The Star-Ledger Editorial Board urges Newark’s teachers to approve the new merit pay contract tomorrow (which appears to be an increasingly unlikely scenario, and not just because of Frankenstorm):
This contract is a striking reform of the traditional pay structure and would put Newark in the national vanguard. Teachers would no longer be treated like factory workers, toiling in a system that ignores talent or improvement. Instead, they would be treated like professionals, able to earn rewards based on evidence of success, as in the rest of the working world. Ineffective teachers would receive no pay hikes under this contract and, with the new tenure law signed this summer, could be removed from the classroom if efforts to lift their performance fail.
The Asbury Park Press leads today with a six-page expose on Lakewood Public Schools’ financial mismanagement, including sketchy payments to former board attorney Michael Inzelbuch and “tens of millions of dollars to an educational company that provides nonpublic students with a wide variety of services without anyone in the district verifying the accuracy of the company’s bills.”
Also in the Asbury Park Press, “the Ritacco era haunts the current school board election” in Toms River.
One hundred and two kindergarteners in Trenton Public Schools didn’t get placed in classes until October 10th. The district ascribes the delay to an unprecedented increase in registrations: 115 more kids than last year (Trenton Times). Also, Trenton Board of Education members are skeptical of the district’s reported decrease in violence, vandalism, and drugs and weapons charges presented at a recent meeting:
“Wait, wait, wait…” board president the Rev. Toby Sanders said. “You mean to tell me, you’re presenting data to me, to us, that there were only three police notifications about violence in the schools last year?”
“A principal might call police, but only wrote it on one form but not the other,” [Superintendent Francisco] Duran said. “We’re not saying only three times police were called to the district, we’re saying it’s only three times police were called and coded properly on the right report. I know there were more times the police were called than three last year. I wasn’t even here last year and I know that.”
The Press of Atlantic City covers Comm. Cerf’s talk at NJ School Boards Convention, specifically his recommendations on how board members can be more effective.
NJ Spotlight has great coverage of the complaint in Camden, which charges that Camden Public Schools students are deprived of their constitutionally-mandated access to a “thorough and efficient system of education,” here and here.
From Newsworks: “New Jersey lawmakers are considering a measure that would require school districts to allow children in vocational and charter schools to participate in the districts’ sports programs.”
And from Sarah Butrymowicz at Slate:
When it comes to education, the main difference between the two presidential candidates is Paul Ryan. The Ryan budget, which was presented to Congress in 2011 and which Romney originally said he would have signed, calls for a 20 percent cut to discretionary funding. Although the budget doesn’t specify how that decrease will be divvied up among departments, Obama has repeatedly claimed that Romney would cut education spending by a fifth, if not more. The Republicans contend that is not true.