Trenton Mayor Deposes School Board PresidentApril 10, 2013
“Troubling” Fraud in NY’s Special Education PreschoolsApril 12, 2013
At long last the New Jersey Department of Education has released its “NJ School Performance Reports,” which replace the old School Report Cards. Details on school performance is greatly expanded now includes, according to the Christie Administration’s press release, “brand new data on college and career readiness and provide comparison to “peer schools” in order to provide a more complete picture of school performance for educators and the general public.”
The state also released the annual Taxpayers’ Guide to Education. Annual per pupil spending in NJ (if you use the state’s algorithm; others say it inflates costs) is $18,045, up 4.2% since last year.
Of course, there’s enormous range within that average. Fairview Boro (Bergen), for example, spends $13,317 per pupil. Asbury Park City spends $30,502. The plush magnet schools in Bergen County spend $35,900.
The press coverage devotes a fair amount of attention to Camden City ($23,709 per pupil), whichwas just taken over by the state due to decades of educational failure. The Courier-Post notes that
Statewide, 98 percent of the schools had higher graduation rates than [Camden] city’s two public high schools. Wilson [High School] saw 46 percent of its students graduate in four years and Camden High, 45 percent, with higher percentages for those taking five years to complete high school in 2012.
The reports also tracked absenteeism, which reached high levels at several Camden schools. For instance, 47 percent of students at Riletta Cream Elementary School were absent 11 or more days — and of that group, 31 percent missed more than 15 days of school.
The interim Camden superintendent did not return a call to the Courier-Post.
From the Philadelphia Inquirer:
The state Department of Education mentioned Camden’s graduation rate of 49 percent, compared with 56 percent the year before. It also stated that on the 2012 HSPA Language Arts Literacy assessment, only 62 percent of students tested proficient, and in the math assessment only 28 percent tested as proficient.
Other coverage notes the rocky advent of this granular revision to school performance. Last month the DOE released a beta-version to superintendents and a host of errors were discovered. Some schools claim they’re still there.
From the Press of Atlantic City:
Officials in Somers Point, Upper Township and Wildwood Crest said their algebra participation was not counted, which lowered their ranking for college and career readiness.
Somers Point curriculum supervisor Jennifer Luff said the algebra omission was the district’s mistake, but that the state also left out 100 Jordan Road School students when calculating their student performance growth, which affected the outcome.
“I asked how the report could go out with such a big error, but they said they hope to fix it for next year,” Luff said. “With all the scrutiny teachers are under now with evaluations, the data should be right.”