At this stage, reversing major parts of her plan just isn’t practical. It would sow confusion among tens of thousands of families already enrolled, and leave children who don’t win charter lotteries trapped in crumbling schools that have failed for a decade.
Up to this point, Anderson has made some promising reforms: negotiating an innovative new teachers contract, recruiting top charters to take over grades in failing schools and insisting that charter schools take their fair share of low performers. She has given principals more autonomy and families more choice.
Yet a complete collapse of political supportnow puts her entire project in danger. This is not solely her fault, given the opposition from the teachers union, the school board’s failure to ensure a civil discourse and the need for mass layoffs as children leave the traditional public school system. But Anderson isn’t blameless, either. Her failure to build a local coalition has left her to rely on Gov. Chris Christie’s authority, which isn’t winning her friends in this city.