Sunday Leftovers

Camden Public Schools press release: "Superintendent Paymon Rouhanifard today announced the planned opening of two public renaissance schools and the beginning of greater support for special education services as part of a broader effort to ensure all students can attend high-quality schools that prepare them for future success. These actions mark the next step forward in fulfilling the Camden Commitment, the strategic plan released earlier this year." The two renaissance schools will be run by Uncommon Schools and Mastery Charter Schools, two of the most highly-regarded charter school operators in the nation. More on this to come.

Trenton Superintendent Francisco Duran is on the short list for Superintendent of  Anne Arundel County Schools in Maryland, reports the Trentonian.  It would be a big step up for Duran – Anne Arundel is  a 79,000-student district with a $1 billion dollar budget.  (Hmm: twice as many kids as Newark, comparable annual budget. There’s something to be said for county-wide school districts.)

Groundhog Day Redux: Education Law Center says that  if the Legislature enacts Gov. Christie’s flat school aid package, “the FY15 State Budget will bring a fifth straight year of cuts to staff, programs and services in many NJ districts.” These cuts, the Abbott advocates note, violates Corzine’s School Funding Reform Act so ELC has filed a motion with the State Supreme Court.

From NJ Spotlight, a report on the State Board of Education public meeting where NJEA showed up with 1,000 letters from teachers complaining about the new teacher evaluation system:
The letters, complementing testimony by more than 70 teachers who appeared before the state board last month, were the subject of considerable discussion by state board members during their meeting yesterday, as they considered a series of mostly routine amendments to the regulations.While the amendments were not debated much, both administration officials and board members said there clearly appeared to be a communications problem in getting across details of the new evaluation system.

Several said that some of the stories being told by teachers in their letters and testimony don’t match what the state has actually required.
JerseyCAN is pushing for a repeal of the teacher residency requirement: "The New Jersey First Act requires that all state employees, including teachers, must live in New Jersey within one year of starting their jobs. This law places an unfair burden on teachers and their families, particularly those who work near state borders. Teachers should have the flexibility to live where they want and should not have to go through a time-consuming, burdensome process to be exempted from this requirement."

“The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey,” reports the Star Ledger, “has threatened lawsuits against more than 130 school districts unless they change their student enrollment policies within the next month to make them less discriminatory.” ACLU contends that “The practice discriminates against immigrant families." More coverage from the Press of Atlantic City.

Newark Public Schools has a new and improved news feed.

A question from the Star-Ledger: "New Jersey has one of the strictest anti-bullying laws in the country, to take school districts to task when they fail to protect victims. But now there’s a new battle brewing: If districts can be sued for monetary damages in lawsuits brought under this statute, why not bullies and their parents, too? "

Dr. Larry Feinsod of NJSBA comments on the pending release of a new report by the NJSBA Special Education Task Force. “ Public education should not be viewed as two separate systems—general education and special education—but rather as one continuum of instruction, programs, interventions, and services that respond to individual student needs. In other words, as experts and advocates advised the Task Force, special education is a service provided to children, not a separate place to put them."

Two Philadelphia traditional public schools will be turned over to charter operators, conditional on the approval of parents.