Lakewood Public Schools falsified graduation rate data in order to secure a $6 million SIG grant. Now, according to the Asbury Park Press, Acting Schools Superintendent Laura A. Winters said she learned from a state Department of Education official on Aug. 31, right before the opening of school, that “we were ineligible for the grant.” In the signed and notarized grant and application, which required a graduation rate of less than 60%, Lakewood administrators listed the graduation rate of Lakewood High as 37.6%. Lakewood’s graduation rate is actually slightly over 70%. (NJ Monthly ranks it as the 5th worst high school in the state, although still not eligible for that SIG grant.)
The Record reports that Morris County now has 10 school districts participating in the NJ Interdistrict Public School Choice Program, which allows children in neighboring districts to attend other public schools. Those districts are Boonton, Butler, Mine Hill, Morris Hills Regional, Morris Plains, Morris, Mount Olive, Netcong, Pequannock, and Wharton. Mine Hill has participated since the program’s inception. The superintendent there, Dennis Mack, said, “We’ve had no disciplinary issues, the children have a chance to interact with children from other areas and the financial aspect has kept the school solid.”
The Star-Ledger reports on the NJ DOE’s renewed focus on early childhood education.
An Asbury Park Press editorial critiques Ed. Comm. Chris Cerf’s education plans, lauding his focus on charter school expansion and increased accountability in failing districts and lambasting Gov. Christie for having “waged war against the teachers union and school spending” and portraying “an educational system failing its students, a system in need of a dramatic overhaul featuring a fresh landscape of charter schools, vouchers and a statewide teaching population receiving lower salaries and cleansed of large numbers of its worst performers.” That, says the Press, was “a lie.”
NJ Spotlight listens in on the subject of superintendent salary caps:a “lawyers for the three superintendents and the New Jersey Association of School Administrators argued that while the Legislature empowered the administration to review and approve superintendent contracts to save money, it never intended the stark limits imposed by regulation in February 2011.”
The Press of Atlantic City reports on the “complete transformation of school cultures” at Pleasantville Public Schools because of the benefits of the anti-bullying law.
NJ Spotlight and the Star-Ledger report on a new bill, sponsored by Sen. Loretta Weinberg, that would tighten up the waivers given to parents who don’t want their children vaccinated.
NJ Charter School Association is teaming up with VIVA Teachers to give teachers a voice in education policy. Go here for details.
Eugene Robinson (here in the Daily Journal) protests society’s penchant for blaming all of its “manifold sins and wickedness on ‘teachers unions,’ as if it were possible to separate these supposedly evil organizations from the dedicated public servants who belong to them.” He continues, “Sorry to be so gauche, but when teachers point out the relationship between income and achievement, they’re not shirking responsibility. They’re just stating an inconvenient truth.”
The Washington Post examines Pres. Obama’s education record: “In 3 1 / 2 years in office, President Obama has set in motion a broad overhaul of public education from kindergarten through high school, largely bypassing Congress and inducing states to adopt landmark changes that none of his predecessors attempted.”
Ed Money Watch examines Gov. Romney’s education proposal to fungify (is that a word?) Title 1 and IDEA funding so families could use it for vouchers at private schools.