Sunday Leftovers

Fifty-four NJ schools had a suspicious number of standardized test questions changed from wrong to right answers, reports the Courier-Post. At Ocean Grove Elementary School in Point Pleasant erasures were 72% higher than normal, and at Cedar Grove Elementary in Toms River erasures were 77% above normal. The NJ DOE “fought to keep the details of the reports secret,” but the Asbury Park Press and NJ Press Media sued to have the details released.

In spite of Newark Public Schools’ good performance in the State’s QSAC monitoring process, it will remain under state control “indefinitely.” Acting Commissioner Chris Cerf explained that the district’s "unacceptably low graduation rate (55 percent) and the troublesome percentages of students not proficient in math (51.8 percent) or language arts (57.5 percent) as reasons he cannot initiate even partial withdrawal from state control.” (Star-Ledger)

FBI agents continue their investigation of corruption in Toms River Public Schools. The new target is the district’s former engineer, Pravin H. Patel, whose firm was paid more than $9 million over the last decade by the school district.

Tom Vander Ark, a big macher in the integration of technology and education, isn’t going to open a planned charter school in Newark, reports the Star-Ledger and the New York Times.

In today’s NY Times Winnie Hu examines the controversies surrounding “boutique” charter schools, particularly two proposed Mandarin-immersion schools in Milburn and Princeton.

The Trenton Times reports that Trenton’s Foundation Academy Charter School, currently serving kids in grades 5-8, will expand to high school level in September. One of its co-founders, Ronald Brady, explains, “I think the reason we’ve been successful is we’ve had a detailed and clear plan and we’ve followed the model of other highly successful schools such as North Star Academy in Newark and the KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) schools nationwide.”

As the 10th anniversary of September 11th approaches, NJ Spotlight and the Courier-Post look at NJ’s new 9/11 curriculum.

The NJ DOE, reports The Record, has received approval to use FBI criminal history databases to do background checks on school board members.

The Philadelphia Inquirer profiles a brave teacher who also happens to be an NJ Assemblywoman: Celeste Riley of Cumberland County. She voted to approve the compromise pension/health benefits contributions reform despite getting a "robo-call at home from the NJEA urging her to call her office and tell herself to vote "no."

EdWeek looks at problems states are encountering in implementing their winning Race To The Top plans.

In Time Magazine, Andy Rotherham recommends 7 new education books, including “Sub Culture: Three Years in Education Dustiest Corners” by Carolyn Cucior. The U.S. "spends more than $20 million each school day on substitutes, and your child will spend upwards of a year of their time in school with a sub in front of them. What Bucior reveals about low standards, lower pay, and all manner of craziness will shock you.”