Sunday Leftovers

Tom Moran in today’s Record profiles David Tepper, whose “ views on education put him on a collision course with the state’s teachers union, the New Jersey Education Association. And that’s why his entry could reshape state politics in this decade as much as Jon Corzine did in the last decade.” But NJEA officials know that they “blew it by taking a hard line against Christie’s call for a pay freeze and benefit reforms. They can read the polls. And they promise a reform agenda of their own, including tenure.” Notes NJEA Exec. Director Vince Giordano, "this label that we are the organization of 'no' I don't think is accurate. We've turned a corner. We understand our role. We want to be part of the solution."

NJ Spotlight examines several unfunded mandates that keep school board members and administrators up at night, including transporting non-public school students and the State’s new anti-bullying law. Springfield Public Schools filed a complaint about the former and Allamuchy Public Schools filed one about the latter, both through the Council of Local Mandates.

From the Wall St. Journal: New York and New Jersey, in anticipation of their respective Race To The Top applications, are “preparing to administer mandatory school-readiness tests to children as young as 4 years old in an effort to win millions of dollars from the federal government.”

The Star-Ledger looks at “a blunder-ridden expansion of an Elizabeth intermediate school” that is proceding at “a cost more than double original projections..” Originally estimated at $18 million, the 1930’s era school refurbishment will now cost over $40 million. A school district staffer called the project “the bane of our existence.”

The Opportunity Scholarship Act, which would provide corporate-donated scholarships to poor kids, has “a good shot” at making it through the Legislature’s lame duck session, reports NJ Spotlight. Assemblyman Lou Greenwald prefers a trimmed-down bill that would pilot the program in fewer districts (Camden, Asbury Park, Passaic City, and Newark) and would not be open to kids already in private schools.

Springfield Public Schools Superintendent Michael Davino has barred students from wearing Halloween costumes at the district's two elementary schools, reports the Courier Post.

Neil Brown, a teacher for 21 years, writes in the Trenton Times, “Students trapped, going to school in a community devoid of hope or opportunity, should challenge our moral sensibilities. Every child who wants to succeed, to be upwardly mobile, to break free of this cycle and have a better life than their parents must be given the chance. “

Mike Petrelli of Fordham considers the Harkin-Enzi ESEA bill, which is the first step in the process of reauthorizing No Child Left Behind/ESEA.

Michele McNeill at Edweek's PoliticsK-12 wonders whether the Feds should start asking recalcitrant winners of Race To The Top for their money back. "Charlie Barone, of the Democrats for Education Reform, said the U.S. Department of Education needs to start asking for taxpayers' money back next year because it's already "clear" which states are serious about their reforms and which aren't. (He didn't name names, although several others later beat up on Hawaii.)"

From Eduwonk, on Michael Winerip's column in the NY Times on Monday: "Where are the Winerip dittoheads? Nothing but silence when his column today talks approvingly about kicking a student out of a school (skimming!) and falsely classifying staff (fraud!)? If he wrote about a charter school doing the same wouldn’t it be further evidence of pervasive mendacity and lead to a day long festival of tweets from the usual suspects?"