Sunday Leftovers

Rumor has it that Gov. Christie will sign the tenure reform bill tomorrow.

From NJ Spotlight: “The Christie administration is weighing the idea of creating a separate state-run 'achievement school district' that would be comprised of New Jersey’s very lowest-performing schools, complete with vast new powers in controlling personnel and programs.The proposal was part of a $7.6 million grant application to the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation made last February, a proposal that never moved to full fruition after the foundation approved a smaller amount, officials now say.”

Camden’s Board of Education got off to a rocky start while reviewing three applicants for the Urban Hope Act schools, reports the Courier Post, due to lack of legal advice and process, plus conflicting information offered by State Fiscal Monitor Michael Azzara.  A second meeting with the lawyer present proved more fruitful, although there's lots of pushback. 

How bone-headed was Gov. Christie’s decision to visit Lakewood’s School for Children with Hidden Intelligence but not bother to stop in to see the children in the neglected public school district’s summer program? Depends upon whom you ask. (Asbury Park Press)

Senator Teresa Ruiz, fresh off her success with corralling legislators to reform teacher tenure and evaluations, is looking next at special education. Reports NJ Spotlight, “I’m looking for an open and frank discussion about special education in New Jersey,” Ruiz said yesterday. “What are we doing, what are we doing right, what can we be better about?”

The Record has an update on local district requirements for implementing the first phase of the new teacher evaluation system.

Also The Record, a look at the nepotistic culture of Garfield Public Schools where “the president of the Board of Education has seven relatives working for the schools; where half of the district's 30 administrators also have a relative working in the district; and where, in the most recent school term, relatives of trustees and administrators earned a combined $2 million in salaries.”

Speaking of bad elected-official behavior, The Trentonian examines the case in Hamilton Township, where both Mayor John Bencivengo and at least one school board member took bribes in exchange for influencing the board to extend the contract of an insurance broker.

In Englewood, city teachers had to vote whether to accept a pay freeze or allow the board to outsource 100 secretaries and classroom assistants. They voted for the latter but said it was a “Sophie’s Choice.”

The New York Times' "Room for Debate" asks whether standard student assessments can fairly measure teacher quality and student growth.