School’s Out: Janey’s staff retreat played like a swan song.
School’s Out: Janey’s staff retreat played like a swan song. Credit: Photograph by Darrow Montgomery

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New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine is expected to announce today that Clifford Janey is his pick for the Newark School District “after months of meetings and at least a dozen interviews with prospective candidates,” according to the Star-Ledger. The district has been under state control since ’95 and Janey will have to be approved by the New Jersey Board of Education.

The scuttle in Jersey about Janey’s time at DCPS is he received “mixed reviews” here. We’d like to say something snarky about that, but it’s about right, according to fomer LL James Jones, a close watcher of Janey’s over the years. This, from his “Requiem to a Superintendent” item:

Janey seems like a pretty nice guy. What he lacks in inspired rhetoric, he makes up for with clear-spoken luminosity. At least that’s what the city’s political class pointed out when he was hired about two years ago. Back then, you would have thought D.C. was about to get a taste of school-reform royalty, even if he wasn’t the first choice for the job.

Shortly after Janey’s hiring, the previous mayor, activists, and the D.C. Council delivered a united message: Give this guy a chance. Don’t run him out of town like other school reformers who tried to fix the city’s schools.

Just this past December, when Janey delivered the first-ever State of the D.C. Schools speech, he was greeted by a standing ovation. Even then Mayor-elect Adrian Fenty—who was already crafting a bill to take over the schools—rose to his feet.

But judging from the key defections from his inner circle and his abandonment by the city’s political leadership, Janey suddenly looks like yesterday’s hero.

Janey’s coffin nail, according to LL, was a lack of patience. Funny, that, when the oft-heard gripe about Michelle Rhee is she moves too fast. Will you people never be happy?

(photograph by Darrow Montgomery)