QOD: Giving Lie to the Cop-Out that Poverty Precludes School ImprovementMarch 4, 2016
Trump, Opt-Outers, and the Politics of ResentmentMarch 7, 2016
Christie to N.J. State legislators: “If you try to stick it to charter schools, I will veto any bill.”
The Senate Education Committee approved a package of bills that include expanding free preschools and mandating full-day kindergarten. Only problem: just extending kindergartens for the 20% of N.J. districts that still only offer half-day would cost $78 million.
Also from NJ Spotlight, the D.O.E. issued its annual “Education Adequacy Report,” State funding for schools is off by over $1 billion according to the formula known as SFRA, but everyone knows that the formula itself is as obsolete as VHS tapes. (Well, everyone except NJEA, Education Law Center, and SOS-NJ.) For great analyses of of SFRA, go to Jeff Bennett’s blog; I’d start here. Speaking of school funding, Paterson is “proposing a 27-percent property tax hike in order to support the 2016-17 school budget and a $45 million hole.”
From CNBC: “The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected a bid by unions representing public employees including teachers and state troopers to force the state of New Jersey to pay the full share of its annual public pension contribution.The court declined to hear the unions’ appeal, leaving in place a July 2015 ruling by the New Jersey Supreme Court that allowed Republican Governor Chris Christie’s administration to make only partial contributions into public pension funds.”
A new report says that Newark Teacher Union members find that the “landmark” contract negotiated on their behalf, which includes merit bonuses, is “basically fair and even beneficial.” (NJ Spotlight)
Lisa Wolff, president of the Hopewell School Board (Mercer County), argues that the State D.O.E. shouldn’t make passing PARCC tests a prerequisite for high school graduation.
From The Trentonian: Staff at Mercer County Special Services School District, a county district that serves children with disabilities, are boycotting afterschool activities to protest an unresolved contract. At a Board meeting Tuesday night, staffers also expressed displeasure at the Board’s decision to award Senator Shirley Turner (D-Mercer/Hunterdon) a $120,000 newly-created position as “coordinator of career development and business partnerships.” The district “acknowledged that the full-time position was not publicly posted and that Turner was the only candidate for the position.” Also see L.A. Parker, who says that Sen. Turner’s hiring has “all the underbelly underpinnings of political patronage.”
The Daily Journal says that some districts’ opt-out procedures are “as tough as the [PARCC] test.”
N.J. ranks as the 9th state in percentage of students passing A.P. courses. New York is one slot ahead at #8.
New York Times: “As many as 40 percent of students in New York City recommended for special-education services may not be getting them, the Education Department said in a report released on Monday. But even more striking, the department said that its data systems were so unreliable that it was not exactly sure what percentage of students were not receiving the services.”