Sunday Leftovers

In case you missed them: here’s my piece this week in NJ Spotlight, which examines new research on the educational impact of moving students from poor and low-achieving districts to wealthier and higher-achieving ones. Also, here’s this week’s post at WHYY on rethinking school consolidation in the context of Superstorm Sandy.

Tomorrow is the deadline for families to enroll in the Interdistrict Public School Choice Program for the 2012-2013 school year.

Israel Teitlebaum’s anti-union rant in the Star-Ledger, draped in flag and religion, probably won’t do much for either those who favor expansion of school choice or those who remain opposed.

Jersey Journal: “'The Jersey City school district needs to lower its high dropout rate, increase the academic achievement of black and Latino students, and better prepare students for college,' Superintendent Marcia V. Lyles said last night… 'There are pervasive inequities throughout the district,' she said, adding there has been “'slow and steady' progress on standardized testing."

Lakewood Update from the Asbury Park Press:” For more than a decade, the school district has been in a fiscal, political, educational and cultural crisis, with a budget that costs taxpayers more than $100 million a year.” And an audit just revealed that “[m]illions paid to a special education vendor with little documentation. Shoe boxes full of papers that are supposed to represent expenditures, although little substantiation can be found.” The vendor is Catapult Learning, which billed $20.9 million to Lakewood Schools for one year of special ed services.

NJ Spotlight reviews its recent panel discussion on NJ’s new teacher and principal evaluation pilot. “The conversation ranged from how pilot districts now testing the system – both urban and suburban – are progressing, to indications from [Senator Teresa] Ruiz that she might consider some flexibility for all districts facing tight deadlines.”

Hamilton Township’s mayor, John Bencivengo, resigned after an FBI investigation revealed that he accepted bribes from an insurance broker. Some  members of the Hamilton School Board are also implicated for accepting illegal campaign contributions, the school Business Administrator is on leave until further notice.  See Trentonian and Trenton Times.