Sunday Leftovers

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Tom Moran at the Star-Ledger predicts that Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop won’t win the governorship because he “presents himself as a reformer, but he acts like a traditional political boss.” One example: “He abandoned his school-reform team in the last election, withdrawing support late in the game. That pleased the teachers’ union, a key player in the governor’s race. But his former allies, all of whom got crushed, remain bitter over the betrayal.”

The N.J. D.O.E. is gearing up for the release of PARCC scores. From NJ Spotlight:

The administration yesterday sent school districts a slew of resources – ranging from a video for parents to webinars for principals and teachers — to help them analyze the results for themselves and explain them to the public.

“We are looking forward to sharing PARCC results in the coming weeks and remain committed to ensuring that New Jersey educators are prepared to use assessment data as one tool to measure and ensure academic progress, inform instruction, and improve student learning,” said Bari Erlichson, the assistant education commissioner heading the effort, in a memo to districts.

Also see the Asbury Park Press and the Star-Ledger,

A new policy brief from Education Law Center says the state is miscalculating “adjustment aid,” which is supposed to “hold harmless” districts from “new” (2008) allocations through the School Funding Reform Act. The brief ignores that fact that pre-recession SFRA is unfundable anyway, just like the current pension system, From NJ Education Aid: “SFRA is never going to be fully funded and if New Jersey wants fairness it has to be realistic and pragmatic regarding the Abbotts, especially Hoboken.”

Jersey City regained local control and some saw that decision as a harbinger for Newark. However, “in a statement, Department of Education Deputy Press Secretary David Saenz said the decision regarding Jersey City was indicative of the state’s commitment to returning districts to local control across the state, but that it had ‘no bearing on Newark.'”

Star-Ledger: “A federal judge has ruled that the parents of a boy with autism have a right to sue the Harrison Township School District for allegedly discriminating against their son and preventing him from attending school in a neighboring district.”

“New York-based Uncommon Schools is hoping to build a new charter school at the former home of the Star-Ledger newspaper.”

Twenty N.J. charter schools are up for renewal this year and, reports NJ Spotlight, “the Christie administration announced to schools this summer that it was making significant changes in the process.” Here’s the new state protocol.

Local districts are starting to pass policies regarding transgender students. See the Asbury Park Press and the Record.

Most of the candidates running for Paterson School Board are “sharply critical” of Superintendent Donnie Evans,, reports the Record. And the Trenton Times reviews Trenton’s process for selecting a new chief as former superintendent Francisco Duran takes the helm at Fairfax County Schools.

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  • StateAidGuy, October 11, 2015 @ 6:37 pm Reply

    The ELC's report on Adjustment Aid is interesting and contains information which I think could be used to criticize Adjustment Aid like the fact that even if SFRA were properly run $300 million of Adjustment Aid would still go to 138 over-adequacy districts.

    The report continues to reveal the ELC's major blindspot about New Jersey's economy and budget situation. The ELC does not mention the recession, the implosion of the Atlantic City gambling industry, nor the oncoming Pension Crisis. The ELC correctly says that Adjustment Aid was supposed to be temporary, but ignores that NJ's budget disaster means that Adjustment Aid will be permanent unless a miracle happens and NJ gets $1-2 billion more to spend on K-12 education.

    The ELC also only assesses Adjustment Aid in terms of its benefits to _recipient districts_. This is like evaluating the social merits of the lottery by only looking at people who win the lottery or evaluating rent control by looking at people who live in rent controlled apartments.

    The ELC has the mentality that “any money for poor districts is good, some poor districts get Adjustment Aid, therefore Adjustment Aid is good.” The ELC's discussion of Adjustment Aid doesn't go into the fact that the majority of NJ's poorest districts do NOT get Adjustment Aid at all and even many poor districts that do get Adjustment Aid get very little. What good does Adjustment Aid do for Paterson, Dover, Prospect Park, and Freehold Boro?

    The ELC also makes a mistake by using the DFGs to indicate wealth, (although I have conflated DFG-classification and wealth too).

    Of course most low-DFG districts are indeed low-resource and most high-DFG districts are indeed high resource but there are significant exceptions. Jersey City, is DFG B, but Jersey City is actually a medium-wealth district whose Local Fair Share is about $10,000 per student.

    Since a very large portion of Adjustment Aid goes to Jersey City alone, grouping Jersey City as a “low wealth” district makes Adjustment Aid look more progressive than it is.

    Hoboken and many Jersey Shore districts have middle-DFG classifications but they are actually the wealthiest districts in New Jersey in terms of taxing capacity per student. Hoboken's taxing capacity is double that of Millburn and Princeton. Hoboken and districts like Allenhurst, Deal, Cape May districts etc should really be classified as “ultra- high wealth” since the taxing ability per student gaps between them and even DFG J are so wide. These districts often get Adjustment Aid as well.

    It is also Adjustment Aid that sustains the scandal of Asbury Park getting almost $24,000 per student.

    If anyone is interested these are two posts I've done on Adjustment Aid.

  • StateAidGuy, October 13, 2015 @ 3:57 pm Reply

    More analysis of the ELC's report on Adjustment Aid.

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