NJ Education News Round-Up, 5/18/13

Here’s this week education news for the Garden State:

– Christie Christie: A Gigantic Fraud

Chris Christie told teachers, cops, firefighters, and other public employees that he was “saving” our pensions. What a crock:

More important, however, is that no one in the press seems to be interested – in this election year – in getting Christie’s plan on the record, once and for all, to come up with the $5.5 billion a year he’s going to need starting in 2018 to fund the pensions.

Let’s face it: he has no intention of following through on this promise. Christie is going to hem and haw and tap dance and yell at “town halls” and preen and walk dignitaries around down the shore…

But what Chris Christie will never, ever do is clearly state a credible plan to make the pension payments he promised would “save” the system and “save taxpayers $120 billion.” Because he doesn’t have a plan.

Chris Christie may be the darling of the Morning Joe set and the NJ-101.5 crowd and his pension plan may have been beloved by the Star-Ledger editorial page. But the honest truth is that the man is a complete fraud.

Texans who knew the truth used to say that George W. Bush was “all hat, no cattle.” In the same way, Chris Christie is an empty fleece.

– NJEA Elections: Yawn…

NJEA officer elections were a boring affair: basically, the current president retires, and everyone else moves up a notch.

Whatever anyone thought of Barbara Keshishian, you have to admit her term was really defined by a war with NJEA that Chris Christie started. Wendell Steinhauer is going to have to continue to fight that war whether he wants to or not: Christie has already made quite clear he has no interest in toning down his rhetoric against the teachers union during his campaign.

– Education Privatizers Put Fulop Into Office in Jersey City

And so the Healey era ends in JC, and the Fulop era begins. Fulop’s ties to B4K and E3 the rest of the corporate education “reform” movement are well known.

So expect a new push for charter schools in JC, and expect a series of bruising fights between the Fulop-backed JCBOE and the local teachers union, led by one of the emerging stars of the labor movement, Ronnie Greco.

– Why Can’t Tom Moran and I Get Along?

Tom, you are going to force me to continue writing pieces like this until you start figuring out that charter schools do not educate the same kids as public schools.

The editor of the Star-Ledger’s op-ed page shouldn’t be this willingly blind to the facts.

More after the flip…

– Union City, Education Star of the Moment

Kevin Riordan interviews David Kirp, whose new book, Improbable Scholars, has been getting a lot of attention in edu-wonky circles. I haven’t read it yet, so I’m reserving judgment, but I like this:

No wonder Kirp is so unimpressed with “celebrity” superintendents and “no-excuses” reformers who generally parachute down on troubled city school systems, foster a crop of admiring headlines, and then move on.

“You have to get stability into the school system, and you can’t do that in just a couple of years,” he says. “You have to build a culture of trust, and that’s not something you just assert. It’s something you earn.”

Someone tell that to NJDOE Commissioner Chris Cerf and the rest of Jeb! Bush’s “Chiefs For Change”

Teacher Evaluation: Lost, But Making Great Time!

A report from Rutgers says the new teacher evaluation system runs the risk of not being ready next year:

When asked whether the Christie administration and the Legislature should have factored training time into its mandate that the system be fully deployed next year, he said that not doing so was risky.

“The idea of having highly reliable systems in that first year is questionable, because it does take a year to learn this stuff,” he said. “This is the downside of jumping in so fast, that the system won’t be as reliable as it could be.

Extra Credit:

– I am amazed that this state doesn’t have full-time kindergarten for every student.

– Local districts are pushing back on Chrirstie superintendent’s pay cap, claiming they can’t compete with states like New York that actually respect labor market forces.

– I summarize the many failings of state-control of Newark’s schools.

– The Legislature wants us teachers to take on another role: educating kids about social media. Yes, it’s important, but when do the unfunded mandates stop?

More testing fatigue:

And while data gained via standardized tests like NJASK may be extremely helpful, especially when paired with other data points, the over-emphasis on such testing is a classic example of how state and federal mandates are threatening to completely bypass local control.

Local authority is being undermined by politics both in Washington and Trenton, and such policies have the potential to undercut a public education system that has helped create the largest economy in the history of the world.

Word. Have a great week, everyone.

Comment (1)

  1. brendanod

    that Christie (much like congressional republicans are using GASB to destroy the USPS) is avoiding making payments towards pensions to kill them.

    Create an emergency that doesn’t exist and then scare your non-intellectual followers that if we don’t kill the pensions of the greedy public sector employees, we will all die.  Then bully (or just wink) to people like Sweeney to accomplish the mission.

    Christie needs to go.  Any public employee who votes for Christie should have his/her head examined.  I really fear that my prediction is accurate.


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