"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Christie's Starvation Diet for Schools Ruled Uncontitutional

As the Governor's girth grows at a pace that is only exceeded by that of his ego, and as he applies his ham-handed surgical procedure for economic banding to New Jersey schools, the Courts have finally stepped in to challenge Christie's attempted extermination of public education through starvation. New Jersey Abbot Districts, those with the poorest children in the state, have been particularly hard hit for a reason. 

When towns like Edison with large numbers of poor children have their State education funding cut by 55 percent in one year (see below), that puts them on the fast track to privatization via segregated corporate charter schools.  No longer are the oligarchs and the bottom feeding hedge funders working the angles of Wall Street content to wait any longer for AYP to work its relentless formula toward privatization of urban America.  These leeches are eager to fast track corporate takeover of schools based on a crisis created by a the Koch-headed Governor who remains unwilling to have the rich bear part of the burden of the Wall Street swindle of 2008 that the rich benefited from.  Instead, he wants to hand over our schools to Wall Street as a reward for their crimes that remain unpunished.  There will hell to pay.

Judge: Christie's education aid cut was unconstitutional
Philadelphia Inquirer, 3.22.11
Gov. Christie's deep aid cuts last year have prevented New Jersey public schools from providing students the "thorough and efficient" education required by the state constitution, a Superior Court judge ruled Tuesday….Thirty-six percent of New Jersey's school districts were funded at a level deemed less than adequate under the funding formula, according to Doyne. Seventy-two percent of the state's at-risk students lives in those districts, he wrote.

ELC Statement on Special Master’s Findings
Judge Doyne's detailed findings and conclusions provide a sobering analysis of the result of state aid cuts on New Jersey's public schools. In finding that the School Funding Reform Act (SFRA) formula is underfunded by $1.6 billion, or 19%, in the current year, the Special Master highlighted evidence of the inability of districts to provide the programs necessary for students to meet State academic standards, particularly at-risk students across the state.

Braun: N.J. Supreme Court to take its turn on deciding constitutionality of Christie's school funding
Star Ledger, 3.23.11
The high court has three options. It can agree the state doesn’t have the money and defer or cancel the promise of full funding. It can insist, as it did in 1976, that the formula be fully funded, even if that means raising taxes — a remedy the late Chief Justice Richard Hughes enforced with a statewide school shutdown. "Or," says Tractenberg, "it can try to find the nearly invisible line between the two.’’

N.J.’s Poorest Students Hurt by Christie Cuts, Judge Says
Business Week
Michael Drewniak, a Christie spokesman, said today in a statement that the Supreme Court “should at last abandon the failed assumption of the last three decades that more money equals better education, and stop treating our state’s fiscal condition as in inconvenient afterthought.”

Judge: School cuts not fair to Abbott districts especially
Star Ledger, 3.23.11
Edison Superintendent Richard O'Malley said his district was handed a $9.78 million budget cut last year, equal to 55.8 percent of the state aid Edison received the previous year. The district, the largest in Middlesex County, cut 131 education positions, full-day kindergarten, elementary world language instruction, middle school athletics, after-school busing and money for new textbooks and technology. "The district suffered a tremendous academic setback with the loss of this amount of money in one year with no time to plan," O'Malley said. "Those effects have been felt this year and will be felt in years to come. What is not stated in these numbers is what's lost on the future education of our children."

Abbott Fact Finding: Christie Cuts Hurt At-Risk Kids

NJ Spotlight 3.22.11
In a case that is now dating back close to 40 years, the true drama will come in what happens next with the state Supreme Court, which requested Doyne’s fact-finding report as part of the latest challenge under the epic case. The court could next demand the administration restore the cuts -- or even the full funding -- or something short of that, prospects that set off their own commentary yesterday.

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