NJEA panics over news that school districts with high opt-out numbers could lose funding because the union, along with SOS-NJ, specifically assured parents that test refusals were without consequence. Mike Yaple of the DOE:
The bottom line is that the law requires all students to be tested, and failure to take the test ultimately hurts kids, especially those who are most vulnerable," Yaple said. "That is why it's unfortunate that some organizations have encouraged parents to refuse taking the test, and have misled parents by suggesting there are no consequences."
Tom Moran says that the State shouldn't withhold funding over high opt-out numbers because "we shouldn't punish the neediest kids for the misguided actions of parents who feel they have nothing to lose."
NJ Spotlight quotes Gov. Christie on why we need annual statewide testing:
I grew up in Livingston, a great school system where most kids did really well. And maybe they’re not worried as much in a district like that. And in Montclair, it’s an outstanding school system, and you’re not worried as much. But the fact is we need to know in other places where kids are not doing as well. And we need to be able to compare it other places.
A Syracuse paper comments, "child development experts said the tests aren't harmful for most children. And the contrary might even be true: Opting kids out can send a confusing message
to a young child whose life will be full of tests and potential failure." (Hat tip: Erika Sanzi.)
Camden Superintendent Paymon Rouhanifard responds to NJEA’s complaint intended to stop expansion of renaissance schools in Camden:
“What we’ve proposed is to dramatically improve five schools sincerely in need and what we’re proposing here is to revitalize those buildings and renovate them and to make sure those students receive a great academic experience and those schools have been struggling for decades and decades. Look, change is hard, change is complex. We’re not surprised to see anxieties out of the community. NJEA is the state teachers’ union and we respect their decision to file the motion.”
Here's coverage from NJ Spotlight, which notes, "[t]he fact that the formal challenge comes from the NJEA is not entirely surprising, either, given it is its members whose jobs could be at stake in the closings.However, leaders of the local Camden Education Association had taken part in announcements of the plans for the five schools. And that local teachers union recently approved a new contract that called for an early retirement plan to soften the impact the charter-school conversion will have on jobs."
My coverage here.
The Star Ledger covers the Assembly Budget Committee hearing where Ed. Comm. David Hespe explained, once again, that the state doesn't have enough to fund the pre-recession School Funding Reform Act. More on the budget from NJ Spotlight here and here.
The Philadelphia Inquirer examines NJEA's decision to cut off talks with the Christie Administration over long-term pension strategies. The Star Ledger reports that "Christie's lawyers argued in the brief that unions are using the contract label to bulldoze over the appropriations, veto and debt limitation clauses in the state constitution."
Ron Rice Jr.
urges legislators to drop the charter moratorium bill: "Make no mistake: A.4351 is misguided legislation. I know that the sponsors of the bill are decent, hardworking and compassionate leaders. As a former elected official, I believe we all make mistakes, even on our best days, in service to our communities. That is not a sin. The sin is in not admitting it. Pull this bill to empower New Jersey parents to make the best public school choices for their children."
The Paterson Board of Education, reports The Record,
wants a moratorium on charter schools within city limits.
We Raise NJ
held a conference Monday, featuring Sonja Brookins Santelises of Education trust. From Star Ledger
When parents tell Sonja Brookins Santelises that their children are going to a good school, Santelises poses a question, she said. For whom is this a good school?
To make that determination, parents need access to data showing student performance of racial and economic subgroups, said Santelises, vice president of The Education Trust, a national non-profit educational advocacy organization.
"Without common data, without data that tells us how young people in schools are doing across communities, we have no idea where we are on our chart to educational excellence for all kids," Santelises said.
(son of U.S. Congressman Dick Zimmer of N.J.) delightfully parses the phrasal verb "opt out": is the plural form "opters-out" or "opt-outers?" He writes, "the testing dissidents, for their part, are mostly opting for “opt-outer”—likely because “opt-out” has become such a fixed expression, and “-er” just gets tacked on to the end. And if you don’t like using that word, that would make you an “opt-outer” opt-outer.