Sunday Leftovers

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Don’t miss Tom Moran’s editorial today on teacher tenure, which the Perth Amboy Superintendent describes as “the single greatest impediment to education improvement in New Jersey, without a doubt.” Kudos to NJEA’s leadership; Vince Giordano, Executive Director, tells Moran, “We’ve turned a corner. We want to be part of the solution.”

According to the Data Quality Campaign, NJ lags behind 27 states in effective use of student data to improve instructions. Says The Record, “New Jersey can track K-12 data over time, for example, but does not yet produce reports using that data to guide change. The state also does not have a purposeful research agenda, the report said.”

Today’s Star-Ledger notes that “roughly one-third of the state’s school board members have failed to comply with a law signed seven months ago that requires all members to undergo criminal background checks.” Members of boards from Asbury Park, Plainfield, and Atlantic City have been removed for drug possession crimes.

Supporters and detractors of the Opportunity Scholarship Act held rallies this week as the Legislature entertains the possibility of passing some version of the original bill. 2,500 supporters demonstrated in Trenton on Thursday (Star-Ledger) and 75 opponents gathered in Jersey City (NJ Spotlight)

Carly Bolger, director of the NJ Department of Education’s charter school office, has a new gig as Director of the New Schools Office in Chicago. Bolger is leaving because of a relationship in Chicago. (NJ Spotlight)

Speaking of charter schools (and also in NJ Spotlight), four of these autonomous public schools have filed a petition with Ed. Comm. Chris Cerf asking for their full share of funding as stipulated under law. Charters are supposed to get 90% of per pupil funding (local districts keep 10%) but many charters receive far less. Shelly Skinner, a Board member of a charter in Jersey City, noted, “We’re required to provide a thorough and efficient education like everyone else, but we don’t have the resources. Parents didn’t just waive their right to that when they enroll in a charter, and that is what the state is asking them to do.”

Jersey City Public Schools has a replacement for former Superintendent Charles Epps. Associate Superintendent Franklin Walker will take the helm after a School Board vote of 6-3, reports the Jersey Journal.

Mike Lilley of Better Education For Kids and Tim Melton of Students First have an editorial in the Star-Ledger describing their group’s agenda: “the interests of students must be the first priority. Second, there must be an effective teacher in every classroom. Third, teachers must be given the necessary training and resources to be effective. And fourth, all public policy — and all administrative and personnel policies — must support these goals.”

From the Star-Ledger: “Two contractors have admitted rigging bids and inflating school contracts for construction projects in the Westfield and Scotch Plains-Fanwood school districts, the state Attorney General’s Office said today.”

Here’s a follow-up from The Record on the Wayne Hills football players accused of “badly beating up” two fellow students.

In other football news, the Philadelphia Eagles will foot the bill for a new artificial turf field for Camden High.

Mayor Mike Bloomberg, in what the Wall Street Journal describes as “off-the-cuff comments” at MIT, said, “If I had the ability, which nobody does really, to just design a system and say, ‘ex cathedra, this is what we’re going to do,’ you would cut the number of teachers in half, but you would double the compensation of them, and you would weed out all the bad ones and just have good teachers. And double the class size with a better teacher is a good deal for the students.”

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3 Comments

  • Julia, December 4, 2011 @ 8:54 pm Reply

    HOW MUCH FAKE SCHOOL VOUCHER SUPPORT CAN WALMART MONEY BUY?

    “Jaffe Communications has coordinated a Thursday morning public affairs rally to urge the New Jersey State Legislature to pass the Opportunity Scholarship Act…The rally is one part of a multifaceted public affairs campaign launched last month by the firm after it was hired by nonprofit We Can Do Better New Jersey.

    The goal is to get the legislation, which would provide tax-credit scholarships for up to 40,000 children, passed before the end of the lame-duck session in January.

    The firm's public affairs campaign also incorporates advertising buys in targeted legislative districts, including billboards, bus advertising, and posters at New Jersey Transit rail stations, said Jonathan Jaffe, managing principal of Jaffe Communications. The firm is also pitching Op-Eds from prominent supporters to major daily newspapers and online news sources around the state, as well as coordinating a letter-to-the-editor campaign and editorial board meetings.

    John Eriksen, who sits on the board of We Can Do Better New Jersey and is the superintendent of schools for the [Catholic] Diocese of Paterson, said he hired Jaffe Communications because of work it has done for his school district. He said the firm has done a good job of “translating the will of the majority into an effective communications plan.”

    Eriksen declined to comment on the budget for the campaign.”

    Source: http://mobile.prweekus.com/jaffe-supports-new-jersey-voucher-campaign/marticle/217908/

    WHO IS PAYING FOR THE FAKE VOUCHER SUPPORT CAMPAIGN?

    “We Can Do Better New Jersey [is] a nonprofit coalition of Catholic school and other community leaders who have long had a voice but now are getting formally organized to promote the OSA.

    The group is led by the Catholic diocese leaders in Paterson and Camden and formed last winter as an advocacy organization, but kept a relatively low profile. With close to $500,000 in funding from the Walton Family Foundation, among other donors, it is becoming more public and will cosponsor a rally on December 1 in Trenton to promote the OSA.”

    Source: http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/11/1121/0248/

    HOW MANY CATHOLIC SCHOOL CHILDREN DID JAFFE COMMUNICATIONS BUS IN FOR THE RALLY?

    “With time running out in the state legislative session, some 500 school-choice advocates – mostly Catholic school children – rallied in front of the Statehouse on Thursday to push for a bill that would begin a test school voucher program… Students flooded the plaza in front of the Statehouse, many holding signs, though some, as young as 12 or 13 years old, did not know why they were attending.”

    Source: http://www.mycentraljersey.com/article/20111201/NJNEWS10/312010064/NJ-school-vouchers-supporters-rally-at-Statehouse-in-Trenton

    SO WHERE DID THE 2,500 FIGURE COME FROM?

    The 2,500 figure was part of the official press release written by the rally “producer” Jaffe Communications

    http://njtoday.net/2011/12/01/2500-supporters-demand-the-state-legislature-pass-the-opportunity-scholarship-act/

  • Julia, December 4, 2011 @ 8:55 pm Reply

    WOULD JAFFE COMMUNICATIONS REALLY TRY TO MANIPULATE THE PRESS THIS WAY?

    On their web site, Jaffe Communications highlights what they see as their competitive advantage:

    “After working for years as a daily newspaper reporter and executive at a large public relations firm, Jonathan Jaffe recognized a critical void. Journalists were eager to work with PR people who understand the inner workings of the news business and know what exactly news is. And most large, faceless public relations firms comprise people who know how to write catchy slogans, but can’t recognize the timely information that reporters need.”

    Source: http://www.jaffecom.com/who-are-we.html

    WHAT IS THE WILL OF NEW JERSEY RESIDENTS WHEN IT COMES TO SCHOOL VOUCHERS?

    Do you favor or oppose providing parents with tax money in the form of school vouchers to help pay for their children to attend private or religious schools?

    Oppose 56%
    Favor 39%
    Don’t know/no answer 6%

    Source: Quinnipiac April 2011 http://www.quinnipiac.edu/x1299.xml?ReleaseID=1591

  • kallikak, December 6, 2011 @ 3:28 am Reply

    Why should tax-exempt entities be allowed to lobby for public financing????

    Aren't public school districts specifically prohibited from hiring PR firms?

    What ever happened to the 'level playing field' in Gov. Christie's NJ?

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