Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sunday Leftovers

Don't miss David Leonhardt's New York Times piece, "When Does Holding Teachers Accountable Go Too Far."

Good Courier-Post political analysis on the fall-out from Race To The Top.

PolitickerNJ reports that Christie was operating on the “3 strikes and you’re out” principle.” Schundler’s 3 whiffs: 1) telling school districts to expect 20% cuts in state aid when it was much more; 2) compromising with NJEA on the second round of RTTT; 3) “screwing up” NJ's application and, according to Christie, lying about it.

Tom Moran of The Star-Ledger on the Democrats' likelihood of "overplaying" the Christie Administration's scramble to reassert authority: "Democrats, after being punched silly by the governor for the last eight months, can barely contain themselves. But they are probably the governor’s best hope of salvation. For one, they are resisting his plans to cut labor costs in schools and local governments, giving the governor a huge opening. That’s his home field, where he has the people of New Jersey squarely on his side. And with pardons to Schundler, that fight is far more important.

Alfred Doblin of The Record: "There is little point to legislative hearings. Schundler admits he made the error. There is no conspiracy. And if Christie decided to deflect blame by accusing Obama, he is guilty of what? Partisan rhetoric? If that’s a crime Congress would need to be relocated to Guantanamo Bay."

NJ Spotlight proffers bios on the “new power trio” at the NJ DOE, Rochelle Hendricks, Andy Smarick, and Gregg Edwards.

The Wall Street Journal examines the controversy over the LA Times release of teacher evaluations:
Currently, less than 2% of teachers are denied tenure in L.A., and teacher evaluations don't take into account whether students are learning. Ms. Weingarten prefers to continue a system of meaningless teacher assessments that almost never result in an instructor being fired for performance. So she wants to shoot the messenger for telling readers things they clearly want to know.
Willingboro Public Schools’ dysfunction reaches new depths: the Board of Education gave the President a vote of no confidence; an independent consultant described the Board as inconsistent, micromanaging, and interfering with daily operations; meetings last until 3 a.m.; there have been 6 superintendents in the last 5 years. Student achievement? " Testing for ninth- and 10th-graders indicated that out of the 230 students, 58.3 were proficient in language arts and only 20.4 percent were proficient in math. On the High School Proficiency Assessment, 53 percent of 217 students were proficient in language arts and 22.1 percent in math."
(Burlington County Times, here, here and here.)

Dr. Clifford Janey, Superintendent of Newark, turned down a buy-out after he wasn’t renewed. Ras Baraka, Newark Councilman/Newark Central High Principal told PolitickerNJ that the non-renewal was “really a bully move.”

on the Kafka-esque nature of being a school board member.


kallikak said...

Get your facts straight on the first of the three strikes: Schundler told nearly 150 school board members assembled at the Harrison High School auditorium on a beautiful Saturday afternoon this spring that they could expect cuts AT THE LOW END of the 5-10-15% range we had been given earlier.

A week later, when my district was cut 20% (or 5% of its total budget), I was forced to conclude that Mr. Schundler was either a fool or a knave (including the most likely scenario: Christie's fear of a lawsuit from the ELC caused him to switch to the "one-size-fits-all" formula at the last minute).

Subsequent events have not altered that perception.

NJ Left Behind said...

I'm quoting PolitickerNJ's take on it, not my own. I agree that the change to 5% of total budgets was made to pacify ELC and the Supreme Court's ruling on SFRA.

kallikak said...

With all due respect, I'm suggesting you might want to be a little more discriminating in your choice of excerpts. What I find more interesting from the PNJ story is Christie's alleged comment at the time ("He was playing in traffic.")which suggests he and his Ed Commissioner were operating in different time zones. No way to run a railroad or a state's public schools.

Another bit of mislabeling involves recent media references to Schundler as an education "reformer". Anybody pushing charter schools and vouchers as cure-alls for public education is more accurately described as a "de-funder".

Grover Norquist would be proud.