Glenn Beck Award: Rick Santorum on Role of Gov’t in EducationFebruary 19, 2012
NJ Does the Bait and Switch on Gay Marriage and Charter SchoolsFebruary 20, 2012
Tom Moran in today’s Star-Ledger sums up the “sorry state of school reform in New Jersey” based on recent tactics by both NJEA and the NJ GOP: “We have a union whose highest goal is to protect bad teachers. And a governor who is fixated on scoring political points. After two years of this, all we are missing is any semblance of meaningful reform.” (Previous NJLB coverage here and here.)
(For a glance at a different reality, check out Nicholas Kristof’s column in the New York Times, who praises the “jaw-dropping” transformation of the education reform landscape in New Haven, where AFT President Randi Weingarten and the New Haven Public Schools are partners in teacher tenure reform.)
According to the Press of Atlantic City, almost 90% of eligible school boards have moved their elections to November: “468 of 538 eligible school districts have notified the state that they passed resolutions to move their elections as allowed by a new state law. School board elections will now be included in the November general election, but will be placed separately on the ballots so they retain nonpartisan status.”
Update: NJSBA is still saying that the final count on school boards choosing to move elections is 413. Not sure what’s up with that. Either NJSBA is not up to date or the Press miscounted.
The Hamilton School Board, long known for its affection for nepotism, has fired Interim Superintendent James Sheerin after he recommended the appointments of two school principals who came from out-of-district. Board Attorney George Fisher: “He ended up recommending two out-of-district candidates to fill two of the three slots, and those candidates were rejected, pretty much out of hand by the board. This district would benefit from hiring some outside people. I’ve said in the past that this district has an inbreeding that is not healthy.” (Trenton Times)
Gov. Christie announced that the State will move ahead with 20 school construction projects in some of NJ’s poorest cities. According to the Star-Ledger, 8 of the projects will cost $675 million; there were no cost estimates on the others. NJ Spotlight has comments from Education Law Center’s David Sciarra, who said, “There has been no shovels in the ground for the last two years, while Gov. Christie has spent $100 million of taxpayers money on salaries and benefits and overhead that has accomplished literally nothing for these districts.”
Ed. Comm. Chris Cerf is awarding $1 million to 12 districts who demonstrate the highest achievement among kids with disabilities. (NJ Spotlight)
Camden Mayor Dana Redd met with Ed. Comm. Chris Cerf to “discuss deficiencies” in the Camden City Public Schools, according to the Courier Post. She also said that it may be time for Superintendent Bessie LeFra Young to resign; a board member there says she will call for a no-confidence vote inYoung. Camden recently failed QSAC, the state’s monitoring system (see here) and is home to 23 of the 70 worst schools in the State (according to our NCLB waiver application).
In an interesting wrinkle, the Camden School Board President has refused board member requests to discuss Young’s performance.
From the Wall St. Journal on retention of 3d graders: “A recent report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation found that children who don’t read proficiently by third grade are four times as likely to drop out of school…The country has spent billions on failed reading strategies. Now, states are taking a different tack: push individualized reading instruction in the early grades and hold back kids who don’t pass muster by third grade.”
Check out NJ Spotlight’s Mark Magyar on a proposed consolidation of 30 school districts in Hunterdon County “into a single countywide district, with potential tax savings in the tens of millions of dollars for Hunterdon’s 128,349 residents.”