NJ Ed Commissioner Chris Cerf and Newark Mayor Cory Booker presented a privately-funded audit of the Newark Public Schools on Friday. According to the Star-Ledger, key findings include
• The school district has almost twice as many administrators per student than the state average.The Star-Ledger Editorial Board says that we’ve lost focus on “putting the brakes on teacher salaries” because Gov. Christie “hasn’t managed to break the stranglehold that the teachers union has over the Democratic Legislature. He wins the battle on YouTube every time, but the New Jersey Education Association is still winning in the Statehouse.” The editorial also argues for bringing back “last, best offer,” which allows local school districts to impose final settlements after months good faith mediation, fact-finding, and arbitration. New Jersey School Boards Association likes the piece so much they sent out a press release.
• Only 22 percent of students entering high school in Newark graduate after four years, having passed the High School Proficiency Assessment.
• Principals have very little authority over staff and budgets in their own schools.
John Mooney at NJ Spotlight has “three key questions” regarding the Opportunity Scholarship Act. Senator Barbara Buono tells Politicker NJ that "I'm not convinced this bill will pass" and "I will fight with every fiber of my being to make sure it doesn't."
Two Republican Assemblymen and a Senator from Burlington County want to “abolish the state's 21 executive county superintendent of schools positions and turn over their responsibilities to the New Jersey Department of Education,” according to the Burlington County Times.
The Record reviews uncertainties regarding implementation of the new caps on superintendent salaries, which are supposed to go in effect tomorrow.
U.S. Senator Bob Menendez spoke to a group of NJEA members at a legislative conference and got standing ovations for his full-throated support, telling them that teachers belong "in the classroom, not in the unemployment line." (The Star-Ledger.)
Harvard Graduate School of Education has just released a report, the Pathways to Prosperity Project, that suggests that America’s single-minded emphasis on universal college graduation is narrowly focused, unrealistic, and poorly serves the 70% of students who don’t achieve this goal.