Sunday Leftovers

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and Gov. Christie will work together on a transition plan to return local control of public schools to Newark, and the plan will start with the appointment of a Newark Educational Success Board. "The group – a panel of nine people with four appointed by the mayor and five, including Cerf, appointed by the governor – will be tasked with providing a return-to-local-control plan, with benchmarks, by the end of the 2015-16 school year, the announcement said. The goal is to '(restore) full local control as soon as possible after the established benchmarks have been met.'" 

N.J. State Senator Cory Booker said that "Cami Anderson accomplished much during her tenure as head of Newark public Schools, 'things that will in time come to light.'" reports the Star Ledger, including forging a close partnership with AFT and ensuring that charter schools represent traditional district enrollment." (Sen. Booker must not follow Randi Weingarten's tweets.) "She came here, she gave service, and she's now moved on," Booker said. "Let's look forward to the next superintendent, which I see as an interim superintendent,  leading to a much more urgent cause, which is a return to local control. Hopefully we will see that in a year or two."

Gov.  Christie said that Anderson did an extraordinary job but “it was time for Cami to move on. Four years of full-scale combat in Newark is a lot for anybody,”

In a demonstration of the challenges confronting a return to local control in Newark, the School Advisory Board voted to endorse a bill that would place a moratorium on all charter school growth, despite the fact that almost 40% of Newark students already attend charters and another 10,000 students sit on Newark charter school waiting lists. (On the other hand, last month the Newark City Council approved a resolution that opposes the proposed moratorium.) Also, 100 members of the clergy called for a dismantling of Anderson's One Newark plan.

"As if Newark schools didn’t provide enough drama for the Christie administration lately, the state has received a rebuke from the U.S. Department of Education as to how it has carried out its school monitoring and improvement efforts in the district." (NJ SpotlightHere's the press release from Education Law Center.

Democrats tacked on an extra $40 million to the state budget for pet projects, including $7 million for vocational schools, $5.2 million for security for non-public schools, $20 million for Paterson Public School District, and a cool million for Montclair for "achievement gap" funding. (Why does suburban Montclair get subsidies for issues shared by all schools? Beats me. Anyway, Christie vetoed the line item.) See NJ Spotlight, PolitickerNJ, Star Ledger

Speaking of Montclair, the district interim superintendent Roland Bolandi was quizzed by the Montclair Civil Rights Commission about a new report issued by the Montclair Achievement Gap Advisory Panel. The study was initiated by former superintendent Penny MacCormack, who resigned in April to take another job (and after sustained shelling from Montclair's anti-reform army). The Commission asked about achievement gaps, suspension gaps, and the pending approval of a new $170K/per year position called "assistant superintendent of equity and achievement." Here's Bolandi on whether there's a correlation between race or poverty and academic achievement: "When I hear that bullshit about socioeconomics and they can't learn because of poverty, that's bullshit." See The Record.

The Paterson Press reports that Paterson Public Schools mistakenly advertised for a special education director without requiring special education experience. “There’s nothing about special education,” said Luisa Alcala-Van Ess, a child psychologist who works with special education students at School 27. “This is why special education in this district is going down the tubes. They hire people who don’t know what’s going on.”

Little Ferry School District is pleased that PARCC will be reduced to one testing window next year.  Supervisor of Instruction Rachael Carletto told the Record, "overall, the PARCC test administration was a positive experience. Students enjoyed taking a computerized test. It was the length of the PBA [performance-based assessment] and two test sessions that were a bit of a struggle for some learners." 

The Jersey Journal reports that "a bill aimed at providing more resources and to increase the number of educators qualified in the state to teach students with autism has been approved by a State Assembly panel."

The Courier Post looks at Christie's budget and says that both NJEA and public schools lost.