Sunday Leftovers

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The Christie Administration approved five new charters this week:

Bridgeton Public Charter School (Bridgeton), K-4th grade, 285 students;
College Achieve Central (Plainfield, North Plainfield), K-9th grade, 1,035 students;
Cresthaven Academy (Plainfield), K-3rd grade, 300 students;
Empowerment Academy (Jersey City), K-4th grade, 576 students;
International Academy of Atlantic City (Atlantic City, Pleasantville), K-6th grade, 698 students.

See NJ Spotlight and  The Press of Atlantic City. Here, NJ Spotlight unpacks the details of Sen. Teresa Ruiz’s (D-Essex) charter school bill.

Sen. Pres. Steve Sweeney told the Philadelphia Inquirer that he visited LEAP charter school in Camden because “I wanted to get a better education about the charter school system. I got one today.” Also from the Inquirer: “The 1,500-student [LEAP] charter boasts a 100 percent graduation rate, and 95 percent of its students graduate from college, administrators said. The charter spends $15,000 per pupil, compared with the Camden School District’s $27,500 per pupil spending.” (There’s no analysis in the article of student demographics at LEAP compared to traditional district schools. But the D.O.E. Performance Report has 5% of LEAP’s enrollment comprised of kids with disabilities and 90.5% of kids considered economically disadvantaged. At Charles Sumner Elementary School, one of Camden’s traditional district schools [randomly chosen], 15% of kids qualify for special education services and 98% are economically disadvantaged.)

Camden Update: “October 21, 2014–Office of the Superintendent, Camden, NJ – Superintendent Paymon Rouhanifard today announced that all 26 District schools are staffed with a full-time Community School Coordinator (CSC), as part of his quarterly Camden Commitment progress report. The improvement marks a 70 percent increase in District CSCs, because in recent years nearly half of Camden’s 26 District schools lacked this critical school-parent liaison role. “

Last Sunday Newark Mayor Ras Baraka had an editorial in the New York Times demanding that local control be returned to Newark. If the State obliges, his first action would be to fire Superintendent Cami Anderson. Here’s coverage from the Star-Ledger.

Superintendent Anderson is moving a bit too quickly in her attempts to take tenure away from a group of Newark teachers.

NJ Spotlight reports on a new bill proposed by Sen. Gerald Cardinale (R-Bergen) that “would effectively set up a mechanism for school districts to apply for permission to use online classes as a fill-in in the case of weather emergencies, which lately have been pressing on school calendars.” The bill was prompted by  Bergen County’s Pascack Regional High School District’s attempts to not use a snow day during one of last winter’s storms by planning a “virtual day of classes.”

Lamont Repollet is the new superintendent of Asbury Park Schools. The Asbury Park Press notes that he has his work cut out for him; the graduation rate there is 51%, despite annual state spending of $28,229 per student.

From the Star-Ledger: “In response to the sexual assault scandal that has engulfed the Sayreville High School football program, state Senate Democratic leaders will this week introduce new legislation that would spell out specific professional groups legally required to report child abuse, NJ Advance Media has learned.”

Hunterdon County Democrat: “State Assemblywoman Donna Simon wants a task force to look into school regionalization.”

From this week’s New York Times, a description of  the inequities engendered by disparate fund-raising by local education foundations:

 Patty Cowan, executive director of the Coronado Schools Foundation, said the group sent a letter to every family in the district this fall asking it to donate $1,200 per student, in part to compensate for a decline in state funding. The group raises hundreds of thousands more during an annual auction and telethon. 

Just a few miles away, the Lincoln High School Foundation in San Diego, which raises money for a school where nearly all the students qualify for free or reduced price lunches, raised just $16,456 in 2010, which worked out to less than $8 per student. “Obviously, operating a foundation in a low socioeconomic community is an extreme challenge,” said Alfie Webb, president of the foundation.

Stephanie Simon at Politico reports on the “Common Core revolt.”

The N.J. School Boards Association’s annual convention is this week in Atlantic City. I’ll be there.

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