85% or 49% Proficiency? Depends Upon Whom You AskOctober 16, 2009
Camden RiddleOctober 19, 2009
The Record looks at Corzine’s, Christie’s, and Daggett’s views on publicly-funded preschools, school choice, and teacher tenure.
Excellent Education for Everyone (E3) has launched a radio campaign promoting “The Cartel,” Bob Bowdon’s documentary film on U.S. education, with special attention paid to the dismal state of New Jersey’s poor urban districts.
Speaking of failing urban districts, Candidate Chris Christie says that Camden’s school system is “obscene” and the fault is the NJEA’s aversion to change and the lack of charter schools and vouchers. Corzine, he charges, is “in the sway of the teachers’ union.”
The Daily Journal suggests that a salve for N.J.’s woes might be financial incentives to encourage consolidations of municipalities and school districts:
At its extreme, this could include cutting off state aid to municipalities and schools that don’t meet cost-efficiency benchmarks but are still reluctant to consolidate or merge.
The Asbury Park Press reports that Eatontown Mayor Gerald J. Tarantolo, Chair of the League of Municipalities Property Tax Reform Steering Committee, wants to eliminate school funding from property taxes and come up with the cash through “other state revenue sources, such as income tax, sales tax, and lottery proceeds.”
Though William Dressel, Executive Director of the N.J. League of Municipalities is less hopeful, telling the Philadelphia Inquirer that
real solutions on property taxes would require bipartisan support for politically risky ideas and taking on labor unions.
If the answers were easy, he said, “well, they would have been done 35 years ago.”
Tim Evans, Research Director of New Jersey Future, a non-profit focused on smart growth, editorializes in The Daily Record that relying on property taxes to pay for school costs “presents local decision-makers with a warped incentive structure,” swaying them towards encouraging commercial and industrial developments that are children-free so towns are not stuck paying for public education.
And this week’s winner of the Dysfunctional School Board contest goes to Long Hill Township, where a resident asked for the school budget and the district denied his request.