Quote of the DayJuly 1, 2011
NJ’s Voucher Bill on “Life Support”July 5, 2011
Reverend Reginald Jackson, head of the Black Ministers Council, bemoans the postponement of the Opportunity Scholarship Act, the voucher bill:
I understand that most of our children will always attend the public schools, but I also know and see that many of our urban public schools are failing our children. The past few weeks, we have given diplomas to thousands upon thousands of low-income and minority children, even though they don’t have an education.
What makes this debacle so sad is that the ones delaying, postponing and stalling action on the OSA are minority legislators. Those who represent low-income and minority students — of whom 50 percent don’t graduate — and many of whom get diplomas but won’t be able to get a job, or will go to college far behind their peers. The inaction and opposition of these legislators give other legislators cover for not acting, for if the same thing was happening to children in their districts, it would be a state of emergency. In low-income and minority districts, it’s just the norm and they are not alarmed.
The Asbury Park Press looks at the effects of budget cuts on local school districts.
Tom Moran argues that the local union heads’ conviction that decisions about health benefits and pension contributions should take place at the bargaining table – that Sen. Steve Sweeney exercised a fundamental betrayal of his union roots – is wrong-headed. Pension benefits are already set by law, and the health benefits rules sunset after four years. Besides, the result “is a good and fair outcome. And it would not have happened at the bargaining table.”
While Gov. Christie vetoed Democratic legislators’ plans to budget an additional $600 million to suburban school districts, he’s left enough in so that each non-Abbott district should get about 1% of its overall budget. See NJ Spotlight.
The numbers from PolitickerNJ: “The Democrats wrote nearly $365 million in revenue into the budget that the administration did not certify, and included $190 million in surplus that Christie removed. They also inserted $300 million that Christie initially put in his budget from savings achieved with pension and benefits reform, even though new estimates project closer to $10 million in savings. Christie cut $900 million from the Democrats’ budget and vetoed another $400 million.”
Trenton Community Charter School, slated for closure by the DOE, has won a stay ordered by an appellate court judge. According to the Trenton Times, the school says that the state ignored a June 6 Collaborative Assessment and Planning for Achievement report which showed significant progress.
Thousands of kids are getting free or reduced-cost lunches in school but they’re not technically eligible for the program, reports the Press of Atlantic City.
While appeals by public unions in Minnesota and Colorado to overturn legislated pension and benefits reform have been unsuccessful, , NJEA Spokesman Steve Baker tells the Courier-Post that NJEA will file lawsuits anyway.
NJ Spotlight looks at the DOE pilot program where student academic growth is tied to teacher evaluations. DOE Special Assistant Andy Smarick hosted a meeting among 70 interested school districts and remarked, “”We are asking districts to work with teachers and other stakeholders because we want this as robust as possible,” he said. “I talked about partnerships more than anything else.”
Andrew Rotherham in Time Magazine asks whether tenure for college professors should be abolished.