Sunday Leftovers

The Star-Ledger reports that NEA and AFT are two of the biggest spenders among lobbying groups:
The NEA spent $1.2 million during the first six months of 2015, second only among public employee unions to the $1.3 million lobbying bill paid by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington-based research group. AFT ranked fourth with $668,068.
Separately, the NEA spent $25 million on the 2014 elections, more than any other labor union, according to the center. The AFT was 10th with $4.4 million in political expenditures.
The Press of Atlantic City reports that "[t]his year’s public high school freshmen will not have to pass the new state PARCC tests to graduate from high school, the state Department of Education announced last week." And, from The Record, "The state Department of Education (DOE) is seeking feedback on the Common Core State Standards, following a call by Gov. Christie to re-examine them." Also see the Star-Ledger and NJ Spotlight.

"A new kind of public school is becoming reality in New Jersey’s poorest city, despite the objection of a teachers union and other activists." The Asbury Park Press continues, "[t]he city now has seven Renaissance Schools, which are operated by three groups that also run charter schools. The city school district has approved having them educate up to 9,700 of its 15,000 public school students eventually." Also see NJ Spotlight, which reports that the "first facility built under Urban Hope Act of 2012 may be precursor of a whole different school system for Camden"

"The LEAP Academy Charter School cut the ribbon on their fifth downtown Camden building and it's one that's on the cutting edge of education and technology." LEAP has had a 100% graduation rate and 100% college placement rate for eleven straight years.

From The Record:
 The [Paterson] school district’s alternative education program for troubled sixth through eighth graders has been operating this year with more staff members than it has students, according to information provided by district officials.
As of Tuesday, there were 11 students enrolled in the alternative school, located in a building in Prospect Park for which the district is paying about $220,000 in annual rent, officials said. Meanwhile, there are 12 staff members working at the school, including a principal.
The Daily Record reports on families that fake residency in neighboring school districts in order to secure a better education for their children.

Brittany Chord Parmley. former Communications Director of Newark Public Schools, has a new gig in California: "While I look forward to the personal and professional opportunities ahead, I am extremely proud of the work being done to serve our students and staff  and firmly believe that Newark's students will continue to benefit from the changes that are underway in the District," she said."

Check out the new blog, New Jersey Education Aid, which continues to amass data regarding the unsustainability of and flaws in N.J.'s school funding aid formula, also known as SFRA. Ex.: "Jersey Shore microdistricts districts are among the worst aid hoarders in New Jersey.  In some cases they get tens of thousands of dollars per student when they need virtually nothing.  Allenhurst, for instance, has four students and yet gets $47,475 in state aid!  Allenhurst's school tax rate is 0.0060!  Cape May Point also has four students and yet gets $26,803.  Cape May Point's school tax rate is 0.0082. "

ICYMI, here's my Spotlight column on "moving beyond good and evil in the Newark school reform debate."