Sunday Leftovers

In case you missed it, here’s my WHYY Newsworks column this week on what Newark can learn from Camden’s charter school expansion.

While 12,000 Newark student sign up for Cami Anderson’s “One Newark” universal enrollment plan, reports the Star Ledger,  mayoral candidate Ras Baraka, members of the People’s Organization for Progress and the Newark Students Union rally against it.

NJ Spotlight asks, “Will School-Funding Formula Survive Christie’s Flouting of Law?: "For the first time under his term and since the state Supreme Court endorsed the School Funding Reform Act, Christie and his administration are not even using the formula in determining changes in state education aid next year."  Also see the Press of Atlantic City.

The new teacher evaluation system is working better than some expected. From NJ Spotlight: “For all the debate going on outside classroom walls, New Jersey schoolteachers who actually have been through the new state-mandated evaluation system have not found it to be as nerve-wracking as everyone thinks.”

Also in Spotlight, an update on the roll-out of PARCC tests, piloting this year.  From a principal in Lodi: “'it worked fine' said principal Emil Carafa. The school will accommodate the testing in its computer lab, and also a portable bank of computers that can move from classroom to classroom.” But there are lots of concerns. Also in Spotlight, a list of the top education bloggers in the Jerz.

"Anti-bullying requirements cost 206 New Jersey school districts — or 39.5 percent of districts throughout the state — more than $2 million in training, software and personnel between 2011 and 2012, according to a 2012 survey led by the New Jersey School Boards Association. But here’s the rub: In a 2013 study by researchers at the University of Texas and Michigan State University, researchers found that students who attended schools with bullying-prevention programs were more likely to have reported experiencing victimization themselves." (Asbury Park Press) Here’s additional coverage from The Record. [Maybe the increase in bullying incident reports is from increased awareness? Not necessarily a bad thing.]

Troy Singleton (D-Burlington) and a Long Branch Board of Education member urge Christie to build schools in order to employ construction workers.

Is it now politically acceptable to say that not all students will go to college? Mike Petrelli steps on the third rail:
At the same time, however, rather than pretend that we’re going to get “all students” to “climb the mountain to college,” we should build a system that helps many students find another road to the middle class—a path that starts with a better prekindergarten-through-eighth-grade education and then develops strong technical and interpersonal skills in high school and at community colleges. This is an honorable path, and one that’s much sturdier than the rickety bridges to failure that we’ve got now.
The New York Times Editorial Board provides a balanced discussion of Mayor Bill de Blasio and charter schools: “As for the tone of the debate, charter advocates need to put aside the hyperbole about being under siege. For his part, Mr. de Blasio needs to renounce divisive rhetoric that portrays the city’s charter schools as alien institutions instead of the public schools that they actually are.”

Paul Hill at the Center for Reinventing Public Education addresses the misuse of power in NYC as Mayor de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina consider charging rent to charter schools:
The New York City rent situation illustrates a conflict of interest in traditional school system governance. The people who control the school district can protect some schools and undermine others for reasons other than providing the best set of schools possible for the city’s children. They can use control over facilities—including raising rents and forcing disruptive moves—as a way of rewarding friends and whacking enemies.