Paterson Board President Resigns

In an effort to draw attention to the dismal state of Paterson’s public schools, Board President Dr. Jonathan Hodges has resigned. The Herald News reports that he had grown increasingly frustrated by faltering academics, hamstringing of local board members by the State’s takeover, and Lucille Davy’s decision to replace the current superintendent, Michael Glascoe, who is unpopular with NJEA officials. Indeed, the stark difference between how the Paterson school board viewed Glascoe and the way …

Asbury Park Press on Pay Freezes

The Asbury Park Press calls for all public employees, including teachers, to accept pay freezes and furloughs as part of a shared commitment to economic improvement: During Tuesday’s budget address, Corzine should use his bully pulpit to call for shared sacrifice on the part of all public employees, not just state workers, in this time of economic crisis. No one should be exempt — not municipal or county workers, police or jail guards, teachers or …

Oops, They Did It Again

The DOE, that is. In yet another example of overreaching and/or lack of due diligence, the new regulations issued as Fiscal Accountablility, Efficiency and Budgeting Procedures N.J.A.C. 6A:23A-1 create 21 new positions called Executive County Superintendents, one for each county and each appointed by the Governor. The ECS’s (each apparently wearing a form-fitting suit under his or her work clothes branded with a bright red ECS insignia in case of educational apocalypse) have enormous authority: …

Whose Achievement Gap?

A Star-Ledger editorial today pans the DOE’s new high school graduation requirements: Education Commissioner Lucille Davy insists all children are born with the ability to learn and must be “continually challenged.” It’s an admirable notion. Unfortunately, not all children get the same start. That’s why raising standards amid serial failure in the state’s urban school districts is a bad plan. Neither education officials nor advocates for better schools have offered a better one, other than …

NJ’s Field of Dreams

A piece in the Gloucester County Times surveys three districts in regard to the newly rigorous high school requirements: Washington, which boasts a 97% graduation rate with 91.1% of kids planning to attend 2 or more years of college; Clayton, with a 86.5% graduation rate and 80.6% of kids planning to attend 2 or more years of college; and Paulson, with an 84.4 graduation rater and 79.1% of kids planning to attend 2 or more …

Teacher Quality vs. Class Size

Jay Matthews of the Washington Post argues that we need better teachers, not smaller class size: For most schools, getting class-size averages to less than 20 students won’t happen unless somebody strikes oil in the playground. Teaching 30 or more kids challenges even the best instructors, but people like Esquith and his disciples have made it work. They say they prefer a larger class to sending students off to the listless buck-passing that infects many …

Does “J” stand for Janus?

The Abbott districts are not the only group fighting against the State’s School Funding Reform Act, which would replace special funding to 31 pre-designated poor urban districts with a different formula that injects cash on a per-pupil basis across the State. In a classic example of politics making strange bedfellows, a group called Dollar$ and Sense, which represents the richest districts in Bergen County, filed an Amicus Brief arguing that SFRA interferes with their right …

A Modest Preschool Proposal

Yesterday’s New Jersey section of the New York Times features an article by John Mooney regarding public preschools, with his focus on the uncertainty surrounding the DOE’s mandate that districts provide free full-day preschool programs to low-income 3 and 4-year-olds. Says Mooney, For 86 middle- and working-class districts — from Hackensack to Carteret to Cape May City — that will mean universal programs available for all their children. Four hundred other districts will have to …

Abbott v. SFRA

NorthJersey reports on the pending close of the School Funding Reform Act hearings in Superior Court. Underway for the last three weeks, Judge Peter Doyne is getting ready to rule on whether Corzine is correct in claiming that the SFRA fairly distributes funds to NJ’s poorest school districts and, thus, can replace the Abbott decisions as an equity mechanism. The article quotes an advocate for maintaining the Abbott formula, which delivers lots of extra aid …