Posted on

Charter school tracker: Which N.J. schools are closing, expanding

School Choice by ArtChick

file photo by ArtChick

By Adam Clark | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
on March 06, 2017 at 11:40 AM

TRENTON — The Christie administration last week announced its decisions on more than two dozen applications to expand, renew or open new charter schools.

While four schools were ordered to close at the end of this school year, the state approved more than 6,000 new charter school seats through the expansion of existing schools, a significant increase in school choice.

The state Department of Education also gave 21 schools a five-year renewal of their charter. Here’s the rundown of the decisions:

http://www.nj.com/education/2017/03/charter_school_tracker_which_schools_are_closing_e.html

Posted on

The Democrats’ Fight against School Choice Is Immoral

Betsy DeVos as Secretary of the Department of Education

by DAVID HARSANYI January 20, 2017 12:00 AM @DAVIDHARSANYI

Betsy DeVos wants better education for minority and low-income kids. There’s something perverse about an ideology that views the disposing of an unborn child in the third trimester of pregnancy as an indisputable right but the desire of parents to choose a school for their kids as zealotry. Watching President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for education secretary, Betsy DeVos, answer an array of frivolous questions this week was just another reminder of how irrational liberalism has become.
Democrats often tell us that racism is one of the most pressing problems in America. And yet, few things have hurt African Americans more over the past 40 years than inner-city public-school systems. If President Obama is correct and educational attainment is the key to breaking out of a lower economic stratum, then no institution is driving inequality quite as effectively as public schools.

Actually, teachers’ unions are the only organizations in America that openly support segregated schools. In districts across the country — even ones in cities with some form of limited movement for kids — poor parents, typically those who are black or Hispanic, are forced to enroll their kids in underperforming schools when there are good ones nearby, sometimes just blocks away.

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/444046/betsy-devos-democratic-opposition

Posted on

Governor Christie The Fairness Formula will Lower Property Taxes and Force Education Reform

School Choice by ArtChick

file photo by ArtChick

August 25,2016
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Earlier this summer, Governor Christie proposed a solution to New Jersey’s two most pressing issues; the failure of urban education and high property taxes.

In 1985 Abbott Districts were created as a result of the first ruling of Abbott v. Burke, a case filed by the Education Law Center. The ruling asserted that public primary and secondary education in poor communities throughout the state was unconstitutionally substandard.

The Abbott II ruling in 1990 had the most far-reaching effects, ordering the state to fund the (then) 28 Abbott districts at the average level of the state’s wealthiest districts.

The low-income districts began to receive the extra aid .The Abbott ruling led to the current school funding formula crisis allowing failing school districts to spend as much as $33,699 per pupil in tax dollars, while high‐performing school districts spend less than half of that per student.

In what could be one of the largest failures in social engineering ,leading to excessive spending by a select few and chronically failing school districts,who have received billions more in state taxpayer dollars over the past three decades than hundreds of successful school districts.

According to the Mercatus Center at George Mason University,”While it is difficult to compare academic achievement across time periods, evidence indicates that Abbott money has had little effect on improving student performance. ”

Mercatus Center went on , “The lackluster performance of these schools is also related to the fractured relationship between beneficiaries and providers. Abbott districts receive the majority of their funding from state aid rather than local tax revenues. The incentive to make optimal use of this funding and to monitor school performance is minimal. In addition, taxpayers in districts receiving state aid may not be benefiting from lower property taxes, because officials in local government prefer to work the increased revenue into their budgets, rather than returning it to taxpayers via a municipal tax cut.”

That’s where Governor Christie steps in with his Fairness Formula. The Fairness Formula will provide equal education funding for every pupil throughout the state, valuing every child equally. Under the Fairness Formula, all public school districts would receive $6,599 for every enrolled student, plus continued funding for special education. This will give every child an equal chance at success.

With this new formula, 75% of all New Jersey districts would get more state aid than they do today. The biggest driver of New Jersey’s nation‐high property taxes is the ineffective and unfair state school funding formula. The Fairness Formula will not only be equal for students it may also provide hundreds or even thousands of dollars in annual property tax savings for New Jerseyans in most communities.   The potential property tax savings that would be realized under the Fairness Formula is a strong benefit to New Jersey’s economy as a whole. Business owners are burdened by New Jersey’s highest in the nation property taxes and chased to more affordable states due to New Jersey’s many other non‐competitive taxes that have been enacted by Democrats.

A byproduct of the Fairness Formula is a renewed interest in alternative options for educational choice.

Recently Atlantic City passed a resolution unanimously by the Democrat-dominated body for a non-binding referendum in time for the November ballot : REGARDING SCHOOL VOUCHERS AND TAX CREDITS.

WHEREAS, The City Council of Atlantic City is empowered with the authority to submit nonbinding referendum questions to the public in order to ascertain the sentiment of legal voters; and NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Council of the City of Atlantic City hereby submits the following questions to be printed upon the official ballots to be used at the next ensuing General Election as follows: “Shall the State of New Jersey designate the City to begin offering vouchers to families with children ages 6-16 so they can select the school they want their children to attend?” “Shall the State of New Jersey designate the City of Atlantic City to begin offering property tax credits to families with children ages 6-16 who choose to homeschool?

The revolutionary resolution was created by freshman GOP Councilman Jesse Kurtz, who is himself an NJEA member, New Jersey’s largest teachers union.

According to Matthew Chingos of the Urban Institute ,”School choice policies aim to break the link between where children live and where they go to school. They seek to interrupt the cycle of poverty by providing low-income children with access to high-quality educational options that will boost their chances of long-term success. Choice programs come in several flavors, including charter schools, which are publicly funded but independently operated; private school vouchers, which cover all or part of private school tuition; and open enrollment plans (sometimes called public school vouchers) that allow parents to send their child to any public school in the district. When done right, school choice programs can be powerful tools in the fight against poverty.”

Posted on

A punch? Maybe not. But here are 10 reasons why teachers’ unions deserve to lose.

group_njea_logo_300x143

Posted by Matt Rooney On August 03, 2015 11 Comments

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

Governor Chris Christie’s CNN interview continues to elicit strong reactions, Save Jerseyans, and the problem with this controversy, as with similar incidents, is that most folks are focusing on the style points. It’s among the regrettable byproducts of our presidential politics, cultural decline, and hyper-politicization of the education industry. But those are topics for another post…

What about the substance?

Let’s revisit, briefly, what these teachers’ unions are all about and objectively decide whether they deserve to exist (I’m not pulling any punches):

10) The union establishment’s demands are as unrealistic as they’ve been fiscally ruinous. NJEA members will donate $126,000 to pension and health benefits over 30 years but stand to collect $2.4 million in return. Who thought this was a good idea??? Are all of the calculators broken in Trenton? Of course not. It’s all part of an elaborate, decades-old double-whammy of vote buying and problem avoidance. Instead of hating Chris Christie, teachers should direct their ire to the politicians on their own union’s campaign season payroll. They did it.

9)  Their chosen tactics are disgusting. Wisconsin’s recent experienceswere horrific, and the physical/verbal violence perpetrated by Big Labor’s storm troopers was 100% one-sided.

8) The system these unions ferociously protect is failing our country’s most vulnerable children, especially those students living in poorer, minority-concentrated school districts. Click here to check out my lengthy run-down of Camden High School’s plight (catalyzed by a give-and-take with my liberal friend of Inky fame Kevin Riordan) for the uncomfortable truth.

7) American Teachers’ unions = Democrat Party affiliates. After self-preservation, the teacher union establishment is primarily concerned with protecting the Democrats whose policies protect their power. A good faith union would avoid colluding with one political party or the other, pursuing and prioritizing the best interests of its membership and their children. Not the teacher’s unions; in this state and most others, and certainly nationally as Chris Christie pointed out, they function as a Democrat Super PAC. The American Federation of Teachers has already endorsed Hillary Clinton before either party held its first debate!

6) Dues tied up in waste and hypocrisy… so teachers lose, too: The NJEA collects a 9-figure annual sum in teachers’ taxpayer paycheck-derived dues; its regular and political arms spend many millions more in lobbying and both direct and indirect campaigning activity to influence public police. What do its members have to show for it???

5) Therefore, these unions have a financial incentive to protect bad dues-paying teachers at the expense of the education system. Much has been written on this topic but John Stossel did a particularly good job of illustrating how difficult it is to purge the suck; it’s a crisis that’s turned even hardened union veterans against the tenure-centric system.

http://savejersey.com/2015/08/chris-christie-teacher-union-punch-video-facts/

Posted on

N.J. limits its school choice program

board-of-ed-hespe-teacher-evaluationsjpg-d04edca8d31e830c

board-of-ed-hespe-teacher-evaluationsjpg-d04edca8d31e830c

Education Commissioner David Hespe

N.J. limits its school choice program

FEBRUARY 1, 2015, 10:45 PM    LAST UPDATED: SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 2015, 10:46 PM
BY HANNAN ADELY
STAFF WRITER |
THE RECORD

In an effort to cut down on rising costs, the state is capping a program that allows students to attend schools outside their own district at no extra cost, limiting some Bergen and Passaic schools to just a handful of open spots for the coming school year.

“It’s fiscally unsustainable,” state Education Commissioner David Hespe said in an interview. “The program has increased fivefold. The cost has increased fivefold.”

The education commissioner is also considering preventing additional students from high-performing schools, which would include many in Bergen County, from participating. The program was meant to give students access to better schools, but many of the students who took advantage already had good schools in their hometown, Hespe said.

State officials say they need to stop the Interdistrict Public School Choice Program’s growth because it has ballooned to about 5,000 students at a cost of $50 million a year. But supporters of the program say the decision to cap it seems to contradict the Christie administration’s stated policy of creating more taxpayer-financed options for students who don’t want to attend struggling local schools.

http://www.northjersey.com/news/n-j-limits-its-school-choice-program-1.1262801

Posted on

How did Camden, N.J. come to have one of the highest spending AND worst performing school districts in the nation?

Camden1-articleLarge

Camden1-articleLarge

How did Camden, N.J. come to have one of the highest spending AND worst performing school districts in the nation?

The recent history of Camden, New Jersey, which is the poorest small city in America, provides a case study of the tragic ineffectiveness of government programs at ameliorating poverty. State and federal taxpayers have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on various redevelopment programs in Camden over the years, but the money never ended up where it was supposed to and the promised revival of this fallen manufacturing town never happened.

By far, the largest initiative to combat poverty with government largess has been directed at Camden’s public schools. New Jersey spends about 60% more on education per pupil than the national average according to 2012 census figures, or about $19,000 in 2013. In Camden, per pupil spending was more than $25,000 in 2013, making it one of the highest spending districts in the nation.

But all that extra money hasn’t changed the fact that Camden’s public schools are among in the worst in the nation, notorious for their abysmal test scores, the frequent occurrence of in-school violence, dilapidated buildings, and an on-time graduation rate of just 61 percent.

This is the story of how Camden became one of the nation’s best funded and worst performing school districts, which is the first in a three-part video series on Camden public school system.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0JorXgqxiU

Posted on

Chris Christie Reviews Plan for School Vouchers

la-sci-sn-chris-christie-weight-loss-surgery-m-001

la-sci-sn-chris-christie-weight-loss-surgery-m-001

Chris Christie Reviews Plan for School Vouchers 

As New Jersey Governor Chris Christie moves toward a decision on whether to run for president, he is touting his education success stories, including tenure reform and more charter schools. Yet one victory has eluded him – the Opportunity Scholarship, a voucher program for students in the worst-performing public schools. (Sullivan/Forbes)

http://www.forbes.com/sites/maureensullivan/2015/01/19/chris-christie-revives-plan-for-school-vouchers-in-run-up-to-2016-decision/