Sunday Leftovers

Not Your Mother's DOE: NJ Spotlight looks at recent job postings and restructuring plans.

How meaningless are school budget elections: This meaningless: Trenton Times reports that in spite of voters' thumbs-down verdict on Bordentown Public Schools' budget, the municipality decided to leave it intact. And the Township Committee representing voters in West Windsor-Plainsboro cut $500K from the $162.7 million budget after it went down last month. In Lakewood, voters also defeated the budget; the Town Council urged the school board to find a way to cut $108K from health care benefits; instead the board cut the same amount from a program that serves English Language Learners and those preparing to take the test for a GED.

Joan Whitlow is “aghast” at the lack of information available to students and parents about the six new high schools in Newark set to open in September.

Results from a new survey
conducted by Rutgers and NYU show that the “vast majority” (88%) of Newark residents want the State to cede control of their school district but they don’t want Mayor Cory Booker to run it either. Residents also want to give principals more authority, award merit pay to deserving teachers, lengthen the school day, and open more charter schools.

Does the Asbury Park Press have a new education writer? Two good editorials this week: today's discusses the backlash from suburban school districts about all the money going to Abbotts, then links that to the lack of respect for the supplements -- money and otherwise -- that special education students deserve. And another one defends Acting Ed Commish Cerf's suggestions to overhaul the teacher certification process particularly in charter schools (those laboratories of innovation) in spite of pushback from NJEA:
“When you start with the premise that you want to eliminate the certification process in charter schools — then that’s absurd,” NJEA spokesman Steve Baker said. “If you were starting a hospital, would you staff it with architects and lawyers and not surgeons?”

Thing is, gifted, results-driven teachers don’t have to be brain surgeons. They have to inspire their students, some of whom may one day be brain surgeons.

Cerf should be given the leeway to revamp the outdated, outmoded teacher certification process, especially in the case of charter schools.
On the other hand, New Jersey Newsroom's latest ed editorials...well, judge for yourself. One, by Salvatore Pizzuro, takes up the argument that no charter schools should be authorized in NJ without a public vote; anyway, charter schools don’t really work. The other defends teacher tenure because it’s “fair and equitable;” other industries would be wise to emulate the same model.

Mayor-Elect Rahm Emanuel of Chicago is pushing for legislation that would tie teacher evaluations to student growth, limit tenure, and lengthen the school day, reports the Wall St. Journal.

And is the NEA tiptoeing up
to approval of of value-added models for teacher evaluations?