Consolidate This!

Here’s a couple of other relevant tidbits from the Ghost of Journalism Past as the State DOE makes a concerted effort to slink by home rule fanatics by overturning local school district control through state mandates. From the New York Times back in March: Gov. Jon S. Corzine’s latest budget proposes cutting $190 million in aid to municipalities, with the sharpest reductions aimed at towns with fewer than 10,000 people, an effort to get some …

Mud Wrestling

As we witness the current wrestling match between home rule advocates and consolidation converts, it’s useful to move a few feet back from the ring and consider the big picture. Back in March Steve Kornacki wrote an insightful piece for the New York Observer in which he reviewed Corzine’s initial intentions regarding creating efficiencies in New Jersey (education included). Kornacki writes, Corzine came to office as only the latest New Jersey governor to promise a …

Corzine Takes on Locals

Here’s the Star-Ledger’s take on Corzine’s proposal yesterday to raise high school graduation requirements in New Jersey. The bottom line is that kids would take more standardized tests, have more required high-level courses in math and science; in addition, each student have a “personalized learning plan.” Local school districts are accustomed to State-mandated minimum graduation requirements, but those requirements have been low enough to allow individual districts to augment the basics with their own imprimatur. …

Casting Call for Moses

Lucille Davy, Commissioner of Education, will depict her “vision of the future” today for New Jersey’s high schools, in spite of strident opposition from the Education Law Center, the County Vocational Schools, and other opponents to a “one size fits all” approach, i.e., state standardization.The Times of Trenton gives a preview today of Davy’s speech to the State BOE: Corzine unveiled the broad concepts last spring, with an emphasis on math, science and what he …

Sea of Troubles for NJ superintendents

Slings and arrows continue to pierce the sore hides of New Jersey’s superintendents. The Star-Ledger reports on a business administrator at Delaware Valley Regional High School who sued the superintendent and the school board there over charges that she was fired for being a whistle-blower. Apparently, Christina Sharkey, the B.A., told the board that Superintendent Robert Walsh funneled district funds to his own wallet. “Thereafter, plaintiff (Sharkey) was subjected to harassment and a hostile work …

Apples and Oranges

Yesterday’s Star-Ledger has a piece about Newark’s high school graduation rate, and New Jersey’s lack of any standard formula for calculating this data. According to the Star-Ledger, the National Governors Association developed a standard method to determine the number of students who successfully complete high school in a four-year period. Governors from all 50 states signed the association’s Graduation Counts Compact in 2005, and agreed to start using it as soon as possible. Excellent. We …

Dysfunction-R-Us

Megan McArdle, a blogger for the Atlantic Monthly has a thoughtful description of the dysfunction within education, specifically unions vs. bureaucrats: The school system is dysfunctional on all sides. On one side, you’ve got a bureaucracy so terrified that a teacher will make a mistake that it sets up “everything not compulsory is forbidden” rules. I’m not talking about forcing people to do things that they may not want to do, but which actually further …

NJ School Boards Musketeers

Marie Bilik, Executive Director of New Jersey School Boards Association, has been busy defending the honor of NJ’s 4800 school board members as our public schools wilt under poorly-rendered legislation from the State, bad press from sketchy contracts, school construction controversies, and rising school taxes. In an “Open Public Letter” this week she quoted NJSBA President Harry Delgado, who neatly sums up the home rule/state rule dilemma: Local school governance is under attack. State officials …

Bad Case Law

The North Jersey Record gives some more details on the lawsuit filed by NJASA against the State for unconstitutionally infringing on its members’ right to negotiate contracts. Judge Joel A. Pisano of U.S. District Court delayed any court ruling until October 3d in the hopes that the two sides will come to a resolution. From the Record: In District Court on Wednesday, Judge Joel A. Pisano called the case “a very hot issue,” referring to …

Feds Take a Pass

Last night a federal court ruled that the State DOE had indeed overstepped its power by trying to regulate superintendents’ contracts. The suit against the State was filed by NJASA, the group representing superintendents and administrators in New Jersey, which held that such regulation was unconstitutional. Right-0, said the Feds. But the US District Court held open the option of giving the State some oversight. The DOE had been responding to a plethora of bad …