Sunday Leftovers

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The Star-Ledger Editorial Board on the new high school graduation requirements:

Some advocates fear the new standards will have the opposite effect — actually lowering graduation rates. Davy argues that the higher standards will force struggling students and schools to perform better. How Davy and the school board will ensure those better results is unclear.

NJSBA on Christie’s NJEA Snub:

Ray Pinney, blogger for New Jersey School Boards Association
, writes,

While the NJEA may not be enamored with Gov. Corzine, at least they feel they can work with him. Christie’s snub may motivate NJEA to work harder than they might otherwise have to re-elect Corzine. In fact I was informed that the day after the “snub” went public NJEA received a phone call from someone looking to make a donation to their PAC and did so a few days later. While NJEA President Joyce Powell was diplomatic in her public statement there is no hiding their anger on this “snub”.

Eighth-Graders Do Well in Math:

The Press of Atlantic City reports that New Jersey 8th graders perform well on math assessments “according to an international grading system released Tuesday by the American Institute for Research”:

The news is pretty good for New Jersey, which earned a B for its fourth-grade results and a C-plus for eighth grade and scored above the U.S. averages.

Consolidation News:

Somerset County Executive Superintendent Trudy Doyle held a meeting to discuss a possible merging of Hillsborough and nearby Manville. According to CentralJersey,

Past regionalization efforts halted when residents realized joining another school district could mean increased employment costs since districts would need to agree on a new pay scale for the teachers, potential tax property tax increases for communities, and limited savings. In addition, state law requires the larger school’s contract — the larger districts often pay more than smaller districts — be used when combining districts

Gloucester County’s Elmer Board of Education voted unanimously to endorse a plan for a sending-receiving relationship with Pittsgrove Public Schools. Now the Pittsgrove Board gets to vote.

Teachers in Philly Describe Pressure to Pass Kids Along:

We have the Special Review Assessment in Jersey that awards diplomas to kids who can’t pass standard assessments. Across the river, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer,

The pressure to pass students – even those who rarely go to class or can’t read – is pervasive in the Philadelphia School District, teachers around the city say.

The push comes in memos, in meetings, and in talks about failure rates that are too high, the teachers say. It comes through mountains of paperwork and justification for failing any student. It comes in ways subtle and overt, according to more than a dozen teachers from nine of the city’s 62 high schools.

That Didn’t Take Long:

David Sciarra of the Education Law Center writes in an editorial on New Jersey Newsroom that if the State Budget gets final approval, then the State will have effectively abandoned the School Funding Reform Act just approved in Superior Court on the condition that it be fully funded. It’s not. Writes Sciarra,

The FY2010 budget also jettisons expansion of the Abbott preschool program to 84 additional higher poverty districts across the state. The failure to fund the pre-K expansion formula — a centerpiece of the SFRA — means that over 6,000 children will not be able to attend preschool this September. There is no word on when or if the SFRA preschool formula will actually be funded.

Dysfunctional School Board of the Week Award:

Runner-Up: Clinton Board of Education, where a Board member has sued the full Board to force it to fire the board attorney (see here).

First Place: Wayne Board of Education, which is exploring filing charges against former Superintendent Maria Nuccetelli for pandering to the husband of a school board member (see here).

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