Sunday Leftovers

More School Cuts: With State revenues down substantially – 7% in most categories – Corzine is including mid-year cuts in his budget address on March 10th. The Star-Ledger reports that school aid will be cut by $75,000,000 and school boards are sweating as they brace themselves for atypical staff-layoffs, programming cuts, and professional development freezes. Middletown Melodrama: The Asbury Park Press reams out the Middletown Board of Education for reducing school board meetings to once …

Princeton Prefers Not To

As local school districts confront the DOE’s efficiency formulas which dictate how much we should be spending on everything from transportation to informational pamphlets, look to Princeton Regional School District as a harbinger of how elite schools will react. At their school board meeting last week (here’s a link to the online video), Superintendent Judy Wilson and Board President Alan Hegedus discussed their plans to “draw a line in the sand” if forced to reduce …

Salvaging the DOE

As the new data from the N.J. State Report Cards makes the rounds, the DOE is caught in the unenviable position of defending uneven test results from accusations of poor management. The Star-Ledger’s lede from today’s paper: Gov. Jon Corzine’s goal of raising standards in New Jersey high schools is getting off to a rocky start, with huge numbers of middle school students failing rigorous new tests designed to prepare them for the next level. …

November School Board Elections?

The Atlantic City Press makes the case for moving school board elections to November, in the context of the Senate State Government Committee’s passage of a bill Monday that permits towns to schedule non-partisan elections to coincide with Election Day: If only the educational bureaucracy felt the same enthusiasm these municipal officials do about moving school elections to November. But school boards and the teachers’ union have been stubbornly opposed for years to a bill …

Who’s Partially Proficient?

The N.J. School Report Card data came out today and it’s a bit sobering. We’re sure there’ll be some punchy spin from Lucille Davy and D.O.E. soon enough, but right now we only have a few comments from newspapers and the stark reality of the numbers. From the Star-Ledger: New Jersey high school students did marginally worse last year on state tests designed to gauge proficiency, but middle school students facing a more rigorous test …

High School Redesign Undermined

New Jersey’s High School Redesign Steering Committee recently issued a set of newly rigorous requirements for public school diplomas. This effort is part of Corzine and the DOE’s noble attempt to infuse some equity into the State’s segregated and unequal educational system, funded largely by local property taxes. (Hence, the inequity.) The Abbott decisions have proved largely unsuccessful in leveling the playing field with huge infusions of cash. So now we’re trying a rigorous, State-wide …

The Merger Macarena

As districts face the music generated by the DOE’s mandate on school consolidation, a predictable pattern is emerging: first, murmur agreeably about potential efficiencies and, two, cross your fingers and bow to home rule. For example, My Central Jersey reports that Somerset Hills and Bedminster are tiptoeing around the edges of consolidating some services. Bedminster, a K-8 district, already sends its high schoolers to Somerset Hills. The local paper editorializes, The wretched economy and New …

NJEA Fairy Tale

You’ve got to hand it to Michael Winerip of the New York Times. Once a hard-hitting reporter on beats like inner-city poverty – think Jonathan Kozol – over the last few years he’s been relegated to softer news as he now channels his inner Anna Quindlen: weepy articles about empty-nest syndrome, journal-like compositions on raising children, wistful memories.. Now he’s popping up in, of all places, the Sunday Styles section, right next to celebrity weddings …

Gusciora Takes on Home Rule

George Amick of the Trenton Times has a good piece today depicting the playground politics underway between Assemblyman Reed Gusciora of Princeton Borough and the New Jersey League of Municipalities, which represents N.J.’s 566 towns, cities, and boroughs. He writes, To the League…home rule is holy writ, and Gusciora has disrespected home rule by sponsoring bills that would consolidate a bunch of towns without bothering to ask the towns’ permission. Last month, Gusciora introduced a …