Bob the Doxer et. seq.: See "Bob Braun's Story is Now About Bob Braun" and "Doxing to Defend Student Privacy." My coverage here and here. In related matters, The New Jersey Legislature was consumed by PARCC privacy issues this week. See NJ Spotlight (also here), the Asbury Park Press, the Star Ledger, The origin of the story is here. Here's some non-hysteria from Bellwether.
"New Jersey schools would have to accommodate students who don't want to take standardized tests and a task force would study the implementation and effectiveness of PARCC under bills approved today by the state Assembly Education Committee." See the Star Ledger and The Record.
The Star Ledger reports on another bill that would delay linking teacher evaluations to student outcomes: "The state's largest teachers union, and some parents, have decried the use of PARCC data in teacher evaluations, and a bill passed by the state Assembly would ban using PARCC data to evaluate teachers for three years. Meanwhile, skeptics question whether union leaders are opposed to PARCC itself or the idea of being evaluated based on test data."
Here's Sandra Alberti: "Wendell Steinhauer of the New Jersey Education Association recently wrote of his concerns with PARCC and 'high stakes standardized testing' in general. In addition, his group is spending millions of dollars on a campaign to propagate anti-testing sentiment. As an educator with a career spanning 23 years who has administered previous tests, I also have raised concerns about potential problems related to using the assessments to evaluate educators. However, I strenuously disagree with most everything else Steinhauer has been saying about how the tests 'shift schools' priorities.'"
Here's the good news about PARCC.
Governor Christie is "discouraged" by the PARCC opt-out movement.
Charter Schools: From NJ Spotlight: "The Christie administration renewed 14 charter schools for another five years, but placed half of them on probation in what is becoming a tough balancing act of both supporting the alternative schools and holding them to tougher standards." Two rejected applications came from traditional district Camden City schools that were seeking to convert to charter status, explains the South Jersey Times and the Philadelphia Inquirer. See me commentary here.
Pensions: Joan Quigley of the Jersey Journal opines, “Maybe one of the reasons the New Jersey Education Association agreed to negotiate with members of the governor's Pension and Health Benefit Study Commission is that they don't have as much to lose as you do. Their Roadmap to Establish Direction for Solving NJ Pension and Health Benefits Issues makes that clear… [C]urrent members of the NJEA wouldn't lose a thing, but each town would pay into their pension fund going forward, while the state merely catches up on the payments it's been missing all along."
Lakewood update: The Lakewood Board of Education, says the Asbury Park Press, "appointed to a vacant seat the only person who did not attend an interview session for the position. Now that person doesn’t want it.” Board member Isaac Zlatkin explained, “She is female, she is African American, she is a graduate of Georgian Court University. We looked at the resume and picked the best one.”
Another applicant was Carl Fink, a former board president who was defeated at the polls last year.
Fink grabbed a piece of paper during the meeting and wrote out his request to be considered, after complaining that three of the candidates missed the deadline that the district had set for applying for the position.
Et. al.: Trenton Public Schools has a $17.3 million budget gap and so, says the Trenton Times, "the school board will vote on Monday to approve a budget proposal for next school year that calls for the elimination of 226 positions."
This is the second straight appointment where the board of education missed the deadline: current Board President Ada Gonzalez was also appointed by McMahon, in October. Gonzalez subsequently did not complete the required background check until last week.
The Jersey Journal OPRA'd every public agency in Hudson County to try to get names and salaries of employees. Here is Jersey City Schools' response:
Jersey City's school district, as one example, provided an Excel spreadsheet, but instead of emailing it, district officials burned it onto a compact disc and mailed it to The Jersey Journal's office, along with a note asking for one dollar to reimburse the district for the cost of the CD. When the newspaper filed a subsequent, related OPRA request and alerted district officials that they could email the file over at no cost, the district again mailed a CD containing an Excel file, along with a request for a second dollar.