Bob Braun, former Star Ledger columnist and current blogging ringleader of the anti-school reform cadre in New Jersey, reports today that Newark Superintendent Cami Anderson is signing a new contract. Braun has predicted numerous times that Anderson, his personal nemesis, was history. He attributes this startling (at least to him) offer of contract renewal to the NJ DOE's intention to inflict a "slap in the face" to new Newark mayor Ras Baraka, who, taking Braun's lead, made Anderson the scapegoat of his campaign.
On May 21st Braun quoted Newark Teachers Union President Joseph Del Grosso, ““It is my strong belief that based on the discussions I have had to this point, Cami Anderson will not be continuing as Superintendent of the Newark Public Schools.”
On June 18th, Braun interviewed Baraka, who said “he is still determined to remove state-imposed schools superintendent Cami Anderson—and he believes state Education Commissioner David Hespe will help him do it.”
Or not. Today Braun revealed that NJ Ed Commissioner David Hespe had, in fact, offered Anderson a new one-year contract, renewable for an additional two years. “Several sources” said she will accept the DOE’s offer.
I can’t confirm this offer, but Braun’s probably right. (One out of three would work in major league baseball; not sure about journalism.) It was always likely that Comm. Hespe would offer Anderson a new contract . (Cynics can go ahead and attribute the offer to the scarcity of other candidates who would want the job, especially with Baraka in the catbird seat.) Not to mention that Anderson told NJTV at the end of May that “I have every intention of staying [in Newark as superintendent] and I have every intention of staying the course.”
And who knows? Anderson's a fast learner: maybe she can retune her tin year, learn the value of incrementalism, and slow down a wee bit. That’s a key part to implementing her best ideas, including One Newark, the universal enrollment plan that allows parents to choose among charters and traditional public schools. (Here's my thoughts on what Newark can learn from Camden Pubic Schools' quieter evolution.)
But let's not give Braun all the lumps because he's not the only one with egg on his face. Anderson’s continued tenure in Newark makes both Baraka and del Grosso look a little ovular too. Here’s a letter that NTU President del Grosso sent to his union members last month:
It is my strong belief that based on the discussions I have had to this point, Cami Anderson will not be continuing as Superintendent of the Newark Public Schools… Cami Anderson will be leaving. It is your efforts on Fight Back Fridays, our Mayoral Election efforts, Advisory Board meetings, and other initiatives that have made this possible. I am very proud of all of our members.
Labels: DOE, Newark