Sunday Leftovers

Hardly a leftover, but we'll put it on the table: Christie's Education Subcommittee for his transition released 25 pages of recommendations including freezing teacher salaries, expanding charter school in urban areas by September, a implementing a major do-over on our Race To The Top application, starting tenure after 5 years of teaching (instead of 3), executing moratoria on QSAC (our state-directed monitoring system) and the vast regulations issued by Corzine's DOE, etc. See here.

Here's the final list of N.J. school districts that signed MOU's for Race To The Top.

Peter Denton of E3 on the Schundler pick:
“Does it send a message? I think it confirms a message. The Governor-elect ran on dramatic change in our public education system that includes things that the NJEA doesn’t support. They tried very hard to defeat him and they didn’t, so I think he’s made a choice of someone for this position who’s going to support the policies on which he ran.”

Gov. Tom Kean in a Star-Ledger interview: "Our basic problem is that we spend more per child than anybody else. We have the highest paid teachers in the country, the highest pensions. We can’t afford that anymore. It’s not that you don’t want to do these things; it’s that you reach a point where you can’t afford to."

Israel Teitelbaum, cofounder and director of Parents for Free Choice in Education, argues in today’s Trenton Times that school choice is a civil right.

The Star-Ledger Editorial Board extrapolates from a new study from the Alliance for Excellent Education that looks at the cost of high school drop-outs:
In Newark, for instance, of the 11,750 current high school students, approximately 5,400 will drop out before their graduation day. Cutting that rate in half would mean the additional graduates would earn $24 million more each year and pay approximately $3.5 million more in taxes. They would spend $12 million more and invest an additional $4 million a year. Over their lifetimes, they would spend $40 million more on homes.
More bad news from Camden Public Schools: The Courier-Post has a 6-page story analyzing teacher absenteeism data from last year, concluding that teachers miss more school than students, averaging 11 days of class time. In South Camden Alternative, teachers missed an average of 23 of their 187 days.

And Lucille Davy finds good news in the Education Trust’s latest report: New Jersey is closing the achievement gap while making gains among all groups of students. Likewise, our low-income and minority students are outperforming their peers in other states."

Regionalizing and consolidating school districts may be a lost cause, according an analysis in the Courier Post. Says NJSBA's Frank Belluscio,
Home rule sentiment is not what stops initiatives like this -- it's the financial impact. We are talking about a lot of readjustment having to do with taking on debt, taking on operations of schools, contracts with teachers. It's not a simple process.