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Assembly Speaker Calls on Christie to Withdraw Proposal to Allow Non-Educators to Run New Jersey’s Underperforming School Districts

Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver (D-Essex/Passaic) today called on Governor Christie to abandon his proposal that would allow some of New Jersey’s most beleaguered school districts to hire superintendents without a background in education.

The Speaker pointed to last week’s high profile resignation of Cathie Black as New York City’s School Chancellor as evidence that the public education system is a challenging environment that requires someone with an inherent knowledge of the system.

“New York City should be a lesson to us all that we run the risk of putting our children’s education in serious peril without someone with bonafide credentials at the helm. No matter how smart or successful a person may be in another industry, the education field can pose a serious learning curve.

“Ms. Black is, without question, a smart woman with a great track record in the publishing field. However, she, herself, admitted that the education system posed too serious of a learning curve to enable her to hit the ground running.

“Given the significant challenges we face right now, our most underperforming school districts do not have the luxury of time to wait for someone to adjust to these learning curves.

“There are tremendously qualified leaders with extensive education backgrounds who are willing and eager to step up to the plate. With that in mind, I call on the Governor and the Department of Education to withdraw the proposed rules that would allow non-educators to be hired as superintendents in our underperforming school districts,” said Oliver.