Chris Cerf’s “Perverse Accountability Regime”March 15, 2013
ELC Wins Special Ed DOE RulingMarch 18, 2013
Tom Moran has a great piece in the Star-Ledger that deconstructs the politics between Gov. Christie and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver over the Opportunity Scholarship Act, the voucher bill that remains buried in the Statehouse because Speaker Oliver refuses put it to a vote. Christie’s frustration was on full view at a meeting in Paterson this week where, in a “grand irony in the fight over education reform in New Jersey,” he noted that he was a white Republican from the suburbs trying to fix failing urban schools, unlike, say, Speaker Oliver, an African-American trying to preserve the status quo.Writes Moran,
Yes, you can argue against this [voucher] bill on the merits, so it’s not a litmus test. But the same pattern holds on other reforms. Democrats dithered on tenure, then watered down the reform until it became acceptable to the teachers unions.
That kind of complacency is hard to stomach when half the kids in some urban districts don’t make it through high school. Where is the fierce urgency?
Newsflash: NJEA endorsed Senator Barbara Buono for Governor this weekend. From the press release: “Barbara Buono rejects the misplaced priorities of the past – priorities like tax cuts for millionaires while blocking an increase in the minimum wage; shortchanging public schools while allowing property taxes to increase by 20 percent; and demanding taxpayer-funded vouchers for private schools while underfunding public schools by billions of dollars,” [President Barbara Keshishian] said.”
Star-Ledger: “Starting next year, New Jersey public school students will spend eight to 10 hours taking standardized tests — an increase of up to four hours per year for each child depending on grade level, according to guidelines released by state education officials earlier this month.”
“Three years after New Jersey school districts saw their budgets squeezed by state funding cuts and spending caps, many are looking to make ends meet by selling advertising space.”
The Asbury Park Press blasts the School Development Corporation, responsible for managing construction projects in some of NJ’s most defeated school districts: “Christie has spent a good part of his term touting the need for school choice, and castigating those who have allegedly stood in the way of his attempts to improve the lot of students in urban areas. If he is serious about his avowed commitment to improve the educational opportunities for children in the state’s poorest districts, he can begin by ratcheting up efforts to improve the learning environments of those trapped in disgracefully substandard facilities.”
Patricia Wright, Executive Director of the NJ Principals and Supervisors Association, probes the weaknesses in the new teacher and principal evaluation system and points to a lack of resources provided by the DOE to districts: “educator evaluation is not, in and of itself, reform. It is intended to be a driver of school reform. Real reform can only begin when we deepen the conversation of teacher and leader practice from a focus on evaluation checklists and labels to what is needed to affect change: time and resources to focus on what truly matters — higher levels of student achievement.”
David Leonhardt in today’s New York Times examines the failure of America’s elite colleges to attract poor students from rural areas or smaller cities, per the new study by Caroline Hoxby and Christopher Avery:
The pattern contributes to widening economic inequality and low levels of mobility in this country, economists say, because college graduates earn so much more on average than nongraduates do. Low-income students who excel in high school often do not graduate from the less selective colleges they attend.
Only 34 percent of high-achieving high school seniors in the bottom fourth of income distribution attended any one of the country’s 238 most selective colleges, according to the analysis…Among top students in the highest income quartile, that figure was 78 percent.