Sunday Leftovers

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Important story here from NJ Spotlight on the new formula for allotting preschool funding in NJ’s poorest cities, a mandate from State Supreme Court via the Abbott decisions. Income qualifications for free preschools (mostly private providers) were altered during Jon Corzine’s administration and the result is a concern that fewer students are being served.

Separately, Gov. Chris Christie also has proposed a $14.5 million increase in preschool funds for next year to address rising enrollments and inflation, bringing the total to $633.7 million next year for 45,000 students. But officials acknowledge it remains far short of making up the money lost with DHS’s eligibility changes.

“All this should at least allow them to spread the money around a little better, but unless someone has a plan for creating new money, it is going to be hard to get everyone where they want,” acting Education Commissioner Chris Cerf said yesterday.

The Star-Ledger’s Politifact does its due diligence on two education-related claims. Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver said, at speech at Rider University, that New Jerseyans are the “most educated” in the nation. Politifact says that claim is “mostly true”:

In 2009, 34.5 percent of New Jerseyans, 25 years old and over, had at least a bachelor’s degree, according to the census bureau. In 2010, 35.4 percent of state residents fit the same criteria, according to the census bureau.

In both years, New Jersey was in fifth place behind Massachusetts, Colorado, Maryland and Connecticut. Even after accounting for the margins of error attached to those statistics, New Jersey doesn’t place first.

And Montclair State’s President Susan Cole said in an interview that New Jersey loses 30,000 “of our best prepared, most educated students” who “leave the state for other states.” Politifact says this claim is true.

Victory for Save Our Schools-New Jersey: via the Patch, the South Brunswick Zoning Board rejected plans for a proposed charter school, Princeton International Academy Charter School, by a one-vote margin.

Emily Fisher Charter School in Trenton is appealing the NJ DOE’s decision to not renew its charter.

Four out of five school referenda failed this week at the polls. The Press of Atlantic City looks at two: Galloway and Absecom.

The Asbury Park Press looks at the impact of the anti-bullying law in Monmouth and Ocean County, and finds that administrators and school boards support the “intent of the legislation” but “it is not that easy to carry out.” NJ Spotlight offers a podcast on the future of the newly-funded legislation. Also see my opinion piece this week at WHYY’s Newsworks.

Alicia Brzycki discusses a report from ASAH, the association of NJ private special education schools, which found that out-of-district private placements were cheaper for schools that in-district placements. She charges,

As the ASAH study figures show, private schools are a relative bargain. So why do school administrators keep kids in-district when it would be cheaper just to do the right thing and provide the legally mandated continuum of placements? Because of their own self-interest, engaging as they do in what Manhattan Institute policy scholar Jay Greene likes to call the special education two-step: first provide colorful anecdotes of unreasonably expensive-sounding private placement, and then warn about how general education may suffer.

The Star-Ledger Editorial Board praises Newark Superintendent Cami Anderson’s new turn-around plan:

This was the moment that reformers had been waiting for, a decisive political boost that gives Anderson’s effort the oxygen it will need to survive the inevitable push back from the status quo.

Anderson’s plan is full of good, common sense. She has pushed the debate beyond the stale fight about money, which is no longer the central issue in Newark, and turned a spotlight instead on student performance.

OT: Former New Jersey Governor and MF Global CEO Jon Corzine gave “direct instructions” to transfer $200 million from a customer fund account to JPMorgan, according to an internal email, Bloomberg reports:

Edith O’Brien, a treasurer for the firm, said in an e-mail sent the afternoon of Oct. 28, three days before the company collapsed, that the transfer of the funds was “Per JC’s direct instructions,” according to a copy of a memo drafted by congressional investigators and obtained by Bloomberg News.

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  • kallikak, March 26, 2012 @ 4:50 am Reply

    Private special ed schools are a relative bargain?!

    Surely, you jest!

  • NJ Left Behind, March 27, 2012 @ 3:26 pm Reply

    Just reporting the news.

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