Sunday Leftovers

The Star-Ledger reports on Abraham Clark High School in Roselle, where more than half the students failed math standardized tests, there is no district curriculum, and no textbooks have been purchased for five years. (Here’s the DOE data.) Abraham Clark is getting a School Improvement Grant -- $3.8 million over three years – originally intended for a “turn-around,” which would involve replacing half the staff. After pushback from NJEA, it will settle for “transformation,” which leaves the staff but replaces the principal. Also to be replaced: open campus at lunchtime because some of the kids were coming back drunk.

From NJSBA: the NJ Supreme Court has ruled that the Manalapan-Englishtown school district should have rehired a teacher who had retired 20 years ago due to an “alcohol-related condition.” Once the Teachers Pension and Annuity decided that the teacher had been rehabilitated, the district was obligated to rehire her as soon as a job opened up because of seniority rules. This was in spite of the case the “teacher fared poorly against other candidates during her interview for the [new] position.” Commissioner Schundler approved the settlement of $240K, reduced from $440K, representing six years of backpay.

Does Gov. Christie’s superintendent salary cap apply to private special education schools?

Rick Hess on his EdWeek blog goes after the fairly inane New York Times article on Mount Olive School District’s decision to eliminate “D” grades:
Mount Olive's new policy is likely to prove a pointless, distracting exercise. I'll make a series of predictions right now. First, teachers seeking to avoid unnecessary headaches (and the wrath of parents) will issue a lot of C's where they once would have issued D's…A policy sure to create implementation challenges and headaches for faculty, only to ultimately prove pointless. What would possess Reynolds to do this? For one explanation, check out "policy churn" in my 1998 Brookings volume Spinning Wheels. What would prompt the Times to feature it on page one? That's a question only the NYT can answer.
In The Lobby suggests that Gov. Christie take the Edujobs money and save some of it for fiscal year 2012.

NJ Spotlight
attends the NJEA summer convention: “The name of the summer workshop spoke volumes about the sense inside the New Jersey Education Association these days: “In Enemy Territory -- Defending Your Rights in a Hostile Political Climate.”

Strange happenings in Jersey City as the controversy over Superintendent Charles Epps’ contract extension continues to roil: 35 out of 40 schools are failing, Dr. Epps’ salary is $268K/year plus a car and generous benefits, and his contract is about to be renewed without a national search. PolitickerNJ remarks that Jersey City, home of 240,000 people, has a municipal budget of $520 million while its schools, population 30,000, have a budget of $630 million. Supporters of Epps say attacks are racially and politically motivated. Detractors say the kids would benefit from a national search. Here's details of his contract, via NJ Spotlight.