The Douglas Palmer administration kicked off efforts to remediate the sorry state of Trenton’s schools yesterday, with the mayor’s hand-picked school board moving to create three new high-level administration positions following an address by Mayor Palmer.
Mayor Palmer said the city school district was facing the most difficult situation it has seen since his first term as mayor started in 1990, according to statements in the Times of Trenton yesterday.
The urban district had received a scathing report from the Department of Education earlier in the summer that saw many Trenton students woefully deficient in math and language skills, and many teachers lacking enough certification to teach their subjects, or any certification at all.
The school board was also the audience for Education Commissioner Lucille Davy, who said the way the district was performing currently was “unacceptable”, according to the Times.
One of Superintendent Lofton’s first moves to address the problems was to ask the board to abolish the deputy superintendent position, in addition to creating three new high-level positions that he said will help the district perform at a higher level, according to the Times.
One could call the performance of the Trenton schools one of Mayor Palmer’s major deficiencies during his 17 years as mayor of New Jersey’s capital city.
He has brought in several superintendents that he said would reverse the negative trend in the district, only to have them underperform, or in Superintendent Lytle’s case, severely damage the fragile urban district.
While Mayor Palmer has made some progress in building new housing for Trenton’s urban poor and bringing some businesses back to downtown, the school district situation seems to have constantly dogged the astute politician since he first ascended to the mayor’s office.
With a school board that is appointed by the mayor managing the district, it can be said that Mayor Palmer is to a certain extent responsible for some of the performance of Trenton’s schools, although simply picking school board members does not address the social situation in the economically-depressed city that affects the lives of students so profoundly.