Sunday Leftovers

Tom Moran at the Star Ledger has a must-read editorial this morning that begin, "[t]he political meltdown in Newark over school reform has reached an alarming stage and now threatens to derail the entire effort." I've written about this here,  here,  and here.

In case you were wondering, “New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says the state’s schoolchildren will have to make up the snow days they’ve missed in this unusually harsh winter.”

Everyone is  thrilled at Christie's nomination of David Hespe to replace former Ed. Comm. Chris Cerf. Lawrence Feinsod at NJ School Boards Association says, “I can’t think of a better choice for the position… He is genuine in his support for public education and in his dedication to students. We look forward to working with him.” Here's related news on Hespe from NJ Spotlight, The Record, and the Asbury Park Press.

The Daily Journal: “A district survey last year found four of every five students in Camden’s middle and high schools don’t feel safe going to and from school, and half of elementary students fear for their safety in hallways and bathrooms.To remedy that, city, police and school officials gathered this week at Woodrow Wilson High School to announce a comprehensive five-point safety plan.”

Hola, a successful dual-language charter school in Hoboken with far more applicants than seats, wants to expand by one grade level, says the Star Ledger,  but "the local superintendent, Mark Toback, is trying to stop them.”

The public relations chair of the Camden Education Association argues against charter schools.

From the Philadelphia Inquirer: “Philadelphia charter school powerhouse Mastery Schools was given the green light Friday to operate in Camden, where the organization also hopes to open a "Renaissance" school through a separate application process.”

Across the Hudson, "this is a high-noon moment for charters. These three [NY Gov. Cuomo, President Obama, and Ed. Sec. Arne Duncan] can either get out in public to defend these schools, or pull down the shades while Bill de Blasio and his union pals kill them off one by one over the next four years." 

Great Mark Magyar analysis of NJ’s public employee pension woes and the political strategies of Christie and Sweeney.

The Jersey Journal lists top pension recipients in NJ.  First on the list is former Jersey City superintendent Charles Epps, who gets $195K per year. “Coming in at No. 4 is retired North Bergen High School football coach Vincent Ascolese, who has a $180,180 pension, while former North Bergen schools chief Robert Dandorph is at No. 9 with $159,900.”

Paterson Public Schools will face a “fiscal cliff” next year, reports the Record, and the school board is wrestling with options. Hamilton (Mercer County) is also experiencing difficulties that include technology needs and a a $6.7 million special needs spending plan.

A NJ school board member who describes himself as representing an “under aided, overtaxed, budget-pressured district in Essex County” writes in the Alternative Press that NJ's Interdistrict t Public School Choice Program "is a great idea in theory" but "the bottom line is that its cost growth is unsustainable, the funding formula grossly overpays receiving districts, and Choice money aggravates existing funding disparities between New Jersey districts.  Interdistrict Choice provides benefits to a small number of students and districts, but at the expense of the vast majority of New Jersey students and districts that do not and cannot participate."

In related news,  The Press of Atlantic City looks at state school aid figures, with a focus on Interdistrict Public School Choice districts. One extreme example: ” In West Cape May, choice aid makes up all but $80,000 of its total $508,000 in state aid.”

From the Wall St. Journal: "A long-simmering movement to scale back the use of standardized tests in K-12 education is beginning to see results, with policy makers and politicians in several states limiting—or trying to limit—the time used for assessments, or delaying the consequences tied to them."