Sunday Leftovers

New Jersey School Boards released information regarding recent teacher salary trends, which is continuing to inch downwards while school boards negotiate more instructional time. From the press release:
The average teacher raise for 2012-2013 is 2.42 percent, according to NJSBA. More than a third (38 percent) of districts report settlements at 2 percent or lower for this current school year. In 2011-2012, the average settlement rate was 3.19 percent.
Teacher contracts in New Jersey typically last for three years. Recently settled 2012-2013 contracts (agreements reached since July 1 of last year) show average raises of 2.36 percent – lower than the settlement rate for all 2012-2013 contracts.  
"Settlement rates continue their downward trend due to the state's 2 percent tax levy cap, the slow economy, and local school board concerns about property tax burdens," explained Marie S. Bilik, NJSBA executive director.
NJ Spotlight features interactive maps teacher and  administrator salaries. Here's an analysis.

Some North Jersey schools are getting rid of athletic directors, or asking them to take on far more than sports-related administration, says The Record.

The Trenton Times reports that in the 2012-2012 school year, 114 Mercer County children, most from Trenton, will get to attend other districts through the Interdistrict Public School Choice Program (IPSCP). This is fine with Trenton School Board President and fine with the volunteer districts, who receive tuition and transportation costs; also, the children are counted for full state funding.  Mercer’s increase is especially noteworthy because most Mercer schools don’t participate in the program because of overcrowding. Central Jersey says that Robbinsville Public Schools  Board of Education is currently debating whether or not to participate.

Also, the Courier Post “applauds” the participation of nine more districts in Camden and Gloucester County to the IPSCP. Last year 19 school districts in Camden, Gloucester, and Burlington offered empty seats to children outside district boundaries. New choice districts are Clayton, Collingswood, Delsea, Elk, Lawnside, Pine Hill, Somerdale, Westville and Woodbury.

“The Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Sciences, or MATES, in Stafford Township, has been named a national Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education,” reports the Press of Atlantic City. The Academy is part of the Ocean County Vocational School District. In 2010-2011, 82% of students reached Advanced Proficiency in language arts and 96% achieved Advanced Proficiency in math.

Sen. Ronald Rice demanded that the State return control of Newark, Paterson, and  Jersey City public schools to the respective School Boards and called for a federal inquiry. And also in Newark, John Mooney at NJ Spotlight pays another visit to Newark’s Eighteenth Avenue School (his first was in 2004) as the long-suffering building prepares for a turn-around under the auspices of KIPP Team Academy charter schools.

Diane Ravitch hallucinates that she can rewrite President Obama’s acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention:
And so I am directing my Secretary of Education Arne Duncan as of this day to cancel the Race to the Top. The fact is that learning is not accomplished in a “race.” Races are fine on the sports field, but not in the classroom. Learning is accomplished because of the patient effort of students, teachers, principals, parents, and communities working together.