The Star-Ledger Editorial Board looks dimly on returning control of Newark’s schools to the Advisory Board because its members “reflexively oppose [Superintendent Cami] Anderson’s reforms, but they have no plan of their own. They get sidetracked by personal attacks, race-baiting and political vendettas. Many of their objections are baseless — such as their refusal to yield empty classrooms for top charter schools with long waiting lists, rejecting the TEAM schools and North Star Academy.” Example: the Board’s recent resolution to oppose all education reform for one year, which the Ledger derides as “pure politics, an attempt by Ras Baraka, a mayoral candidate, to capitalize on Newark’s famous suspicion of outside meddling. His team on the board is powerful enough to get approval for this nonreform plan, and that is a chilling thought.”
Meanwhile, Newark Superintendent Cami Anderson, reports NJ Spotlight, will halt all school closures for one year.
There’s lots of leadership turnover in Vernon, reports the NJ Herald, including the resignation of the superintendent. A search firm told the School Board there that its search for a replacement will be complicated by NJ’s superintendent salary cap. (Also, Vernon’s school population has dropped by 36% in 12 years.) In other superintendent salary cap news via Asbury Park Press, Toms River has a new interim superintendent, Thomas Gialanella, who has been running Jackson Township’s schools for 11 years at an annual salary of $209,183. He’s retiring and joining the healthy industry of interim superintendents because next year his salary at Jackson would be capped at $175K.
“After an error in an earlier Race to the Top application led to the 2010 dismissal of the state’s former education chief and left New Jersey without a shot at $400 million in grant funds, the U.S. Department of Education reported Friday that New Jersey is off to a ‘solid start’ with a later round of Race funding.” (Asbury Park Press)
Trenton Times: “About 100 students at Trenton Central High School walked out of class in a protest this morning, complaining that years of promises to repair the dilapidated building have yet to be fulfilled.” Here’s the views of the paper’s Editorial Board.
The NEA supports vouchers for preschools.
A thoughtful piece in today’s New York Times Sunday Review is called “Can School Reform Hurt Communities?” Sarah Carr considers the consequences on teachers and students in the post-Katrina New Orleans School District. 80% of the district is comprised of charter schools, with a hefty dose of TFA teachers who have replaced the “many veteran educators, who formed the core of the city’s black middle class.” Carr writes that the new configuration has “succeeded in lifting the average student from a state of academic crisis to one of academic mediocrity; that’s not an insignificant achievement for a city where 42 percent of children live in poverty, nearly double the national rate. Yet as another summer begins, we should also reflect on a different lesson this experience has taught us: we can ask more of our public schools without asking them to save our cities all on their own.”