Sunday Leftovers

The Christie Administration has released its “Taxpayers Guide to Education Spending,” a district-specific acount of per pupil spending. According to the Guide, NJ is spending $17,800 per pupil, which is more than previous calculations. David Sciarra of Education Law Center tells The Record that the State is distorting data for political purposes.

NJ will pilot a value-added model for teacher evaluations. The Record reports today that districts in North Jersey are getting stricter about denying teacher tenure. NJ Spotlight looks at the new tenure reform proposal developed by Senator Teresa Ruiz.

The Star-Ledger describes one of the obstacles to a reliable VAM run by NJ's DOE: "One major hurdle to getting the pilot program off the ground will be completion of a statewide data system that can match students’ scores on standardized tests to their teachers. The system, known as NJSMART, currently lacks this capability."

"[A] four-month investigation by The Star-Ledger, drawing on interviews, lawsuits and internal documents, shows that [the Elizabeth School Board] can also be a relentless political machine fueled by nepotism, patronage, money and favors, using its nearly 4,000 employees as a ready-made fundraising base."

A politically-connected teacher in Paterson is getting paid for two full-time positions: one as a teacher at Eastside High and the other as Technology Director for Mayor Jeffery Jones, reports The Record.

The Asbury Park Press
looks back at the reign of Toms River Superintendent Tom Ritacco, who was arrested last year for taking $2 million in bribes from the district’s insurance broker.

In the Press of Atlantic City, Pleasantville and Vineland schools districts are pressed for space and not on the list for renovation or construction by the School Development Authority.

Gov. Christie comments on the school funding formula to the Asbury Park Press: “The school funding formula in my mind is ridiculous,” he said. “This is a failed legal theory… we’re not getting any results.”

NJ continues to underfund special education.

Newark has chosen Gregory Taylor as CEO for the Foundation for Newark’s Future; he will decide how to spend the $100 million grant from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. Cami Anderson, Newark’s new Superintendent, announced that the start date for some of the new small high schools will be delayed.

Bill Gates is funding a cadre of education reform advocates to influence the media, reports the New York Times.

“The Math of Heartbreak” in today’s New York Times profiles the blue-collar town of Levittown, where the school board president has been out of work for more than a year and the superintendent described the budget cuts as “not good for our kids,” he said as about 300 teachers, parents and students looked on. “We are heartbroken.”

As a public service Jay Greene has reprinted all the tweets sent out from the twitter account, “Old Diane Ravitch,” which was suspended at the new Diane Ravitch’s request. Old Diane Ravitch tweeted quotes from her earlier writings that contradict her current anti-charter/ed reform/accountability fervor. A new twitter account called NotDianeRavitch will continue the tradition.