Sunday Leftovers

Race To The Top/Schundler-Bashing Update:

John Bury on Schundler's status at the DOE:
Gov. Chris Christie is both a former prosecutor and rabid baseball fan. So the whole three-strikes-you’re-out thing is the ethos he lives by. And according to the governor’s reckoning, Education Commissioner Bret Schundler has two strikes on the count.

"It’s possible he’s already had more than two strikes," one Christie adviser said of what’s gone on behind closed doors. "But either way, there’s only one strike left."
Steve Adubato considers Schundler's mistake: "I’m not saying Schundler was right and I don’t know if he’s wrong, but I do know this—in the Christie Administration, no one, and I mean no one, negotiates big deals (and maybe even smaller deals) but the governor himself."

And the Assembly Democrats are really pissed off. Assembly Ed Chair Patrick Diegnan, for example, says, "The governor's last-second decision to sabotage New Jersey's Race to the Top proposal is an irresponsible step backward in our hopes to improve education."

Mike Kelly in The Record:
"But the real mystery was Schundler. What was his point in striking such an extraordinary compromise with the teachers union anyway? Why didn't he get the governor's backing before agreeing?"

James Ahearn says that Schundler negotiated the RTTT changes out of respect of teacher professionalism and that Christie is Dr. Seuss’ famous elephant, Horton. (Come on, now. Elephant jokes?)

Teacher contract settlements are trending downwards, according to NJ Spotlight.

David Brooks, New York Times columnist, is bullish on Pres. Obama's education reform process:
This is not heavy-handed Washington command-and-control. This is Washington energizing diverse communities of reformers, locality by locality, and giving them more leverage in their struggles against the defenders of the status quo.

Second, the Obama administration used the power of the presidency to break through partisan gridlock. Over the past decade, teacher unions and their allies have become proficient in beating back Republican demands for more charters, accountability and choice. But Obama has swung behind a series of bipartisan reformers who are also confronting union rigidity.
There's still 4,500 high schools students (about half the original number) who won't graduate because they were unable to pass the Alternative High School Assessment, reports The Record. Says Stan Karp of Education Law Center in the Philadelphia Inquirer, "we're glad they've opened a few more doors for graduation, but the department has badly mishandled his test."

From today’s Asbury Park Press editorial
regarding the 91 school administrators who get more than $200K /year:
Showing that poor P.R. skills aren't confined to the New Jersey Education Association, in an op-ed piece the head of the state Association of School Administrators, Richard Bozza, defended the fact so many superintendents were paid more than Gov. Chris Christie, who makes $175,000, by saying, "we concede that the governor is underpaid."
Bruce Baker at SchoolFinance101 argues that tying student achievement data to teacher evaluation and retention will not lead to awarding and retaining effective teachers. Instead, teachers fired because of poor performance will sue the pants off districts -- we'll see an "explosion of litigation" -- because of arguments of violation of due process, statistical inconsistencies, and civil rights challenges.