All eyes are on the saber-rattling between Gov. Christie and NJEA’s leadership. Scheduled to speak on Friday at the teachers’ convention in Atlantic City, Acting Commissioner Rochelle Hendricks sent a frosty email bowing out because the NJEA leadership refuses to discuss education reform, though most pundits assume our Governor is pulling the strings. Example: Andrew Rotherham at Eduwonk calls Christie’s move “bone-headed,” while Fordham’s Flypaper predicts “similar spats to come.” Locally, Philadelphia Inquirer notes that that “State Board of Education member Edithe Fulton told conference attendees that though Hendricks signed the e-mail, she doesn’t think she wrote it.”
The Star-Ledger says the feud between NJEA and Christie has gotten “silly” and that Christie is trying to score political points, but that NJEA’s leadership is “overpaid” and “a gang of entitled misfits.” The Record cites NJEA Executive Director Vince Giordano (who was paid a cool $550K last year): “We have a governor who travels this state and the country disparaging our public schools,” he said. “But the truth is that New Jersey’s public schools are the very best in the nation.” The Record Editorial Board fusses, “it is a foolish, bitter move, a wasted opportunity to directly speak to the very teachers whose on-the-job performance will determine whether any school reforms will ultimately be successful.
However, the Asbury Park Press speculates that Hendricks is strategically strong-arming her way to a permanent appointment by showing her backbone to NJEA honchos: “we’ll have to see whether that’s enough to seal the deal for Christie.” My Central Jersey agrees, calling Hendricks’ refusal to speak “playground antics fueled by arrogance.”
Barbara Keshishian tells the Press of Atlantic City that “we are concerned by her lack of concern.”
The Daily Record asks, “Why do teachers have to convene on two “school days? Is there any reason why the New Jersey Education Association can’t hold its convention on a weekend, or even over the summer?”
John Mooney at NJ Spotlight is all over the newly-organized School Development Authority, which is not building school buildings despite 308 employees and a $50 million budget. Here’s SDA’s organization chart and here’s its payroll.
The Star-Ledger Editorial Board (getting a wee bit ahead of itself) says that when NJ rates teachers based on student growth, teachers’ names and evaluations should be made public.
As part of the Facebook initiative in Newark, volunteers are working hard to harness community support and input. The Star-Ledger reports that the two most common complaints about Newark Public Schools are “a lack of parental involvement and diminished teacher quality.” Bob Braun mocks the whole enterprise.