Today’s Courier-Post looks at the political landscape of education reform in New Jersey, including Derrell Bradford’s new gig, Better Education for Kids, the rising ire of union stalwarts, the role of private money, and the era of "New Democrats" who embrace ed reform tenets.
Parker Block, co-founder of the Princeton International Academy Charter School (see post below) has a letter to the editor explaining the suit filed against Princeton, West Windsor/Plainsboro, and South Brunswick Public Schools for “spending taxpayer dollars to frustrate the educational aspirations of parents and their children who desire to attend a public charter school….” (Hat tip: Planet Princeton.)
The Star-Ledger Editorial Board worries that entrenched political interests may stymie education reform in Newark: “Newark still falls short on student test scores, and its school board is still politically dysfunctional...Remember when the majority rejected a plan to establish six innovative high schools? Nearly 2,000 parents had already taken out applications, looking for an escape from failing traditional schools. But simply because plans were prematurely leaked, board members voted no. It wasn't based on best policy for kids. It was based on revenge and petty politics."
NJ Spotlight looks at NJ’s new anti-bullying legislation, which requires that all district personnel – from janitors to school board members to administrators and teachers – undergo training in the new regulations. Also check out Spotlight coverage on New Jersey School Board Association’s survey of 186 districts that found that class size has gone up again this year due to lower state aid. NJSBA report here.
NJ’s newly-expanded Interdistrict Public School Choice Program, whereby schools can volunteer to accept students from outside district boundaries, has run into some problems, reports the Courier Post. While the legislation requires districts to bus children to choice districts within 20 miles, schools are finding that it’s cheaper to give parents aid-in-lieu-of-transportation, or $884 per year. Therefore, kids are returning to home schools.
Andy Rotherham in Time Magazine looks at “renegade” teacher unions, primarily composed of young teachers, who are trying to “change their unions and, by extension, their profession," pressuring old-timey unionists to “mend their ways.” For example, in L.A. a 12-year teacher co-founded an alternative union that “has managed in short order to build a large dissident faction within the union” and now holds 90 of the 350 seats in the traditional union’s House of Representatives.
And Bellwether Education, Rotherham’s main gig, has published a report that compares five states’ teacher effectiveness legislation
Fordham Institute's Education Reform Idol results are in, and the winner is Tony Bennett, Superintendent of Instruction for Indiana.
Note: This will be a non-blogging week for me, but I'll be back next Monday.