New Jersey is making national education headlines again, Save Jerseyans.
But this time Governor Chris Christie isn’t the instigator.
Cherry Hill resident Stuart Chaifetz is the catalyst. He’s a seemingly otherwise ordinary single father who posted extracts of a recording on YouTube. A recording obtained by wiring up his 10-year-old autistic son, Akian, mob informant-style.
Why did he take such an extraordinary measure? He had suspicions following behavioral complaints that didn’t seem to fit what he knew about his son. The audio recording, allegedly featuring staff members of Horace Mann Elementary School in Cherry Hill, captured the voices of adults (plural) committing classroom atrocities including calling Mr. Chaifetz’s son a “bastard” and discussing vomiting from a hangover among other age-inappropriate topics.
As Mr. Chaifetz briefly mentions in his video, the always-controversial teacher tenure system may or may not have something to do with what transpired on that incredible recording.Governor Chris Christie loves to point out at town hall meetings the fact that only 17 New Jersey teachers out of 150,000 have been dismissed for incompetence/inefficiency/performance over the past decade. Are you really telling me there’s been just 17 bums in an industry that huge over the past 10 years?
We may never know. It’s not information which administrators love to share. In this case, the school district says they’ve already investigated and removed the offending parties. Few details are known at the moment regarding what that investigation yielded. All we have is little Akian’s tape.
I suspect the problem goes much deeper. Mr. Chaifetz seems to agree.
Overall, I still believe empowering teachers is the best way to restore order in our schools. Such a strategy, however, requires hiring mature, qualified and dedicated teachers to staff our schools! Dead wood also belongs in the woodchipper, and the system shouldn’t impede this necessary check on educational quality.
For now, the Cherry Hill School District should release their full findings to the public if they haven’t already. We’ll take it up from there.