Gov. Chris Christie is pressing for regulations that would allow some New Jersey school districts to hire superintendents without traditional academic backgrounds or experience, in an effort to change confining state rules like those that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg had to surmount to win approval for Cathleen P. Black, his choice for New York City schools chancellor.
Mr. Christie is proposing that requirements for superintendents be eased in low-performing districts, where at least half the children are failing state tests, saying he wants to open the door to more candidates with strong management and leadership skills.
“It’s important that New Jersey public schools recruit and hire the most experienced, talented managers possible,” Mr. Christie, a Republican, said in a statement. “In large, state-run districts, or in schools that have failed our children for generations, we especially need leaders who know how to manage thousands of employees in districts that spend hundreds of millions in tax dollars.”
His proposals would lower the minimum academic standard for a superintendent from a master’s to a bachelor’s degree, and waive additional requirements, including a 150-hour graduate internship in educational leadership and passing a superintendent’s assessment.
Instead, the state education commissioner would be charged with determining whether a candidate had sufficient work experience to lead a district.
Ms. Black, who ultimately was given a state waiver to serve as chancellor, was a magazine publisher.
Mr. Christie’s proposals are to be presented on Wednesday to the State Board of Education, and, if approved, could take effect as early as June. Newark, the state’s largest school system, is searching for a superintendent.
Michael Drewniak, a spokesman for Mr. Christie, said the proposals were part of the governor’s overall education agenda and were not specifically prompted by New York’s hiring of Ms. Black, or the current search in Newark.
Richard G. Bozza, executive director of the New Jersey Association of School Administrators, said changes in the rules could lead to the hiring of unprepared administrators and result in greater turnover and less continuity in student progress.
“The irony,” Dr. Bozza said, “is that these are districts where a significant percentage of students do not meet the state standards, and research tells us that it’s important to have a principal or a superintendent who is an instructional leader.”
Yes, but that was research done by educators.
And educators are NOT to be trusted.
Research by businessmen and computer monopolists tells us that non-educators with no knowledge of education and little concern about issues affecting students, teachers, and schools are the best people to run school systems with struggling students.