Newark Superintendent Says School System Has Ambitious Goals

New Jersey Commissioner of Education Chris Cerf is resigning, and Newark Public Schools Superintendent Cami Anderson told NJTV News Managing Editor Mike Schneider that Cerf’s resignation is a loss to the state.

“Chris has been a great partner and he’s been a great public servant, so clearly it’s a loss but we are extremely dedicated to staying the course of Newark and the commissioner, which isn’t surprising to me, expressed real support for our agenda and real commitment to doing a clean hand-off so we can keep on our really ambitious goals,” said Anderson.

As Cerf resigns, Anderson said that she is 100 percent dedicated to Newark and that she is ready to stay the course. She also wants to get things done in Newark.

Anderson said that she has every indication from the commissioner and the governor’s office that they are committed to Newark.

“We have a clear plan,” said Anderson. “We have ambitious goals and we have a very clear road map and we’ve got to execute well and do right by our kids and I have every indication to believe that they all support that continued progress.”

Anderson recently wrote a column in the Huffington Post where she wrote about Newark and how a lot of forces have created decades of failure for students. In the column, Anderson talked about the impact of the labor movement and how it has not been able to catch up with the times.

In Newark, there have been groups that have said that state control of the city’s school system needs to end. Anderson said that she has not weighed in on the control debate because it’s not about control but that it’s about educational outcomes for children and that she is willing to work with the school advisory board, the new mayor and whoever is in the commissioner’s office.

Anderson also discussed her One Newark plan within the column and said that some adjustments were made and that she was able to work with partners to bring charter networks into neighborhoods that have the fewest number of options.

As for the goal in Newark, Anderson said that it’s about getting 100 great schools as currently only 20 schools are considered great.

“Well it’s encouraging considering we had half that many three years ago, so this is a matter of will,” said Anderson. “This is a matter of whether or not we as adults can organize ourselves better and in a more organized fashion to deliver on that promise.”