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Clifford Janey ousted in Newark

Former D.C. Superintendent Clifford Janey's contract as Newark schools leader will not be renewed, sources told The Newark Star-Ledger Tuesday night. Janey was ousted by Mayor Adrian M. Fenty in 2007 in favor of Michelle A. Rhee, shortly after Fenty assumed direct control of DCPS,

The timing of Janey's dismissal is potentially significant for District schools. D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray, who holds a commanding lead over Mayor Adrian M. Fenty in the Sept. 14 Democratic primary, according to a new Post poll, has not committed to keeping Rhee. Rhee has all but said that she would not be willing to stay in a Gray administration.

Gray has often spoken favorably of Janey, most recently at a March community forum where Janey was guest speaker.

"What a first-class professional. What a first-class human being," Gray said.

The Newark school system has been under state control since 1995, and Gov. Chris Christie has been blunt in his criticism.

"In the city of Newark, we are spending $24,000 per pupil and public money for an absolutely disgraceful public education system," Christie said during a May visit to Washington, D.C. "One that should embarrass our entire state."

The paper said Janey was informed last night that his three-year contract, which pays $280,000 annually, would not be renewed. The pact has a year to run, but it is not clear whether he will complete the remainder of his term.

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By Bill Turque  |  September 1, 2010; 6:31 AM ET
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Janey also left Rochester under a cloud, before DC hired him-- and he was not the District's first choice. The top two contenders, Rudy Crew and Carl Cohn, would not work under the old system, where the school board, city council, mayor, etc., used the schools as a political football.

DC Insider might be interested to see this bit of 2004 reporting from the Washington Post:

"But he [Janey] left that job in 2002 under a cloud after a $45 million budget deficit threatened to throw the system into turmoil. His supporters on the Rochester school board crafted a generous buyout of his three-year contract in a deal that was attacked by critics on the board and by the city's mayor. Since last year, he has worked for an educational publisher."

Got to hand it to the guy, though. He's good at the generous buy-out part of the job.

Posted by: trace1 | September 1, 2010 7:51 AM | Report abuse

Turque the jerk, this has NOTHING to do with the curriculum that Janey put in place in the District of Columbia that is, today, producing tangible academic results.

I know nothing of the challenges of the Newark School District and I presume neither do you.

All I know is that when he came to the District he assembled a group of Americas finest educators to develop a curriculum of success that is beginning to work.

Someone pass Turque a napkin, he has a bit of Rhee poo on his nose.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | September 1, 2010 8:08 AM | Report abuse

Relax, concernedaboutdc - Turque is simply reporting the little he knows at this point. He has not passed any judgement. I expect we'll see a print article when more of the facts are in.

Turque's only analysis thus far on the issue is spot on: "The timing of Janey's dismissal is potentially significant for District schools."

Posted by: efavorite | September 1, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Christie is a Republic hack who is supportive of Rhee and Fenty's idea of RHEEform.

Posted by: dccounselor72 | September 1, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

It can be very upsetting when one's carefully crafted utopian past is dealt a dose of reality. Give concerned some time to adjust. And, Bill & e, Gray is not going to appoint Janey if he wins. Just like concerned's fantastical notion of what the Janey regime was and could be, the Fenty/Rhee haters seem to have this belief that every single one of their opinions will materialize as policy in a Gray administration. Unfortunately, someone is going to be disappointed or Gray is going to be politically paralyzed.

Posted by: horacemann | September 1, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse



Posted by: dccounselor72 | September 1, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Interesting after recent stories that Newark has the highest graduation rate for black males in the nation. My guess is that Gov. Christie is chafing under school funding parity imposed by the Abbott v. Burke decisions, which resulted in the Abbott plan, and that funding parity may actually be improving education and opportunity for poor black kids in Newark. This would, of course, conflict with Christie’s Republican world view that the poor are poor because they are inferior and dangerous, not because society has chosen to deny them the resources necessary for equal education and opportunity.

Posted by: mcstowy | September 1, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

So the Newark school system has been under the Govenors control since 1995 because of its failure. Janey has been there two years and has one year left on his 3 year contract but its all his fault. The Govenor is a Fenty/Rhee/Bloomburg fan. Newark Mayor came to DC to do fundraising with Fenty.


Janey came to DC a few weeks ago to speak at a function where he was PRAISED by Grey and he is suddenly fired afterwards and blamed for the state of Newark schools. Lol.

GREAT TIMING!!!! Come on back Clifford. Since you have been able to make improvements in DC with no Mayoral takeover, while answering to the school board AND having your budget cut.... Think what you could do under the Mayoral take over with a budget almost double what it was when you left.

Candidate number one Vince. Right there is candidate number one!

Posted by: tformation1 | September 1, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Dr. J is a nice man, but there have been, er, a few concerns during prior stints. Management of teachers is not a strong point. And lots of people, including teachers, still complain about defects, bad ones, in the curriculum. He would not do well the second time around here, as nice a guy as he is; Vince Gray is a nice guy, too. The teachers might like him back, but most parents would not.

Be prepared for a renewed steep plunge in the quality of DC public education if there is a change in DCPS leadership, no matter who comes aboard.

Leave No Teacher Behind.

Posted by: axolotl | September 1, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

I'm a DCPS parent. I'd welcome him back. With cupcakes.

Posted by: Title1SoccerMom | September 1, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, by all means hire Janney back after e gets fired in New Jersey. What are you people thinking?

Posted by: confused1 | September 1, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Be careful what you wish for. I had 3 kids in DCPS when Janey was Superintendent. He was completely unresponsive to parent concerns, even when I emailed him (politely) to raise a concern that the calendar he had agreed to with the teachers' union was illegal because it counted too many half days (10, I think) as full instructional days. The DCMR only allows two to be counted as such. We would have had one of the shortest calendars in the country, at a time when Janey was saying publicly that more school hours were necessary to raise achievement. I never got a response. Nothing at all.

In the end, he was forced to revise the calendar by Joanne Ginsburg and Victor Reinoso, then on the school board.

The schools were really, really bad under Janey. Sadly, it seems that they are still in terrible shape, so I can understand the frustration with Rhee, but I'm not sure why you (or anyone) would want to go backwards.

Posted by: trace1 | September 1, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Bringing back Dr. J may possibly beappealing for those who may tend to feel comfortable as victims of circumstance. He was asked to go here, then there (non-renewal), and earlier, another place. A strong thinker, but perhaps unable to manage effectively enough the organization, especially dealing with the teachers union. If they want him back, watch out.
Leave No Teacher Behind.

Posted by: axolotl | September 1, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

trace1, I'm not new to DCPS. Rhee is the 4th "leader" since we signed on board.

Rhee is remarkably unresponsive as well when it comes to answer serious questions. Don't get me wrong, she emails right back. Then she hands it off to one of her flunkies who doesn't bother to answer the hard questions. It's the same as it's always been at 825, but with blackberries.

Admittedly, facilities are much improved in the last few years. But I know that has nothing to do with Rhee and everything to do with Allen Lew.

Please understand, Rhee has made things much, much worse outside of Ward 3 and select Capitol Hill schools.

Maybe Lew ought to be the new head of the DC schools?

Posted by: Title1SoccerMom | September 1, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure things are better in Ward 3, actually. The teaching to the test is insane at this point. I understand my local elementary school will not have 5th grade social studies this year; instead it will be taught (sort of) through the English class. What happened to curriculum and standards?

This is a real shame, because when my kids switched to private school for 7th grade, they felt the other kids knew a lot more history than they did. Now the gap will be even worse.

Posted by: trace1 | September 1, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Let's weigh the options to have Dr. Janey or Dr. Crews. To have Dr. Janey or Dr. Carstarphen. Then to have Dr. Janey or the future Ms. Rhee-Johnson. To have a mayoral candidate speak in favor of Dr. Janey but to have his [Janey] current employer speak-ill of him. Does one look at a contract not being renewed as being a death-sentence...hence DCPS principals under Rhee have had their contracts not renewed?

Wouldn't one think that if a Governor speaks ill of a Superintendent that a mayoral candidate is considering as a replacement, does that imply a death-sentence in the polls. I guess, Ramsey should also be considered replacing Lanier. Lets see Gray has been on record that Barry is a confidante and the old-guard are bathing in "icy" hot to climb those stairs at the District Building.

I can see it, the old-geezers are putting down their bowl of black-berries for a quick lesson in regards to understanding the functions of a blackberry. Function versus fiber...hilarious.

I have to say if those think Rhee has made it worse, then at what stage was Janey's part when Rhee took over. I know for a fact if Janey comes back...then those on Capitol Hill will probably start calling their real-estate agents. Mainly because Janey talks white but actually understands the plight of the african-americans crisis in education. Which was so profound with Rhee...she talks white...but whites forgot that she too is a minority and when whites were talk ill of would make her seeth with anger. If, you don't think so...her actions speak louder than her words.

Again, Capitol Hill is a neighborhood it is not the Ward and those residents have made it quite clear and it didn't require a meeting in the livingroom.

Posted by: PowerandPride | September 1, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Hey, if the folks on the Hill think that only Rhee/Fenty can save DCPS then should all be GONE BY JANUARY 2011.


Which was so profound with Rhee...she talks white...but whites forgot that she too is a minority and when whites were talk ill of would make her seeth with anger. If, you don't think so...her actions speak louder than her words.

How and when did you get this insight of Ms. Rhee?

Posted by: guylady201001 | September 1, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Obviously Newark is in bed with Bloomberg, Johnston, Rhee and making a statement that taking up with Gray, even if for a minute, costs you in the "big picture" that WaPo, Kaplan group, etc... hold dear. Now that Fenty is so rapidly being revealed as the dummy he is, clear in the debate today (kind of like Bush with Cheney, he with Nickles) the Bloomberg cronies will pull out all stops. As for Janey's performance in DCPS, he had llittle room to maneuver under the previous known constraints but the results today prove he was on to something. Returning to DCPS? What a stupid rumor. Plenty of his backers have insisted he give Rhee a hearing out if he's elected, all we want is for there to be actual DC Council oversight. If he can get her to cooperate we all win. If she refuses to budge from Lone Ranger Mode, dangerous for any public official she SHOULD go.

Posted by: modern1 | September 1, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Newark is under Booker's control

Posted by: CultureClub | September 1, 2010 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Again, Janey is not a warm and fuzzy type of guy that smiles in your face and pretends to befriends you like he's a socialite.

I also think the rumbles on blogs that Rhee's claimed success is largely in part due to Janey had something to do with it. Sounds like a conspiracy theory, but these folks have a national agenda to implement and sale their form of reform. they are hellbent in making DC work. do not be surprised to read Fenty has gained ground on Gray in the next week, and speculation he can pull out a victory. the Post is his mouthpiece and the are in on this. Watch Ward 8 for the Moten miracle.

Posted by: oknow1 | September 2, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

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