Sunday Leftovers

"The passing rate on state exams went up in nearly every grade and every subject last spring in New Jersey – the second year that the exams known as PARCC were given in grades 3 to 11, Gov. Chris Christie announced today." (Asbury Park Press) Also see NJ Spotlight, the Star-Ledger, and The Record.

The State Board of Education approved PARCC as N.J.'s new high school diploma eligibility exam, beginning with the graduating class of 2021. NJEA wasn't pleased.

In what The Record calls a "stretch goal," the West Orange Board of Education set a plan that would elevate the high school's academic rating to "increase to the top 25 percent in the State of New Jersey by the year 2021."

After threats from NJEA and the Fraternal Order of Police, Senate President Steve Sweeney asked the U.S. and N.J. Attornies General to investigate. Here's the Star-Ledger on NJEA's response and here's mine.

Charles Stile explains the stakes here:
Sweeney argues that he is locked in a fight with Christie in a dual-pronged effort to protect the public worker pensions while resolving a monthlong stalemate with Christie over transportation funding. But public worker unions complained that Sweeney made a clear commitment to pass the pension amendment in the Senate in time to have the question placed before voters on the ballot in November. 
That now appears unlikely. Sweeney said he first wants to resolve the impasse over the Transportation Trust Fund before moving ahead with the pension amendment. He said it would be irresponsible to lock in a guaranteed pension payment — a move that could cost the state more than $2 billion a year — without first knowing the full cost that any transportation agreement would have on the state. 
“You know how easy it would be to give them what they want? I’d be a hero,” he said Thursday, referring to union leaders. But, he added, “If you give in to something, knowing that you are going to create a massive budget shortfall … how do you fund the necessary programs to take care of people in this state?’
Newark Board of Education regained local control over personnel decisions. From the Star-Ledger: "The state Board of Education returned the power to the local school board on Wednesday after the district received a perfect score in personnel practices during a recent state review, Education Commissioner David Hespe said."

Asbury Park Press: "[Barnegat] school district's choice for a physics teacher is being scrutinized by parents, teachers and former board members because the candidate is the brother of the school board's vice president. Eric Geddes, brother of Board of Education Vice President Robert Geddes, was offered nearly $88,000 to work as the high school's physics teacher."

Jeff Bennett debunks the myths surrounding Abbott district funding and calls the Abbott 11 decision "judicial activism at its worst."

An upper-class Philadelphia suburb is changing its grading system because parents are concerned that the current system might "cast their children in an unfair comparative light when they apply for colleges and merit scholarships."

ICYMI, here's my NJ Spotlight editorial on the busing fiasco in Lakewood.