Move School Board Elections to Election TimeDecember 11, 2009
Quote of the DayDecember 14, 2009
Tip to “New Jersey Newsroom”: the word-for-word duplication of an NJEA press release with a journalist’s byline attached doesn’t actually constitute journalism. Here’s the NJEA statement about charter schools. Here’s the NJ Newsroom “article,” currently running under “Top Stories.”
Baker’s data is clear, but any study that focuses solely on test scores is missing a major reason why parents choose charter schools. In many cases parents just believe charter schools are safer and nicer than their local public schools. It’s an image issue as much as an education issue, and one the public schools can’t ignore.
Bob Ingle of Politics Patrol has this to say about the N.J. League of Municipalities’ suggestion that we finance schools through an income tax:
This is not reform. It’s switching sources. Schools should be more efficient and less of a tax drain no matter what the source. Henry Coleman, professor at Rutgers University’s Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, told the Star-Ledger: “You’d have to double the best year ever with the income tax. And we haven’t had the ‘best year ever’ in a long time.” What the league should be doing is demanding more accountability and efficiency from the school system establishment. My guess is if the schools were switched to the income tax the property tax would go down then slowly creep back up as the towns represented by the League find other uses for the property tax.
The Press of Atlantic City looks why N.J. is suffocating under the weight of governmental pensions.
In the past, public employees received high benefits to compensate for lower pay than the private sector received. But government salaries have increased. Press analysis, reported in March 2006, showed that more than three-quarters of state workers earned more than the median wage in New Jersey. And few private workers get the lifetime health benefits and pensions found in government work.
NJEA rejects that reasoning. Spokesman Steve Wollmer says that 3%-5% annual raises are right in line with the inflation rate [reality check: CPI for Oct. ’09 was 0.3%] and “If anyone thinks $40,000 is an extravagant pension, raise your hand. It’s not.”
Sticking with the theme, Former New Jersey Attorney General W. Cary Edwards, now chairman of the State Commission of Investigation, editorializes in the Star-Ledger, “the economic storm now ravaging the Garden State and the rest of the nation is a game-changer of immense proportions. We simply can no longer afford business as usual in business or in government — at any level. And merely thinking outside the box won’t be enough. These dire circumstances demand courage to actually get it done outside the box in very practical and realistic ways.”
How cash-crunched are N.J. schools? In West-Windsor Plainsboro Regional School district they’re contemplating outsourcing custodial services despite community opposition. In Parsippany they may outsource substitute teachers to a Cherry Hill staffing company.