Sunday Leftovers

NJEA put out a press release that says that the 80% passage rate of local school budgets proves “that NJ voters put kids first” and “New Jersey residents love their public schools. That has never been in doubt. Our schools are among the very best in the nation because we have made the wise choice to invest in our future.” And at a speech at Harvard, Gov. Christie, when challenged about the "tough rhetoric" he uses in reference to NJEA, said "he would only stop if he is convinced the NJEA is willing to help change 'the failed system.'"

Speaking of elections, a slate of school board members in Lakewood was endorsed by the Orthodox community and won. A letter printed by The Lakewood Scoop reads, “It is heartening to see that, once again, the unity displayed by the Kehilla mechanchim brought us to victory in yesterday’s BOE election. In contrast, the seniors, who evenly split their vote between 2 senior candidates, nullified their voice. Both their candidates lost.”

In other zany school board news, the new majority of the Asbury Park Board of Education is fighting to keep the under-enrolled Barack Obama Elementary School open in spite of orders from State Fiscal Monitor Bruce Rodman that it close down. When the superintendent proposed an alternative that would keep it open they voted that down as well. It’s a “showdown, “ says the Asbury Park Press, that’s become more dramatic since the new board president appointed his godfather to fill an empty board slot. Rodman has announced his retirement.

Don't miss John Mooney's profile of Newark School Advisory Committee President Shavar Jeffries: "In trying to balance the Christie administration’s reform agenda and the community’s cry for local say, Jeffries has stepped on a few political toes, including those of his own board. Three seats on the board are up for vote today, and even Jeffries admits his days as president may be numbered." (As of today the vote on new school board members was split between two opposing slates, one endorsed by Steve Adubato and the other by Ras Baraka; one candidate won from each side and the votes for the third seat are still being tallied.)

NJ Spotlight reports that a bill sponsored by Sen. Shirley Turner that would move school board elections to November is stuck in committee.

The Press of Atlantic City
says that there's confusion among local school districts and parents regarding the rules of the expanded Interdistrict Public School Choice program.

Abbott Update: Paul Tractenberg, founder of Education Law Center, has an editorial in today's Record that eschews sound bites and explains in depth why the Supreme Court should order Gov. Christie to fully fund the School Funding Reform Act. Carl Golden in Asbury Park Press examines the ramifications of a ruling against Christie.

The Wall St. Journal analyzes the popularity of the film “Race to Nowhere” among New Jersey parents. It’s widely seen as a counterpoint to “Waiting for Superman,” the ed reform-minded movie that makes the argument that school kids are over-pressured and overworked because of the emphasis on standardized tests.

The charter school organization Knowledge is Power Program, or KIPP, released a study that examines the rate of college graduation among low-income students. Andrew Rotherham in Time reports,
The results show that while KIPP graduates—who are 95 percent African-American and Latino and overwhelmingly low-income—far outpace the national averages for similar students, they also fall short of the network's own goals: 33 percent of students who completed a KIPP middle school at least 10 years ago have a bachelor's degree today. Among similar students nationwide, just 8 percent have graduated college.