“Reimagining” Newark’s Public Schools as Partners in ChoiceDecember 14, 2012
Cerf Stomps on the Third Rail of Tenure ReformDecember 18, 2012
Today it’s too hard to just start breezily listing this week’s education stories. So let’s start with this.
NJ Spotlight looks at schools still struggling to regain footing after Hurricane Sandy. In Union Beach, officials worry about whether “residents want to return” or whether “the tax base [will] still be there to pay for that school.”Also, Assemblywomen Connie Wagner and Mila Jasey think that the NJ DOE should cancel this year’s standardized tests, at least for districts still struggling to recover.
From the Star-Ledger: “In five years, New Jersey will need a budget almost 30 percent bigger than the one it has today just to cover the skyrocketing cost of its schools, Medicaid and retirement benefits for public workers, a report released today warned.”
Also see Mark Magyar’s column at NJ Spotlight, which considers NJ’s own fiscal cliff:
The $11.7 billion in state aid for K-12 education is the largest single program in the budget, and the report warned that the 2 percent cap imposed on annual growth in school district spending would create pressure for increased state aid. The same also goes for challenges to New Jersey’s school-funding formula in the state Supreme Court, which most recently ordered Christie to add $450 million more for the poorer Abbott districts in fiscal year 2012.
NJ’s first case resolved under the new tenure reform legislation involves “a Vineland teacher caught running naked through an apartment complex on a dare.” (Press of Atlantic City) Also see NJ Spotlight coverage.
“Former Toms River Regional Schools Superintendent Michael J. Ritacco owes the district more than $4 million in restitution to taxpayers, lawyers for the U.S. Attorney’s Office argued Wednesday.” (Asbury Park Press)
The Star-Ledger Editorial Board slams Hopatcong teachers who are staging a job action because a contract dispute has led to salaries being frozen at 2011 levels. The job action involves refusing to write student college recommendations. (Median salaries in Hopatcong are $77.5K and teachers will receive retroactive pay once the contract issues are resolved.)
Newark ranked 16th out of 100 poor American cities in providing options for school choice according to a new report out from Brookings Institute.
Neither of NJ’s two finalists in this latest round of Race to the Top made it through the finish line: Newark’s plan was deemed “too ambitious” and Neptune’s was not ambitious enough. (Spotlight)
EdWeek’s special education blog looks at how “the country’s 430,000 special education teachers have been left out of the discussion” regarding teacher evaluations and that “The Council for Exceptional Children is trying to change that.”
The New York Times reports that “fourth- and eighth-grade students in the United States continue to lag behind students in several East Asian countries and some European nations in math and science, although American fourth graders are closer to the top performers in reading, according to test results released on Tuesday. “