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

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

News Roundup from Around Jersey

Helen Gym, Philadelphia Notebook
“You’re not speaking to me with this brand of disaster capitalism that tries to shock a besieged public with unproven, untested, and drastic action couched as “solutions.” You’re not speaking to me when you invoke language like “achievement networks,” “portfolio management,” and "rightsizing" our schools – and say not a word about lower class sizes or increasing the presence of loving support personnel or enriching our curriculum.”
Education Week
Churn is a remarkable instability among school personnel that makes it nearly impossible to build a professional community or develop long-term relationships with students. It happens when teachers are treated like interchangeable parts who can be moved around cavalierly to plug a hole in a school schedule. …For every two teachers who left the district or the profession during our study, another three were moved from subject to subject, grade to grade, or school to school. Unfortunately, this degree of churn is hardly unusual. Other researchers have noted a similar or even greater degree of instability among urban teachers.
Education Week
When teachers leave schools, overall morale appears to suffer enough that student achievement declines—both for those taught by the departed teachers and by students whose teachers stayed put, concludes a study recently presented at a conference held by the Center for Longitudinal Data in Education Research.
Star Ledger
Evidence of this "persistent and pervasive" poverty dominated the findings of the latest Kids Count report, a portrait of the health, safety, and economic stability of New Jersey’s 2 million children culled from public records. Nearly one in three children in 2010 lived in a home that could not meet their basic needs without assistance, a 14 percent increase since 2006, according to the report.
NJ Spotlight
As part of his proposed 2012 budget, Gov. Chris Christie has proposed scrapping the state’s longtime practice of basing the annual enrollment count in every district on the number of children enrolled on Oct. 15 of a given year. Instead, the Christie administration proposed moving to a system of basing the count off a school’s “average daily attendance” over the last three years, or roughly the number of students in the building on a typical day….in terms of state aid, it would hit lower income districts the hardest, the OLS report said, especially those districts that fall under the Abbott v. Burke school funding rulings, including Newark, Paterson and Camden. For them, it could be more than $100 million in aid reductions

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