Newark Leftovers

Andrew Ross Sorkin, business writer for the New York Times, examines how Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg will perform the alchemy necessary to turn shares of a privately-held company (i.e., all paper, no cash) into $100 million.

John Mooney at NJ Spotlight pores over the Newark Teachers Union contract and finds some gems, including a salary schedule that stipulates that a teacher in his or her 11th year of employment makes $61K/year and three years later makes $90K/per year. Also each teacher gets 15 sick days (3 full weeks of the school year) and sick days can be “accumulated without limit.” If you’ve taught in the district for 25 years you get 25 sick days, or five full weeks of the school year. (See page 44 of the NTU contract.)

Okay, we’re still trying to parse the logic in Bob Braun's column from yesterday. This is our best guess:
1) Jersey’s public schools are the “best in the nation” with an occasional bad one thrown in. But it’s all predetermined anyway:
Wealth and achievement are inextricably linked. Give the College Board, the agency that produces the SAT Reasoning Test, your family income numbers and your race and educational level of your parents and it will predict your scores and almost always be right.
2) The odds are high against ill-fated poor kids with uneducated parents (true) and turning that around takes time and money. It’s like fighting the Taliban. The old system of Abbott funding would work, but we haven’t been patient enough. We’ve lost “confidence,” that “faith in public schools is faith in the future.”

3) Losing faith is unpatriotic. It’s un-American. Just like giving up against the Taliban.

4) In fact, education reform is like the Taliban because it deviates from the current system, demonstrates impatience and lack of confidence in the current system, and is anathema to “a democratic, egalitarian America. Reject that value and you change the country in unknowable, maybe dangerous ways.”

Education reform is anti-American. You heard it here first.

Extending the school year (as President Obama suggested yesterday and will likely preoccupy Newark) would cost New Jersey $71 million per day, according to The Record. Unless the NJEA leadership takes Geoffrey Canada up on his suggestion on Oprah that in a gesture of sacrifice each teacher work an additional five days per year.

Here’s Mayor Cory Booker and Governor Christie in PolitickerNJ fighting the perception that the Facebook reform in Newark is top-down and proscriptive:
"Everything's on the table and nothing's off the table," said Booker. "Community consensus."

Christie said of the mayor, "Cory will make sure we get community involvement."
How many times can you say “community?”