Here’s a new trend on the anti-bullying front: according to the Star-Ledger, there’s “a new type of legal phenomenon winding through New Jersey’s courts — one not entirely foreseen by many educators and legislators when the state enacted one of the most stringent anti-bullying laws in the country in 2011. The alleged bullies are filing appeals and their parents, often worried about a bullying charge staining a child’s school record, are getting involved in hearings before judges from the state Office of Administrative Law.”
Also see NJ Spotlight on the intersection of bullying and texting.
Great coverage from NJ Spotlight on gubernatorial-hopeful Barbara Buono’s challenges in differentiating her education platform from Gov. Christie’s.
How this all will play out in the coming months is unclear. The Buono camp said she is developing her various issue platforms and would be rolling them out in the summer and fall. Doubtless, the teachers unions will put at least some of their considerable resources behind her campaign as November nears.
But there are some wild cards that could be played in the debates, such a how seriously the Camden school takeover will be challenged. The continued state control of Newark and even how the teachers contract is implemented are potentially combustible.
The release of the new DOE School Performance Reports has provoked some skepticism among NJ superintendents. Tenafly Superintendent Lynn Trager, according to the Record, notes, “I think there are some positives, but we really can’t see the effects this year because the data isn’t accurate. I don’t trust the data. There have been mistakes from districts and [the] state, but it’s a new process and once they appropriate new information it will hold some value.” Dr. Rosemary Jones, Rutherford Superintendent, isn’t taking the state at its word: : “As you know, there has been some controversy across the state over the accuracy of the data used to produce the performance report. In Rutherford, we are carefully analyzing the results in our continuing effort to improve student achievement.” Nutley is confused too.
Atlanticville looks at the fiscal and administrative burden imposed on NJ districts incurred by the new teacher evaluation system. “The new model and the inclusion of student achievement is a great opportunity for improving things, but from a financial point of view, it is an unfunded mandate,” said John Marciante, superintendent of the Manalapan-Englishtown Regional School District. “The state has to recognize it is a burden on districts. To implement correctly costs additional funds.”
From The Record: “The state education commissioner on Tuesday approved Paterson Public Schools’ request to fire a second grade teacher from School 13 who was accused of having students carry plastic bottles of his urine to flush in the boys’ room.”
Gordon MacInnes complains that “instead of celebrating the facts that New Jersey students are more likely to graduate high school, perform in the top three of states on national tests, and are picked for the most selective colleges in the country, public schools have been criticized, teachers contributions’ dismissed, and increased standardized testing glorified.”
U.S. News & World Report released its rankings of the top 100 high schools in the country. Making the cut are Biotechnology High School in Freehold, High Technology High School in Lincroft, Bergen County Academies in Hackensack, Bergen County Technical High School in Teterboro, and Dr. Ronald McNair Academy in Jersey. All are magnet schools.
The Asbury Park Press examines the stiff competition to win admission to one of NJ’s magnets.
From the Jersey Herald: “The Sparta Board of Education on Monday voted 5-3 to take its first formal step toward joining the state’s Interdistrict Public School Choice program.”
“Media storm” in Readington: “Township school officials found themselves at the center of a media firestorm this week after parents protested the middle school principal’s edict banning strapless dresses from this year’s eighth-grade dance.”
“…one not entirely foreseen by many educators and legislators when the state enacted one of the most stringent anti-bullying laws in the country in 2011.”
First rule of New Jersey administrative practice: everything ends up in court.
Wake up, people.