Sunday Leftovers

Tom Moran on Christie's Common Core flip-flop and the "character issue":
 Christie was once a leading cheerleader for these standards -- before he started running for president.
In our schools, districts have built lesson plans around these standards and trained teachers to work by them. They've had support from every major educational group, even the teachers union. This kind of consensus is rare in education.
But the Republican base doesn't like it, so Christie decided to dance.
It's telling that he made this move a month before his own advisory commission on testing and the Common Core standards is scheduled to make its report.
"I can't speak to that," said David Hespe, the acting commissioner of education and the chairman of that group. The poor guy.
Also see Charles Stile in The Record:
Last week, Christie formally renounced his support for so-called Common Core education standards, which detail a uniform set skill standards that each child must learn at each grade level. New Jersey was one of the first states to adopt the standards five years ago, and Christie was an unabashed supporter.
But Christie’s support waned as the program grew increasingly unpopular with conservatives, who saw it as a symbol of overreach from Washington, D.C.
Christie’s reversals align him closer to the conservative agenda. But some wonder whether this new conservative conversion comes too late for him….Political analysts in South Carolina also said that Christie’s rightward lurch could backfire.
John Mooney was on "All Things Considered" Thursday afternoon talking about Christie's  reversal. The Courier-Post has an overview. The Asbury Park Press says that Christie's "reckless approach will only create more problems and confusion." Also see some bigger-picture look-sees (i.e., in the context of the 2016 race) from MSNBC , Politico, and CNN.

"The state's largest public union, and a frequent critic of Gov. Chris Christie, will begin airing a new television ad Thursday urging the state to begin fully funding the public employee retirement system...The NJEA said it is spending $750,000 a week to air the ad, which will run for 'several weeks.'" (Star-Ledger)

State Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff has proposed that the State be given ten years instead of seven to catch up to pension payments. but "a NJ Spotlight analysis of the payment schedules the Department of Treasury provided legislative staff for both the seven-year and 10-year ramp-up indicates that after 30 years the 10-year schedule would cost taxpayers an extra $14.35 billion." Also see The Trentonian. Sidamon-Eristoff's comments point to acknowledgement by the Christie Administration that its grand pension reform plan, articulated by its Study Commission in February, is dead in the water.

The Christie Administration is asking the feds for a No Child Left Behind waiver from its previous waiver.  NJ Spotlight reports that the state had promised to assign underperforming schools to Regional Achievement Centers, but is asking for permission to exclude Newark, Camden, Paterson and Jersey City because they're state-run districts The waiver of the waiver would give those districts the ability to move directly to other strategies like turnaround schools.. Education Law Center is fighting the move.

Peter Turnamian, assistant superintendent of Newark Public Schools, defends the district's turnaround schools in the Star-Ledger: "In previous years, many people thought of a "Turnaround" school as one in need of intensive government intervention, or one that would be restructured, re-staffed and designated a Renew School. Neither of these scenarios will occur in Newark this year. In fact, many of the schools that have been designated as a "Turnaround" school have outstanding leadership and terrific teachers, and we know that they will use the extra time and resources to raise the bar even higher for Newark's students."

Chris Christie would most likely veto the State Legislature's repeal of New Jersey's superintendent salary cap, reports the Record. An example of the problem: Millburn Public Schools' superintendent salary is capped at $167,500, but the Millburn High School principal makes $192,379. Central Jersey (along with almost everyone else) says the salary cap was a dumb idea.