New Jersey is starting a Teach for America-ish program, creating a partnership with the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship Foundation to recruit “top collegiate science and math students to become high school teachers in the state’s neediest districts,” reports the Star-Ledger. Additional coverage from the Courier-Post, which notes that fellows will receive an annual $30K stipend for a three-year commitment.
John Mooney analyzes campaign spending during the recent school board elections and finds that, contrary to expectations, candidates spent less. This is due in large part to the fact that the “New Jersey Education Association, the powerful statewide teachers union, spent virtually nothing on the elections -- after shelling out more than $4 million in the past decade and upward of $750,000 in 2011 alone.”
NJ Spotlight also reports on the Christie Administration’s proposal to create an alternative route for charter school teachers. NJEA opposes the provision, which is “tucked deep within the administration’s Professional Licensure and Standard Code for NJ Teachers.”
Speaking of NJ charter schools (and the upbeat CREDO study), Julia Sass Rubin shoots the messenger.
Beleaguered Trenton is “embark[ing] on an ambitious restructuring project to ease overcrowding in schools,” reports the Trenton Times. Overcrowding is not the district’s only problem. This expose from the Trentonian describes conditions at Trenton Central High School:
The Record reports on an administrative exodus from Fort Lee Public Schools.The landmark building on Chambers Street that is home to Trenton Central High School is crumbling as students sit in the classrooms trying to learn. Case in point, just last Tuesday water from heavy rains made it through the roof into the classroom walls and activated a fire alarm.“The fire alarm does not just go off when there is a fire, but also when it has contact with water” said head custodian Larry Loper.More then to 2,000 students had to evacuate the building and stand in the rain while firefighters secured the building and turned the alarm off.
Michael Hoban looks at the high proportion of school dollars in Lakewood that go to transporting private school and special education pupils. Recent NJ Left Behind coverage here and here.
From the Press of Atlantic City: the Cape May City Council wants to change the funding formula from one based on property values to one based on enrollment because “city taxpayers pay the equivalent of $72,074 per pupil for the 85 students they send to the schools, which include a junior high and high school handling grades 7 through 12. In contrast, the resolution said, Lower Township taxpayers pay $7,753 for each student they send.”
NJ public schools have a gender gap.
Richard Bozza, executive director of the NJ Association of School Administrators, worries that we’re moving too quickly with our new statewide teacher and principal assessment programs: “Educators in the pilot districts are actively engaged and eager to participate. But many of them are frustrated by the amount of work required in such a short time. We need to examine what is practical to implement statewide. We don’t want to launch a program before it’s ready. Let’s take the time to do it right.”
In today’s New York Times, Nicholas Kristof examines some unintended consequences for poor children from the Supplemental Security Income program (SSI): parents, dependent on the monthly $698 check, are pulling their kids out of literacy programs because “if kids learn to read, they are less likely to qualify for a monthly check for having an intellectual disability.”
About four decades ago, most of the children S.S.I. covered had severe physical handicaps or mental retardation that made it difficult for parents to hold jobs — about 1 percent of all poor children. But now 55 percent of the disabilities it covers are fuzzier intellectual disabilities short of mental retardation, where the diagnosis is less clear-cut. More than 1.2 million children across America — a full 8 percent of all low-income children — are now enrolled in S.S.I. as disabled, at an annual cost of more than $9 billion
That is a burden on taxpayers, of course, but it can be even worse for children whose families have a huge stake in their failing in school. Those kids may never recover: a 2009 study found that nearly two-thirds of these children make the transition at age 18 into S.S.I. for the adult disabled. They may never hold a job in their entire lives and are condemned to a life of poverty on the dole — and that’s the outcome of a program intended to fight poverty.