Yesterday Acting Commissioner of Education Rochelle Hendricks testified before a legislative committee and confirmed that the Quality Single Accountability Continuum (QSAC) would forbid a takeover of Newark’s public schools by either Mayor Cory Booker or Governor Christie. Senator Ronald Rice, according to the Star-Ledger, went as far as to call the much bally-hooed mayoral involvement during the course of the Facebook grant "direct sabotage of the QSAC legislation."
Okay. It’s against state regulations for Mayor Booker to assume responsibilities normally held by the district’s yet-to-be-named superintendent and the DOE so that Newark can effectively use $100 million to implement education reform strategies like tenure reform, tying student growth to teacher evaluations, and turning around failing schools.
In other capital news, former Commissioner of Education Bret Schundler will appear before a Senate committee regarding our failed Race To The Top application. A representative from Wireless Generation, the consultant that we paid $500,000 to oversee the application process, is also supposed to appear, but the company is now saying that it will not share documents relevant to the proofreading process because Gov. Christie is asserting executive privilege.
The loss of $400 million of federal money that our legislators are so aggrieved about would have gone to implementing education reform strategies like tenure reform, tying student growth to teacher evaluations, and turning around failing schools.
While the irony is fun, its entertainment value sinks once you look at the potential for impediments to moving forward. Surely there’s a way for Newark to not “sabotage” QSAC and still productively use the Facebook grant. How about creating a committee that includes Acting Commissioner Hendricks, Mayor Booker, the Newark superintendent, community members, and whomever else would be useful? Get creative, guys.