By Peter Franzen, Director of Development
In an interview with NJ.com, an online news organization, Newark, NJ Superintendent Cami Anderson shared her views about charter and magnet schools as well as teacher tenure. Under Governor Chris Christie, education reform has moved front and center in New Jersey politics where he has pushed a strong reform agenda.
Superintendent Anderson’s challenge with Newark area charter schools and magnet schools is that they are not serving a representative sample of students. Whether through admissions testing in the beginning or expulsion later, the result is the same, “creaming.” With academically advanced students clustered together, other schools and students suffer according to Anderson who states in the interview that all students do better in a diverse environment.
As it relates to charter schools, Anderson is opening up communication and helping the schools understand how they can effectively serve all students. With her district’s magnet schools, she is taking a different approach, which is to get their help with opening three “feeder” middle schools, where admission is not based on testing, to help more students prepare for a rigorous high school experience.
Anderson takes issue with teacher tenure policies that dictate many hiring, firing and employee management procedures that she says negatively impact Newark schools and student achievement. In particular she talks about the “last in, first out” policy used at most traditional public school districts in the country that hamper a district’s ability to retain the best and the brightest teachers.
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