Sunday Leftovers

Education News looks at the first results of N.J.'s value-added teacher evaluations, which "found that overall, 23.4% of teachers received “highly effective ratings; 73.9% of teachers were rated “effective”; 2.5% were rated “partially effective”, a rating which can affect tenure; and .02%, about 200 total teachers in the state, were rated “ineffective.” Also see NJ Spotlight, the Record,  Here's the DOE report.

From today's Star-Ledger on how "fears about the tests were overblown":
The state found that the final scores of teachers who were judged on student growth barely differed from those who were not. This is only the first round of new evaluations, and it's still too early to tell if the system is working. It will definitely need some tinkering. The weight of state tests and the scoring of classroom observations must be fine-tuned to better separate great from good, good from fair, and fair from poor. 
But we should give it a chance. This seems like a cautious rollout, not a "war on teachers," as some have portrayed it. The union slogan, "You can't tell who is a good teacher based on a test score," has no actual basis in reality. This is not a test-score based evaluation. What's gotten lost in this debate is that most of the weight still rests with the judgement of supervisors in the classroom.
In response to Gov. Christie's (unfounded) conclusion that the Common Core "isn't working," Ed. Comm. David Hespe will convene a panel to assess the standards. NJ Spotlight reports Hespe's diplomatic comment that "this is more of a renovation, not a tear-down.” Also see the Star-Ledger.

Also this from "Patrick McGuinn, a politics professor at Drew University who closely follows federal education policy. 'Christie will appoint a high-profile commission to review the standards and make recommendations, and it will take long enough so that the politics around Common Core will have calmed down and/or Christie is out of the presidential race or out of the governor’s seat,' he said." And here's The Record's follow-up.

From the A.P.: "close observers of the nascent race for the White House say Christie isn't the only one making pivots, and that changes come with the territory for any politician trying to launch a national campaign for the first time."

The State Assembly Education Committee passed two bills, one that forbids the state from withholding state aid from districts without 95% participation in PARCC tests and another that requires criminal background checks for people with access to student data. See the Star Ledger, the Record, PolitickerNJ,

NJ Spotlight reports on new teacher requirements that extend in-class training from one semester to two.

"Newark Board of Education leaders on Wednesday submitted a petition to the state Board of Education asking it to immediately remove Anderson because of 'inefficiency, incapacity or conduct unbecoming a superintendent.'"

Jersey City teachers approved a contract with annual 2.7% raises.

Today's Record: "The former principal at John F. Kennedy High School claims in a lawsuit filed last month that his attempt to appoint a white head football coach in 2012 was overruled by the district’s superintendent for racial reasons."

"With constant battles against budget cuts in education, one New Jersey school district [Woodstown-Pilesgrove Regional School District] is looking at a new window of opportunity by opening student enrollment on a tuition basis, administration officials said."

On pensions from John Reitmeyer: "If state Supreme Court orders full payment of $2.25 billion, it would more than double the previous highest amount kicked in by Gov. Jon Corzine’s administration in FY2008"