Puncture the Preschool Balloon

The Asbury Park Press editorializes today that the State should reverse its mandate for public preschools for poor children (who don’t live in Abbott districts, where they already have free preschool). The Berkeley School District is planning on meeting with Education Commissioner Lucille Davy on Monday to push their case that such a mandate is unaffordable, especially in light of recent cuts in State aid, and that the DOE and Corzine should back off. The …

November Elections

The Express-Times has a piece on Senate Bill S-1861, which would move school board elections to November and eliminate public voting on budgets that come in below the 4% cap. The bill has passed the Assembly, the Senate Education Committee (though by a hair: 5-4), and is due to come before the full Senate this Spring. Fear-mongers rattle the empty threat that a change to November elections would “politicize” the process by injecting “partisan politics” …

Wouldn’t a Prius Be Greener?

Here’s an editorial today from the Star-Ledger trumpeting the benefits of regionalization. On the inefficiencies endemic to locally-controlled school districts: Regionalization is a good recipe for some school districts, too. But there again it faces hurdles. They’re wringing their hands in Sea Isle City about the possible cost-cutting closure of a one-story school, which serves 78 students. When the chalk dust clears, here’s all you need to know: The annual cost per student is $36,000. …

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 …