New Newsworks Column: Should Extracurriculars Drive School Schedules?November 20, 2014
New Spotlight Column: Self-Selection of Public Schools and N.J.’s Double StandardNovember 24, 2014
Asbury Park’s graduation rate just dropped to 49% a year. “The class of 2014 started its freshman year with 136 students and there were 75 students remaining when they reached senior year,” Also, “In 2013, the district’s fiscal monitor released a report saying about 54 percent of Asbury Park fifth-graders entering middle school were reading at a first-grade level.” All this for $30K per student per year. (Asbury Park Press)
The NJ DOE has frozen the Interdistrict Public School Choice Program, despite a state statute requirement of an annual application period. According to the Press of Atlantic City, the program, which permits students to cross district boundaries to other districts, was too popular and the state surreptitiously stopped the funding stream. “ As a result, many districts have stopped promoting their programs, although they will accept applications in case more openings occur. Districts were not notified of the freeze until Oct. 31, giving them little time to adapt or notify interested parents before the Dec. 1 application deadline.”
NJ Spotlight on the first year of new data-driven teacher evaluations: “While key data is still not available, survey suggests that new rating system based on ‘student growth objectives’ is mostly working well.”
Star-Ledger: “Another state-appointed arbitrator has ordered Newark Public Schools to rehire a teacher the district tried to fire under New Jersey’s new teacher tenure legislation.”
The union representing custodians in Teaneck Public Schools is protesting the School Board’s decision to outsource custodial work. From The Record: “Board members who supported the measure said the union was ignoring economic realities faced by the district and by taxpayers. Custodians in the Teaneck district are paid an average annual salary of $56,000. That’s 75 percent higher than the private sector, board trustee David Grubber stated before the vote. The benefits package of up to $25,000 for a worker’s family is 49 percent higher than the average U.S. worker.”
Trenton Times: “A decrease in enrollment at Trenton elementary schools led the district to reassign 10 teachers, taking them away from classes they had already started in and putting them into other roles.” That’s because a “larger than expected” number of families chose to enroll their kids in charter schools.
Also, “Tallying the hours that they spend working on lesson plans, preparing reports for administration and entering test scores into new computer systems, Trenton public school teachers told the Trenton school board last night they are overworked and underappreciated by the administration.”
News from N.J. School Boards Association’s Delegate Assembly: “School board representatives at NJSBA’s semi-annual meeting on Saturday in West Windsor voted to support efforts to have advisory decisions issued by the School Ethics Commission made public; to seek legislation that would impose a cap on per-pupil tuition increases levied by receiving districts and schools; and to seek legislation to support an option for a waiver under certain circumstances to enable conflicted board members to participate in the interview of the final candidates for the position of chief school administrator.”
Read Tom Moran’s essay in today’s Star-Ledger, which charts his reassessment of “Dark Lord” George Norcross, including the Democratic power-broker’s contributions to Camden’s public schools.
Philadelphia Inquirer: “Talk about pent-up demand. After the Philadelphia School District announced that it would accept applications for new charter schools for the first time in seven years, it received 40, the district said Monday.”