Thursday, September 20, 2012

Education Commissioner Chris Cerf to visit Jersey City for hearing on public education

sandra-cunningham-may-2012.JPGSate Sen. Sandra B. Cunningham said Jersey City's new schools superintendent will not be a topic of discussion at a public hearing next week that will feature state Education Commissioner Chris Cerf.
The state’s top education official will appear in Jersey City on Monday for a public hearing about education, butthe city’s new schools superintendent will likely not be a topic of conversation.
State Sen. Sandra B. Cunningham, who is organizing the hearing, said state Education Commissioner Chris Cerf intends to discuss “public education,” and not new Jersey CitySchools Superintendent Marcia V. Lyles.
“I asked him to come … to talk about his vision for educating our kids,” Cunningham said today. “I just think that our parents and residents should know what his direction is in terms of education … that’s it.”
Lyles, who became the city’s first black female superintendent earlier this month, survived a nearly year-long search process during which critics complained that the state exerted influence over the choice. Both Lyles and Cerf are graduates of the controversial Broad Superintendents Academy.
But Cunningham said she isn’t interested in turning the hearing into a venting session for Lyles’ critics.
“That’s not the direction,” she said. “Marcia Lyles is here. So let’s move on.”
Earlier this month, one of Cunningham’s colleagues, state Sen. Ron Rice of Newark, urged federal officials to investigate the state’s continued control of the Jersey City, Newark and Paterson school districts.
Cunningham said that issue will also likely not come up during next week’s hearing. Rice and Cunningham are planning an October meeting to discuss state control of the three districts.
Next week’s hearing will run from 5 to 8 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 24 at New Jersey City University.

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