The Courier-Post analyzed the rate of teacher absenteeism in Camden Public Schools and found that teachers are absent more than kids. For example, At South Camden Alternative, teachers missed an average of 23 days. After the report's release, Schools Superintendent Bessie LeFra Young and state monitor Michael Azzara were summoned to Trenton where they argued that their own absentee statistics are probably wrong.
More hopefully, George Norcross, chairman of Cooper University Hospital (among other things) says that Cooper wants to open a charter school in Camden and challenged Rutgers University-Camden “to adopt the city’s public schools and become responsible for their success.” (Philly Inquirer)
The Record looks at potential resistance to implementing some of Christie's Education Transition Committee's recommendations, including a one-year freeze on teacher salaries, merit pay, and a five-year wait for tenure instead of the current three. Example: Peter Tirri of the Paterson Education Association: “How do you overcome a negotiated contract? It’s astounding they are even considering something like that . . . he’s [Christie's] got a vendetta against the NJEA.”
The Wall St. Journal recommends that Arne Duncan "set the reform bar high" and give Race To The Top awards to only 2 or 3 states in the first round.
The new superintendent of the Paterson Public Schools, Dr. Donnie W. Evans, faces some stiff odds: "Paterson, with more than 24,000 students, has gotten an "in need of improvement" designation since enactment of the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Among the students taking standardized tests in the district last year, only 45 percent were competent in literacy, and 50 percent were competent in math."
The Matawan-Aberdeen Regional district explains why NJEA's stance on RTTT is bogus, specifically its objection to formative assessments because it would increase time and cost devoted to student testing. In fact, many disticts already do such assessments in-house, and others would welcome it.
Gov. Christie vetoed a change order for Burlington City High School which would have approved an additional $1.3 million for a project already 60% over budget, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.
How bad is it out there? The Record reports that the Fort Lee Board of Education is looking at out-sourcing child-study teams, school nurses, custodial workers, and security services. Parsippany’s Board is considering out-sourcing 90 custodians, says the Star-Ledger. The Garwood School Board is going to charge parents for preschool (unless the children qualify for free or reduced lunch).
Jay P. Greene challenges a press release from NEA that claims that inflation outpaces teacher salaries: “The only problem is that this is not what the data in the NEA report actually show…we see that salaries increased by 3.4% nationwide over the last decade after adjusting for inflation. The increase in average salary outpaced inflation in 36 states.”