OSA: The False Dichotomy of Private and Public SchoolsDecember 16, 2011
Charter School Bill “Thoroughly Misguided”December 19, 2011
There’s a bleak report out from Advocates for Children of NJ, which shows a 32% increase in the poverty rate among children of Newark. Regarding Newark’s public education system, the Star Ledger reports that “an analysis of third graders’ performance on state reading tests from the 2009-2010 school year shows only 42 percent of traditional public school students and 46 percent of charter school students are proficient.”
(There’s quite a lot of variation between schools: “At Branch Brook Elementary School… 85 percent of third graders are proficient. At Camden Street Elementary School, just 10 percent of third graders can read at grade level.”)
From the Courier-Post: 50 protesters “occupied” the NJ DOE on Friday to lobby legislators to pass a charter school bill that would subject all charters to a public vote.
Protesters got as far as the lobby, where they chanted “Charter reform now!” and milled around for about 10 minutes before being kicked out…Protesters marched and chanted things such as “Local control, that’s how we roll” and “We want a say in what we pay.” Some signs endorsed legislation, which has been approved by the Assembly but not in the Senate, that would require voter approval before the establishment of a charter school.
The State released the Violence and Vandalism report for years 2009-2011. According to the report (here) bullying and fighting, weapons offenses, and drug and alcohol use increased. Press release here.
NJ lost out on the most recent round of Race To The Top, which focused on grants for pre-school. From the Star-Ledger: “New Jersey lost the most points this time around for not having a system that tracks student achievement for kids younger than five and for failing to prove the state can teach all pre-schoolers living in poverty, many of whom have limited English proficiency.” Ed. Comm. Chris Cerf says we’re applying for the next round of up to $38 million. See The Record for more detail.
The lame duck session of the Legislature is winding down with minimal movement on education reform bills. Best bet is the bill that would give municipalities, school boards, and residents the option of moving school elections to November and bypassing budget votes for budgets that come in under the 2% cap.
NJ Spotlight points out that the public has no say in 65 local school budgets anyway because they’re already at the minimum tax levy specified in the School Funding Reform Act. Also in Spotlight: an update on the State’s new College and Career Readiness Task Force, which is set to deliver its report to Gov. Christie by the end of the month.
Geoffrey Canada, founder of Harlem Children’s Zone, discusses innovating entrenched systems (like public schools) in today’s NY Times.