Corey Booker Takes on NJEA

The October issue of School Reform News has just reprinted an article originally printed in the Rocky Mountain News during the Democratic Convention in Denver. At a meeting in August officially titled the “Ed Challenge for Change,” our own Corey Booker, mayor of Newark, had some harsh words for NJEA and other teacher unions. In the article, Booker describes the battle against teacher unions as “a battle for the heart of the Democratic Party.” “We …

Plop Plop Fizz Fizz

Question: How are local school boards reacting to the reams of regulations recently issued by the DOE?Answer: Pass the alka-seltzer. The first part of these regulations, which comprise 85 crisp pages of arcana, attempts to implement the statutes handed down from the State Legislature last Spring. Local school boards are busy rubber stamping countless mandated policies, everything from barring glossy paper and retirement gifts for teachers to standardizing work titles and vehicle inventory control records. …

Grim(m) Fairy Tale

The national journal Science just published a report on how the No Child Left Behind academic benchmarks will lead to a “widespread failure” among California’s elementary schools. Education Week picked up the story, though there is no new news here for New Jersey’s school boards and administrators: lest a deus ex machina intervene, many NJ public schools will fail to meet federal and state benchmarks. Here’s the list of sanctions (courtesy of the NJ DOE), …

Turnover at SDA

Scott Weiner, CEO of the School Development Authority, announced yesterday evening that he was resigning. Said Weiner, I just felt we had reached a point in the evolution and the turnaround of the program it was an opportune moment to bring in and recruit a long-term CEO. The School Development Authority is the new moniker for the School Construction Corporation. In its earlier incarnation the SCC was plagued by reports of waste, corruption, and poor …

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 …