Tie-Dyed Trenton

The Trenton Times has published an op-ed by the Vice President of the Trenton School Board, Alexander Brown. It’s both a primer on the history of the Abbott decisions and a condemnation of Corzine’s new School Funding Reform Act (SFRA), which removes the “Abbott” label from State finances on the (true) grounds that many of our poorest kids reside outside of those 31 Abbotts. Tooting a dusty horn, Brown says, The urban school districts are …

Slouching Towards Cape May?

The Philadephia Daily News has a piece today describing a consolidation threat in the Cape May County school district of Wildwood City. Apparently the mayor of Wildwood, Ernest Troiano Jr., has written a letter to the local school board “suggesting” that the district close Wildwood High to lower taxes. He has, of course, no authority over the district and says himself that he doesn’t know if the closure would be cheaper than tuition payments to …

Princeton v. State Smack-Down

We don’t want Princeton to be just adequate — we don’t want to revert to a mean that incorporates everyone in the state. We want to have local control. Alan HegedusPresident, Board of Education, Princeton Regional School District The Princeton Board of Education meeting last month, as recounted in a weekly Mercer County paper, is a harbinger of the inevitable revolt of wealthy districts against the DOE’s recent initiatives to standardize the curriculum and finances …

Reinventing the Abbotts

Here’s a must-read from Matt Miller, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, published in the New York Times this week. Money quote: Local control of schooling — which means local financing of schools — is an injustice, masked as a virtue, so deeply ingrained in the American mind that no politician in either party dare challenge it. But America’s obsession with local finance, which made perfect sense in the 19th century, is …

NJEA’s “Outrageous Statement”

In “The Monopolist Turns Free-Marketer,” Gregg Edwards describes the new legislation that establishes a program for low-income kids in seven failing urban school districts to get scholarships to attend other private of public schools. Edwards assumes that many parents of these kids would choose to send their kids to local parochial schools, which are non-unionized and often struggling because parents can’t afford the tuition. The NJEA is opposing the bill, and Edwards takes them to …

New AYP Numbers Out

The DOE has just issued this press release trumpeting an increase in the number of schools that made Adequate Yearly Progress based on last spring’s test scores. Of the 2210 schools tested, 71% made AYP, which is higher than two years ago and slightly lower than last year. Commissioner Lucille Davy said, There has been a considerable increase in the number of schools meeting AYP standards since the 2005-06 school year, when only 62 percent …

The Ethics of Home Rule

There’s a great piece in the New York Times today by Peter Applebome that profiles a seventy-year-old retired T.V. journalist who haunts school board meetings in the wealthy, white district of Blind Brook, Westchester. Dick Hubert, one of those pesky yet eloquent community members whom school board members dread, has accused Blind Brook of fostering a racist school system by refusing to merge with the comparatively poor and minority district of Port Chester. Applebome comments, …

Reality-Check for Preschools

The directive from the DOE to establish public preschools for all economically-disadvantaged 3-5 year-olds has hit a wall: while school districts are still required to hand in comprehensive roll-out plans, there seems to be a general acknowledgment that the directive is going nowhere fast because the there’s no money. Today’s Sunbeam reports that the Pennsville School District is backing off of a plan to redesign their facilities to accommodate an estimated 41 preschoolers because, contrary …

Rumor Has it…

… that the bill to move school board elections to November has stalled in the Senate and currently resides somewhere in legislative purgatory. Meanwhile, the Courier-Post jumps on the bandwagon: Moving school elections from mid-April to the traditional Election Day, the first Tuesday in November, makes sense and ought to be approved by the state Legislature. New Jersey has too many obscure election days that draw few voters to the polls, and school election day …