching talent he wants for his schools. The reason, he said this morning, was that state laws — he called them "barriers" — require most prospective teachers to earn an education degree before they can to teach in a classroom. He said those degrees did not assure that a teacher would be effective, echoing an argument frequently made by advocates of non-traditional teacher training programs. "It doesn't matter how you enter the classroom," Andrew said. Andrew was one of four panelists at a breakfast sponsored by the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank, that was held to celebrate the release of "Teachers Matter," a new book authored by senior fellow Marcus Winters. Ex-Schools Chancellor Joel Klein delivered a keynote address lauding the role school choice plays in school reform.
March 10, 2010
Chris Cerf returns to the education private sector — but in Brazil
Since helping Mayor Michael Bloomberg win his third term last fall, former deputy schools chancellor Chris Cerf has almost completely disappeared from the New York City education landscape. Perhaps he wanted warmer weather — Cerf is now the head of the new American arm of a Brazilian science curriculum company. The company, Sangari Brasil, currently sells an elementary and middle school science program to school districts in Brazil and Argentina. It's part of a larger international group that promotes science education, and recently donated $1 million to help the National Science Teacher Association build a science education center in Northern Virginia. The position is in some ways a return to Cerf's roots. Before his stint masterminding the politics of the mayor's sweeping and frequently controversial education reforms, Cerf headed Edison Schools, Inc. (now called EdisonLearning), one of the United State's largest for-profit school management companies.
October 26, 2009
Thompson and Cerf debate the next four years for city schools
With little more than a week before the mayoral election, candidate Bill Thompson and Christopher Cerf, an adviser to Mayor Bloomberg's reelection campaign, touted their future plans for the city's schools on WNYC today. Given half an hour each on the Brian Lehrer Show, Thompson and Cerf took questions on school safety, the accountability structure, and what major changes they (or their candidate — Cerf hasn't said whether he'll return to the Department of Education after the election) would put in place over the next four years. Throughout the interview, Thompson emphasized his interest in lowering class sizes and shifting school administrators' focus away from standardized tests. Cerf spoke at length about the importance of using technology to cater to students' different learning styles. Neither offered clues to how the city would pay for these changes. Asked by host Brian Lehrer to name the greatest innovation he'd bring to the city's schools, Thompson had one word: curriculum.
October 16, 2009
Cerf attacks Thompson for opposing mayor's promotion policies
Mayor Bloomberg's senior education adviser Chris Cerf (left) and former Congressman Herman Badillo touted the mayor's promotion and retention policies on the steps of City Hall this afternoon. Chris Cerf, the former Department of Education deputy chancellor turned senior education adviser to Mayor Michael Bloomberg's re-election campaign, said today that the RAND report released this week on the mayor's promotion policies "completely vindicates" those policies. Flanked by former Congressman Herman Badillo, Cerf said that the mayor's rival, Comptroller Bill Thompson, showed a lack of leadership for failing to support stricter retention policies during his tenure as president of the city's Board of Education. Badillo, who has also served as the chairman of the City College of New York and who endorsed Bloomberg in July, said that he urged the Board of Education to end social promotion throughout Thompson's term to no avail. "I have been against social promotion for decades," he said."In Puerto Rico, where I come from, if you do your work, you pass, and if you don't, you don't pass." Thompson's campaign has pointed out that he voted for a measure in 1999 that required low-performing third through eighth grade students to repeat a grade of attend summer school. Cerf called that opposition to social promotion "halfhearted," and countered that Thompson opposed Bloomberg's efforts to introduce new promotion and retention standards in 2004.
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