Sunday Leftovers

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The average teacher raises for 2013-2014 are 2.25%, reports New Jersey School Boards Association. While various factors affect settlement rates, like givebacks on either side of the table, “settlement rates for 2013-2014 are much lower than those seen even just a few years ago. For example, the average rate for contracts covering the 2007-2008 school year was 4.6 percent.” Of course, that was before the 2% cap on school district budget increases.

The Star Ledger  interviews new NJEA President Wendell Steinhauer, who says that “biggest issue facing schools today is the pernicious corporate reform agenda of large-scale privatization being promoted and financed by people with a financial stake in the outcome.” In an editorial, Steinhauer describes himself as an “unapologetic unionist” in “an era when labor unions are unfairly maligned as out-of-step and out-of-date.” He continues,

I’m proud to fight for higher wages, strong benefits, a secure retirement and good working conditions for my members because they have earned those things and deserve to enjoy the fruits of their labors. We also are united in our demand to be treated as professionals and with respect, because no one is doing more than we are to secure the future success of New Jersey.

The Star Ledger and the Record review teachers’ reservations about the new value-added teacher evaluations.

NJ Spotlight itemizes imposing changes slated for NJ public schools this school year (including new data-driven teacher evaluations).

Chris Christie isn’t giving up the voucher fight.

Gov. Christie will reappoint Cami Anderson as Newark Schools Superintendent; said Christie, “we’re going to renew [her contract] because she’s done a great job, and I don’t care about the community criticism. We run the school district in Newark, not them.” (Newark, of course, is under state control.)
Newark mayoral candidates eager to fill Cory Booker’s shoes generally expressed umbrage at the lack of local say in the governance of the schools but the Star-Ledger Editorial Board approves of the reappointment: “This one is not a close call: Cami Anderson, the superintendent of schools in Newark for the past two years, richly deserves the contract extension that Gov. Chris Christie this week said is in the works. She is shaking up a system that sorely needed it, scoring solid wins for the kind of bipartisan reforms endorsed by both Christie and President Obama. Pulling her off the job now would put all that risk.”

Here’s NJ Spotlight’s interview with Cami Anderson.

Speaking of districts under state control, David Hardy, who headed the effort to set up the new Regional Achievement Center in Camden, just resigned.

Perth Amboy Superintendent t Janine Caffrey is leaving due to lack of school board support. Lots of cantankerous sniping among board members and Caffrey, and various statements from adversaries. Here’s part of Caffrey’s:

So here is the real truth about our school district. Even though NJ has some of the best schools in the nation, ours are not. Our graduation rate this year will be somewhere around 64 percent. This will be the very first time that we have held students to our attendance and grading policy, and reported everything accurately to the state. That means over a third of our kids dropped out sometime after they began 9th grade.

The Press of Atlantic City opposes charging fees to students to participate in extracurricular activities.

Irony alert: the Lakewood School Board, which is largely run by Orthodox Jews who preside over an impoverished Hispanic school body, approved a new policy allowing a “moment of silent reflection” at the urging of a Macedonia Baptist Church leader who wants to bring back prayer to schools. The ACLU says that the Lakewood board’s policy is probably unconstitutional. (Courier Post)

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