Sunday Leftovers

Preschool Update: W. Steven Barnett, director of the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University, opines in NJ Spotlight on the value of preschool: "Follow-up studies conducted by NIEER find that New Jersey’s preschool program does produce long-term gains in achievement as well as reducing the need for grade repetition and special education (which produces significant cost savings)."

The Asbury Park Press reports that"The Education Law Center renewed a plea this week to increase state funding and expand preschool for 16 poor New Jersey school districts, including four in Ocean County."

It might be worthwhile for ELC and the courts to reconsider the allocation of N.J. preschool grants for poor students. Example: Jersey City is an Abbott since it was high-poverty back in the 1990's when the State Supreme Court issued its list of Abbott districts. Now, twenty-five years later, Jersey City is relatively high-income (as is Hoboken, another Abbott-in-name-only), but residents still get free preschool. NJ Education Aid reports,
For 2015-16 Jersey City's increase for Pre-K was $2.7 million. That might not sound like a lot at first, but remember that the whole Pre-K and K-12 increase for New Jersey was only $8 million.
What's additionally ridiculous about this is that most of Jersey City's new residents are high-income. Over the next few years the absurdity of rich Abbott residents getting "free" Pre-K while poor non-Abbott residents go hang is going to become even more common. 
Also see David L. Kirp in today's New York Times, who concludes, "you get what you pay for." And here's a recent post of mine on N.J.'s Abbott preschools.

New Jersey taxpayers are still rebelling at high school costs and this week rejected 8 out of 10 district referenda on spending that went above the state-mandated 2% cap on school tax increases. See NJ School Boards Association and Asbury Park Press,

Fifteen N.J. schools were named "National Blue Ribbon Schools." Among the nine public ones (the other six winners are private schools), four are magnets, either in-district or through county vo-tech programs. (Star-Ledger.)

Contrary to needs and laws, Education Law Center continues to insist that charter school surplus funds be held to the same cap (2%) as traditional districts. Here's my view.

Trenton parents of children with disabilities have a new resource center.

From NJ Spotlight: "The Christie administration’s proposal to extend the student-teaching requirement to a full year is getting some new pushback from leaders of the state’s colleges and universities."

Mischief in Brick: "Tuesday, an Ocean County grand jury issued a 19-count indictment against [Superintendent Walter] Uszenski, his daughter and two former school officials. They were indicted on charges connected to a scheme to give the Uszenski's grandson taxpayer-funded services the child wasn't legally entitled to, officials said Tuesday."

Oh, and in case you've been in a cave, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan resigned, the immensely-talented John King was appointed as Acting Secretary, and NEA endorsed Hillary Clinton despite intense opposition from Sanders supporters. NJEA was one of the state units that expressed their disapprobation at NEA's action.

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