Sunday Leftovers

Make sure to read Paul Tractenberg's essay at NJ Spotlight on our "apartheid" school system. Tractenberg, founder of Education Law Center, writes, " 26 percent of all black students and almost 13 percent of the rapidly growing Latino population attended apartheid schools and another 21.4 percent and 29.2 percent, respectively, were in intensely segregated schools. That means almost half of all black students and more than 40 percent of all Latino students in New Jersey attend schools that are overwhelmingly segregated. " Tractenberg frames the problem eloquently, even if towards the end he veers off into anti-Christie venom. Also note his bold proposal for county-wide school districts, with Essex as a pilot.

The Courier Post reports that in south Jersey “school officials are already making plans to push back graduation dates, and the threat of future storms could mean shorter spring breaks.” Ditto for the rest of the Garden State, right?

Some newly-elected school board members can’t bet sworn in yet because the State DOE is having problems with its finger-printing process. One yet-to-be board member in  Wayne is particularly pissed. (The Record)

The Hunterdon County Democrat  reports that  the enrollment caps set by the DOE on Interdistrict Public School Choice schools is preventing siblings from enrolling in the same schools, causing havoc for parents.  “Of the 114 districts in the School Choice program that responded to a survey sent by School Choice program director Jessani Gordon in early December, 19 said the DOE’s enrollment targets would prevent them from accepting the siblings.” (Here's my take last month at Asbury Park Press.)

Gov. Chris Christie says that the State Supreme Court is  “not accountable to anyone”and responsible for “enormous mistakes in the educational system in this state and in the housing system in this state.” (Asbury Park Press)

Sandra Stotsky says in the Wall St. Journal that the Common Core standards in math aren’t ambitious enough for students who want to pursue STEM careers because they eliminate "major topics in trigonometry and precalculus." Pre-Common Core, she says, both Massachusetts and California included these math topics in high school standards.  (Note: states are free to surpass CCSS.)

Mike Petrelli at Fordham's Flypaper  celebrates 2014, the Year of Universal Proficiency, per George W. Bush and No Child Left Behind: "Those of us who fail to heed the lessons of history are destined to repeat it. So let us take this moment, as we enter the New Year, to remember the hubris that caused reformers, policy elites, members of Congress, and the George W. Bush Administration to set the goal of attaining 'universal proficiency' in reading and math by 2014."

I've got an article in the January issue of  New Jersey Family on the impact of the Common Core and PARCC testing on NJ classrooms. You can also pick up free hard copies at lots of locations in south and central Jersey.