Pivotal Questions Await Answers as School Bells Ring in New Jersey

It’s not easy to list the top issues affecting New Jersey students, educators and taxpayers as the school year begins. There are just so many to choose from. School reforms and school funding. Loud public protests in places like Newark and the quieter tensions simmering in suburban districts across the state. New ways to evaluate teachers…

Posted: September 3rd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: 2016 Presidential Politics, Chris Christie, Christie Administration, Education | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

One Comment on “Pivotal Questions Await Answers as School Bells Ring in New Jersey”

  1. Carolee Adams, President, Eagle Forum of New Jersey said at 5:10 am on September 3rd, 2014:

    This article requires some editing.

    Correction #1: Governor Chris Christie and his administration were not forced to step back, as the article states, and lessen the weight the new testing will have on teacher evaluations. Far from it! It was the Governor who forced his will upon the people by manipulating a backroom deal with the NJEA and Democratic Senate President Steve Sweeney undermining popular legislation that would have studied “all” aspects of Common Core/PARCC and more. As John Mooney knows, and heard first from me, even the Prime Sponsor of the legislation did not know his Bill was being pulled from the Senate floor (three times) by Sweeney who was waiting to do the bidding of the Governor’s Executive Order. That Executive Order put Christie back in control. It saved him from having to veto or conditionally veto legislation that passed the Assembly 72-4, or sign it into law – the latter politically distancing himself from the GOP camp of Jeb Bush.

    Correction #2: It’s not “quieter” in suburban districts as stated n the article. First, increasing numbers of parents are eagerly learning how to formally refuse PARCC tests for their children in the 2014-15 school year. Further, it appears that John Mooney is unaware what’s been happening since last Fall in many Jersey communities. As one example, a large, vocal group of parents in Ridgewood are actively pushing back on both Standards and Assessments at Board of Education meetings and individual school gatherings. Even their own Superintendent co-wrote an OpEd about his concerns after waxing eloquent about Common Core/PARCC at the first meeting I attended. On October 2, Ridgewood Cares About Schools and the League of Women Voters will co-sponsor a Common Core/PARCC event. Confirmed speakers include: representatives from the NJ School Boards Association and NJ State Board of Education; Bergen County Freeholder Joan Voss, Ed.D.; Christopher Tienken, Ed.D. of Seton Hall, and Sandra Stotsky, Ed.D. Stotsky wrote the finest Standards in the country for the State of Massachusetts and was a member of the Common Core Validation Committee. Invited guests also include members of the NJ Department of Education and NJ State Legislature.

    Correction #3: New Jersey already conducted a school reorganization study during the Whitman Administration with the premise it would prove a cost cutter. Much to their surprise, the conclusion was that regionalization is more costly and unwieldy.

    Correction #4: Senator Sweeney may want to be New Jersey’s next Governor, but his Faustian bargains with Governor Christie and the NJEA have not been warmly embraced by the general community of teachers who believe they were sold out by their leadership. To have them still teach to the test awaiting the final report of the Governor’s Commission in December 2015; complete voluminous reports vs. teaching and become facilitators vs. teachers; ignore the individual needs of their students; have their evaluations still dependent upon PARCC (10% year one; 20% year two; 30% year three), and more, has encouraged them to finally find their own voices. And, that will extend into 2016.

    If Governor Christie wants to be the 2016 GOP nominee for President, his troubled waters include more than a bridge. No GOP nominee for President will be chosen if s/he does not actively oppose Common Core/PARCC for all the substantive, academic, and financial reasons reported daily in diverse publications by diverse writers representing diverse voices. Mexican trade relations will not matter at the polls to parents and taxpayers. Common Core will.