Saturday Leftovers

One of the two finalists for the Newark superintendency, Maria Goodloe-Johnson, was fired by the Seattle School Board last month amidst allegations of financial misconduct in a district office. The Seattle Times called for her ouster. More details here.

Special Abbott Edition:

The Star-Ledger Editorial Board urges the Supreme Court to uphold the School Funding Reform Act (unfulfilled due to the Christie Administration's school aid cuts) and not bow to political pressure.

NJ Spotlight profiles the 5 justices who will decide this latest Abbott v. Burke case.

Paul Tractenberg, founder of Education Law Center, charges that Gov. Christie is acting hypocritically by inserting politics into Abbott litigation and urging the Court to behave in an activist manner.

Bob Braun of the Star-Ledger
argues that the State is asking the Justices to ignore a breach of the Constitution.

Senator Tom Kean
says that in a fiscal crisis there are “no sacred cows” and that fully funding the formula would mean cuts to hospitals, small businesses, and lack of infrastructure maintenance. “For my part, I believe we can do better than a system that only equates dollars with success.” He also makes the point that the Court's focus on the Millionaire's Tax is misguided because we'd still need another $1 billion to make up the shortfall to schools.

The Asbury Park Press
quotes lead attorney David Sciarra: "We need to stop talking about student achievement and money. It's about adequate funding and working hard collaboratively to achieve performance in our schools. It's both. And we need to reject anybody (that) tries to create a different world than that. We need an administration, frankly, committed to both."

Gov. Christie says
he can ignore the Court’s verdict anyway.

And in other news,

Confusing poll analysis from New Jersey Newsroom, or maybe just confusing results from the recent Quinnipiac University poll. Voters “favor spending more on schools.” But “(o)n the philosophical point – is more money the best way to improve education – voters give an emphatic ‘’no.’”

Lakewood, NJ, where the public school board is mostly controlled by parents who send their kids to private yeshivas, has a hotly-contested school board election, reports the Asbury Park Press: 11 candidates for 3 seats. One slate says it represents “the senior community and the Orthodox community,” while an incumbent has two children in the district.

NJEA claims that 4 out of 10 teachers don't get tenure (and the Press of Atlantic City prints it). Also, " NJEA compiled the data to show that ineffective teachers are removed and that allegations that teachers never leave or get fired are untrue."

Andy Rotherham writes in Time Magazine on America’s history of neglecting the role of teacher effectiveness in the classroom:
Last week, teachers unions and school reform groups in Illinois agreed on some policy changes there — including common sense reforms to teacher seniority rules. And the current emphasis on teacher evaluation because of Race to the Top will produce some new ideas and approaches, too. These are obvious and foundational steps that policymakers should take, but the reality is that because of years of inattention to teacher effectiveness, we still know relatively little about what makes a teacher great and how to build systems full of great teachers and high quality instruction. That frustrates policymakers — and it should terrify parents. But it's also an enormous opportunity for a field that is ostensibly about learning to perhaps learn something itself.