Newark schools chief says 30,000 elementary students will wear uniforms

Newark schools chief says 30,000 elementary students will wear uniforms
Promised as a part of a larger reform package, shiny new Newark schools Superintendent Clifford Janey will require 30k students to wear uniforms to class starting in the winter of 2009.

Some schools already require students wear uniforms so the new policy won’t come as a shock. After parents lobbied the Elliott Street School Principal Angel Juarbe to mandate uniforms, he implemented a policy in 2003.

“It unified the students, promoted pride, helped student resist peer pressure and saved parents money,” said Juarbe who is now an executive assistant to the superintendent. “That was the big thing, parents could buy one or two uniforms and it was much less expensive than an entire back to school wardrobe.”

What We Do for Others …

Monday night’s meet-and-greet with Dr. Clifford B. Janey, the newly appointed superintendent of Newark Public Schools was a great way to kick off the week. Those who attended got to hear a part of of Dr. Janey’s vision and his responses during the question-and-answer session were very illuminating. The session was chocked full of information, but it’s hard to go on and on about everything here.
At first blush, it seems that Dr. Janey is an accomplished administrator who was on track to making some substantial changes and improvements to the educational system in D.C., and that their loss is our gain. He increased the percentage of students taking AP courses and CP placement tests, and established what one D.C. educator called ‘parent centers’, to pull the parents in and pretty much get them on his team as he tried to remake the schools there.

Among his other philosophies for quality public education, Janey believes that:

  • Special education entails delivering quality services to students who need that mode of instruction, not just sorting them out and placing them in a separate area of a school.
  • Social promotion is extremely harmful to youngsters, and if we ignore the fact that some children might be poorly prepared to advance to a higher grade level, yet allow them to move up until they graduate high school, then we will have given them phony diplomas.
  • When children receive instruction in standard written and spoken English at school, reinforcing it with sound practices at home is critical. Parents must read to their children and engage them in interesting conversations that are built on well structured, robust and complete sentences. All too often, high school teachers and administrators have the public burden of compensating for what not done with those children eight years before they reached high school.
  • To confront chronic lateness and absenteeism, there should be a wide network including social services, parents, the faith community, etc., who can stay in tuned with students before a crisis ensues.

Dr. Janey wants to be here, very much. He said he has noticed that there is seems to be an undoing of the tendency to poke fun at Newark all of the time, and he would like to be part of that undoing. Newarkers have a fiestiness, a non-flinching attitude that is appealing. And besides — 88.3 is the best jazz station from Miami to Boston!

Gov. Jon Corzine wants him to be here.

“Every single one of our children is born with God’s genius in them,” Corzine said. He believes Dr. Janey’s approach to public education will bring that genius out of them. Gov. Corzine got a lot of kudos from Dr. Clement Price and others for staying closely involved with and keeping a steady hand on the selection process.

Mayor Booker made it clear that we welcomes Dr. Janey to the district. He admonished the audience (and by extension, the community) to basically ‘stop it’ with any negativity, cynicism, apathy or purely political attacks on Dr. Janey as he goes about managing the schools.

I’m loosely quoting here, but Mayor Booker warned: “if anyone says one negative word about my superintendent” then his response will be: “what are you doing” to help?

If you didn’t get a chance to attend Monday night’s program and reception, then you missed a chance to shake Dr. Janey’s hand in the reception hall and chat up the state and region’s political and academic luminaries. But you didn’t miss a chance to have future dialogue with the district’s leaders. Dr. Janey is committed to scheduling regular community forums like this and launching that effort quickly, to hear what we all have to say.

Gov. Jon Corzine introduces Clifford Janey as Newark’s next schools superintendent

Gov. Jon Corzine introduces Clifford Janey as Newark’s next schools superintendent
It’s official, ex-Washington D.C. school superintendent will run the $1 billion Newark public school operation.

“I believe in high performing schools that have universal access to individuals, families and communities” he said. “I believe in teaching and learning environments that are safe and enabling. I believe in results that are based on proven practices, not gimmicks. I believe in working with engaged communities.”

Janey was introduced during an afternoon press conference at the nearly completed new Central High School building. State Education Commissioner Lucille Davy, outgoing Superintendent Marion Bolden, Mayor Cory Booker and other state and local officials attended the event.