Davy Smack-DownFebruary 20, 2009
Paging Bill MurrayFebruary 23, 2009
NJSBA Gets Gob-Smacked:
Princeton School Board member Joshua Leinsdorf blasts NJSBA as a money-gobbling lobbying group that stymies minority involvement. He writes in the Trenton Times,
There are problems with the School Boards Association other than its racially biased voting structure, such as its failure to follow its own bylaws when it suits the leadership, and the lack of a secret ballot in delegate assembly votes. So, there can be no real reform of the New Jersey schools nor progress in closing the achievement gap without the reform, or preferably, the abolition of the New Jersey School Boards Association. That would save taxpayers $7 million a year right off the bat.
The Asbury Park Press reports that a group representing the potential consolidation of school districts in Island Heights, Seaside Heights, Seaside Park, and Toms River Regional has come up with a possible solution to the wet blanket that drapes itself over all potential consolidations: new allocation of costs.
Recently, it was revealed that as part of the proposal, the Toms River district would take in students in seventh through 12th grades who would normally attend school in the Central Regional School District at no cost to either the parents of those students or the municipalities of Seaside Heights, Seaside Park and Island Heights.
The plan to avert moldy blankets (in the form of taxpayers voting “no”) includes a special purpose State grant of an additional $1 million in funding. Nice to see some proaction on this front, instead of the usual hand-wringing and prognostications of doom.
Ed Rendell as Don Quixote:
Here’s an interesting take on the challenges of school consolidation from the Philadelphia Inquirer. A profile of tiny Morrisville, a town in Pennsylvania right over the river from Trenton, the piece reveals some of the obstacles: home rule love, fear of falling property values (from Morrisville’s neighbors), fear of change:
As for (Governor Ed) Rendell’s bold proposal to forcibly squeeze 500 districts across the commonwealth into 100?
Some say the governor is tilting at educational windmills…
Class Size? Fuggedaboudit:
From yesterday’s New York Times, the question of whether small reductions and increases in class size make any difference. Short answer: no. The most important factor is a good teacher, not the number of kids he or she has to teach.
But while state legislatures for decades have passed laws — and provided millions of dollars — to cap the size of classes, some academic researchers and education leaders say that small reductions in the number of students in a room often have little effect on their performance.
AFT Prez Talks Sense:
Randi Weingarten makes the case for national standards in the Washington Post. Listen:
Should fate, as determined by a student’s Zip code, dictate how much algebra he or she is taught? Such a system isn’t practical: Modern American society is highly mobile. And it’s just not right — every child attending U.S. public schools should be taught to high standards, regardless of where he or she lives.
Hmm. She could be talking about New Jersey.