Sunday Leftovers

The Record Editorial Board discusses NJ’s “remarkable compromise in forging an overhaul of tenure laws to make it easier for public schools to oust ineffective educators. But building a consensus meant dropping a change that most other states have already made: Making teachers' effectiveness a factor in determining which lose their jobs in case of layoffs.”

NJ Spotlight points to a little-noticed result of the Statehouse Democrats' proposed cuts to Christie's budget: the removal of funding to NJ's new Regional Achievement Centers, which would replace county education offices and focus state resources on poorly-performing districts.

The Asbury Park Press considers the growing Latino population in Lakewood, which has increased by 78% in the last decade, and its efforts to organize a political coalition to address the local school district’s neglect of Latino kids.

In Willingboro, another troubled NJ district, the local union has taken a vote of “no confidence” in Superintendent Ronald Taylor. In a move sure to raise eyebrows at NJ School Boards Association, board member Rebecca Perrone, at a public board meeting, called Taylor “unprofessional” and “questioned his hiring of  three “incompetent” friends as assistant superintendents. (Burlington County Times.)

The Record has an expose of Garfield Public Schools, where “half of the district’s 30 administrators have a relative working for the district, with many having multiple family members on the payroll. In the school year that just ended, relatives of trustees and administrators earned a combined $2 million in salaries.”

The Courier-Post reports that Camden School Board has hired, the “district’s top deputy,” as “acting interim superintendent” after their first choice bowed out. Bessie LeFra Young retired on Friday after a tenure marked by lack of leadership and excessive absenteeism. The Board bought out her contract a year early.

In Perth Amboy, the school board refused to pass a resolution reappointing 43 principals and supervisors because, said one board member, “there are some individuals we have concerns with.” The administrators will report to work anyway. Also, Superintendent Janine Caffrey has a youtube video up in which she explains her ongoing battles with the school board.

Deborah Kenny, founder and CEO of Harlem Village Academies, writes in the Wall St. Journal,
Critics claim that charter schools are successful only because they cherry-pick students, because they have smaller class sizes, or because motivated parents apply for charter lotteries and non-motivated parents do not. And even if charters are successful, they argue, there is no way to scale that success to reform a large district.
None of that is true. Charters succeed because of their two defining characteristics—accountability and freedom. In exchange for being held accountable for student achievement results, charter schools are generally free from bureaucratic and union rules that prevent principals from hiring, firing or evaluating their own teams.
The College Board has a new website intended to try to get President Obama and Governor Romney to pay more attention to education issues.