Friday, May 7, 2010

Schundler and Christie Plan to Use "Merit" as a Punishment but Eliminate It as a Reward

So, Education Commissioner Bret Schundler and Governor Christie is for merit when it can be couched as a way to eliminate "bad" teachers. Education Commissioner Bret Schundler is also for merit when it can be used to eliminate tenure for teachers. Schundler and Christie are for merit when it can be used to close schools and eliminate administrators. They are even for merit when it can be used for how teachers are paid (paid less you can be sure). So, clearly, the State of New Jersey and Education Commissioner Bret Schundler know how to use "merit" as a way to punish. But how does the State of NJ REWARD merit? Well--- it hasn't quite figured that out yet.

While NJ Education Commissioner Bret Schundler tries to get the NJEA to sit down at the table and talk about merit pay and have NJ apply for RACE TO THE TOP funds- how does the state reward it's most accomplished students? Supposedly the product of the merit the teachers and administrators produced? By suspending the Bloustein scholarship program. A program completely based on MERIT. A program that was to impact 1800 students this year. A program that--- hold on to your wallets--- costs money. Yikes!

Proposed state budget cuts eliminate $1.8 million in funding for 2010 recipients of the merit-based Edward J. Bloustein Distinguished Scholar and Urban Scholars awards, a report in the Press of Atlantic City said.

Bloustein scholarships, which have recently averaged $930 per year, are rewarded to students in the top 10 percent of their classes who also achieve a minimum of 1260 (of 1600) on the SAT, according to the report. High school seniors had already been informed they were getting scholarships when they recently found out the funding was pulled, the report said.

Other programs impacted by the proposed cuts, some of which are not merit-based, include the Survivor Tuition Benefits, Teaching Fellows, N.J. World Trade Center Scholarship, and Social Services and Primary Care Practitioner Loan Redemption Programs. That's right---the N.J World Trade Center Scholarship for the children of those who perished on 9/11.