Sunday, February 28, 2016

Sunday Leftovers

A publication called Jacobin, which defines itself as "a leading voice of the American left, offering socialist perspectives on politics, economics, and culture," has an article on the travails of Red Bank Charter School written by Will Johnson. (Hat tip: Alexander Russo.) It has a number of errors, for example its' factually-incorrect description of  Newark schools and the Facebook donation. On the other hand, it's a convenient assemblage of standard anti-charter rhetoric. Example:
Charter schools are privately controlled schools funded by public dollars. They are often exempted from district regulations concerning everything from school admissions (unlike public schools, charters do not have to admit all neighborhood children) to teacher workload (most charters aren’t covered by union contracts).
This lack of regulation has led to widespread corruption, as well as tremendous instability. A 2013 New York Times investigation found that while teachers in traditional public schools have an average of fourteen years of experience, “charter networks are developing what amounts to a youth cult in which teaching for two to five years is seen as acceptable and, at times, even desirable.”
For counterpoint, see this guest editorial from the principal at Red Bank Charter School.

The Trentonian:
 As ongoing contract negotiations commence between the Hamilton Township Board of Education and the teachers who are seeking respectable salary increases, Superintendent of Schools Thomas J. Ficarra revealed the Hamilton Township School District is facing an estimated $11.5 million projected budget deficit for 2016-17.
In response to the budget crunch, Ficarra has proposed possible cuts to programs and staff, including eliminating Hamilton’s adult and community education program and cutting the nine elementary-level Spanish teachers.
Hamilton is one of N.J. largest school districts. Voters have a history of voting down budget increase referenda, which are required if the district wants to raise taxes above the 2% state cap.

Also in the Trentonian (which appears to be picking up its education coverage), Trenton High School students are increasing their participation in physics courses, thanks to a new program (lauded by none other than Al Sharpton) called PSI.

Newark Public Schools is giving 12 old buildings to the Housing Authority, which will free up between $2-$4 million per year. Bob Braun is grumpy.

Some Lakewood parents who actually send their children to public schools (unlike most parents there who send their children to Jewish day schools but control the school board) have petitioned the State to take over the troubled school district.

I've got a new piece up at NJ Family on how suburban districts are responding to parent concerns that kids get too much homework.

We're teaching math all wrong, says Andrew Hacker, because 82 percent of Americans adults" could not compute the cost of a carpet when told its dimensions and square-yard price." Instead, we need to teach "quantitative numeracy."

OT: great article in the New York Times on the GOP's "desperate mission" to stop Trump and Christie's role:
The endorsement by Mr. Christie, a not unblemished but still highly regarded figure within the party’s elite — he is a former chairman of the Republican Governors Association — landed Friday with crippling force. It was by far the most important defection to Mr. Trump’s insurgency: Mr. Christie may give cover to other Republicans tempted to join Mr. Trump rather than trying to beat him. Not just the Stop Trump forces seemed in peril, but also the traditional party establishment itself.

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