Sunday Leftovers

Consolidation Anxiety Disorder (C.A.D.): The Executive County Superintendent of Monmouth County, Carole Knopp Morris, seems well ahead of the curve. While ECS’s have til March 2010 to present consolidation proposals to the DOE, Morris is already recommending 12 different feasibility studies. Here, courtesy of the Asbury Park Press, are the various consolidations under consideration. Reaction has been predictable. Here’s a selection: “We have to look at that, because there’s a lot of people that could …

James Watson on Dumb Science Teachers and Corrupt Unions

James Watson, Nobel Prize-winning geneticist, lets loose on the poor quality of science teachers in the latest issue of Scientific American: But Watson said he believes there is a larger hole in the U.S. educational system that is sapping our lead in science. “Part of the problem is too many of our teachers are dumb,” he said, balking that “Teachers’ unions are corrupt.” He said that the relatively low pay educators receive has prompted smart …

One of Those Jersey Lake Wobegons

CentralJersey reports that teachers in Montgomery Township are lobbying the local school board to bring in a budget at the 4% allowed by cap. Why? Apparently town residents came to the last board meeting to plead for tax relief, but the teachers are concerned that not stretching to cap will limit their compensation. Montgomery Township Education Association President Chris Crow justified going to cap by explaining that, the association’s teachers are willing to work hard, …

Ravitch on Obama and Charters

Diane Ravitch, Education historian, Research Professor of Education at New York University, senior fellow at the Hoover Institute at Stanford and the Brookings Institute, offers her view of Obama’s support for charter schools (courtesy of Politico): President Obama’s enthusiasm for charter schools is baffling. Doesn’t he realize that they are a deregulation strategy much beloved by Republicans? Deregulation works brilliantly for some schools as it does for some firms. But it produces many losers too. …

Davy Gets Off-Track

Education Commissioner Lucille Davy continues to argue for school consolidation this week during an interview with Asbury Park Press editorial board. You’ve got to give her points for consistency: in spite of a plethora of challenges from NJSBA (see here), NJEA, members of the State Assembly and other assorted local officials who have much power at stake, she is standing firm as the DOE and Corzine try to rein in our troubled school system. From …

NJEA: Having it Both Ways

North Jersey gives the NJEA’s boiler-plate response to Obama’s call for performance-based pay for teachers: Steve Baker, a spokesman for the New Jersey Education Association, said the union would want to see details but generally opposes merit programs that are tied to standardized test scores or competition for a limited amount of funding. “Anything that puts teachers in competition with each other … [is] problematic. It takes away from the cooperative effort you like to …

SFRA Update

Star-Ledger columnist Bob Braun updates us on the State Funding Reform Act hearings, which should finish up this week. Justice Peter Doyne gets to decide whether Corzine’s move to eliminate the Abbott districts in favor of a supplemental funding formula passes muster with the State Constitution. The Supreme Court’s Abbott decisions send money to 31 specially-designated poor urban districts, and the SFRA would send money to poor kids regardless of what city they live in. …

Obama On Education Reform

Here’s the education nut of Obama’s address last night: But we know that our schools don’t just need more resources. They need more reform. That is why this budget creates new incentives for teacher performance; pathways for advancement, and rewards for success. We’ll invest in innovative programs that are already helping schools meet high standards and close achievement gaps. And we will expand our commitment to charter schools. Sounds like he’s still standing firm on …

Good Read

Kalman Hettleman, former Commissioner on the Baltimore City School Board, has a piece in the Washington Post called “5 Myths About Education Reform.” Here’s the first one to whet your appetite: 1. We know how to fix public schools; we just lack the political will to finish the job. Wrong. For the past 25 years, K-12 education has been at or near the top of most politicians’ domestic agendas. Candidates vie to become the “education” …