Sunday Leftovers

NJ Spotlight analyzes the most recent group of tenure cases under NJ's new tenure law and finds that teacher dismissals have nothing to do with student test scores:
[I]n most of tenure cases so far under the new law, the arguments have been over typically either individual incidents of alleged misconduct or longer patterns of teachers failing to improve their practices. Chronic absenteeism is a common issue, too. And the current process has proven to be a fickle one, with districts by no means winning a preponderance of decisions. .
The Star Ledger: "Five new urban charter schools — with focuses on international studies, STEM and health sciences — received final approval to open in September, state education officials announced today.Acting Education Commissioner David Hespe announced approvals for the Atlantic City Community Charter School, Great Futures Charter High School for Health Sciences in Jersey City, International Academy of Trenton Charter School, Trenton STEM to Civic Charter School and Link Community Charter School, serving students from Newark, Orange, East Orange and Irvington."

Also see NJ Spotlight for an overview of Ed. Comm. David Hespe's charter school strategy.

The Record reviews Gov. Christie's Executive Order that phases in the linking of student growth to teacher evaluations and NJEA's description of the Order as a "victory." ICYMI, here's my WHYY Newsworks column on Christie's decision. Also see NJ Spotlight and today's editorial from the South Jersey Times.

Also in The Record, an analysis of the GOP pushback against the Common Core displayed at the National Governors Association meeting:  "[r]eviled by staunch conservatives, the common education standards designed to improve schools and student competitiveness are being modified by some Republican governors, who are pushing back against what they call the federal government's intrusion into the classroom. The standards and even the words, "Common Core," have "become, in a sense, radioactive," said Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, a Republican whose state voluntarily adopted the standards in 2010."

And from the New York Times: "So an issue that was held up only a short while ago as a shining example of the governors at their solutions-oriented best has become one more example of the country’s divided politics. "

Diane Ravitch jumps on conservative bandwagon: "No matter how many resolutions are passed at this or any other convention, the Common Core standards are going nowhere. State after state is dropping them or the federal tests or both. The standards ignore the root causes of low academic achievement: poverty and segregation. There is no proof that they will fulfill their lofty goals. They will end up one day as a case study in college courses of the abuse of power: how one man tried to buy American education and bypass democratic procedures. Even in states with high standards, like Massachusetts and California, there are large achievement gaps. Even in the same classrooms with the same teacher, there are variations in test scores. "

Ravitch also got nailed this week for sexist comments she made about Campbell Brown. Jonathan Chait brought the Washington Post interview to everyone's attention and Ravitch's slight was considered by the NY Post, Talking Points Memo and many other publications.  Also see Peter Wehner in Commentary:  "her complete shift on education reminds me of the words of Thomas More in A Man For All Seasons: 'Listen, Roper. Two years ago you were a passionate Churchman; now you’re a passionate — Lutheran. We must just pray that when your head’s finished turning, your face is to the front again.'”

Mashea Ashton, CEO of the Newark Charter School Fund, writes in Huffington Post,
Funding disparities between district and charter schools are growing, fueling inequality among public schools that must be addressed if all U.S. students are to be competitive in the global economy. There's a prevailing perception that public charter schools are better funded than district schools. In fact, research shows that the opposite is true, and the myths about charter school resources distract from fruitful discussions on how to achieve resource equity in terms of both funding and facilities. Any discussion of inequity should focus on ensuring that all public school students, whether they attend a district or charter school, have access to the same resources.

This week's issue of the New Yorker has a long essay by Rachel Aviv on the test-cheating scandal in Atlanta.  Chad Alderman has five thoughts, including the piece's lack of context and misunderstanding of NCLB,