Friday, August 27, 2010
While the state scored high and low on a wide range of topics — including 10 points lost for lack of data systems to improve education — one 5-point answer was answered in error.
The state received nearly full points for its answer on the identical question on the application submitted for the first round of funding by the Corzine administration.
Here's a look at the question and answer, as well as the comments from reviewer's grading sheets, obtained Tuesday by The Star-Ledger and expected to be released today by the U.S. Department of Education.
The question answered in error is on PDF page 260 (see application), and the problematic answer is on PDF page 261. They read:
Q: The extent to which— (i) The percentage of the total revenues available to the State (as defined in this notice) that were used to support elementary, secondary, and public higher education for FY 2009 was greater than or equal to the percentage of the total revenues available to the State (as defined in this notice) that were used to support elementary, secondary, and public higher education for FY 2008
A: (i) EDUCATION SPENDING AS A PERCENTAGE OF STATE SPENDING
In fiscal year 2011, despite huge budget strains, the Governor is proposing an increase in state revenue-based support for education by 2.2% ($238 million). As proposed, preschool-12 education spending as a percentage of the state budget will be 35.4%. Federal ARRA funding will not be available to school districts in FY 2011, but the Governor and the executive team remain committed to funding education even as state revenue-based support for most other areas of state spending has been cut. This demonstrates that, despite severe fiscal challenges, the leadership in the state of New Jersey remains committed to education.
Read Full Article HERE---
Published: Wednesday, August 25, 2010, 8:44 AM
Lisa Fleisher/Statehouse Bureau
Thursday, August 26, 2010
HoLa offers a comprehensive curriculum delivered in both Spanish and English by teachers trained in innovative strategies specific to dual language education, with the goals of academic excellence and bilingualism for all students, regardless of language background. The school features an emphasis on the arts, an experiential approach, and a multicultural perspective. Studies show that students in dual language programs tend to outperform their monolingual peers academically.
HoLa’s Director, María Acosta, holds two Masters, one in School Administration and the other in Bilingual Education. For the past five years she has been the Assistant Principal at the Lenape Meadows Elementary School in Mahwah, NJ. Ms. Acosta has also served as both Master Teacher and World Languages Supervisor, and has developed curricula for grades K through 8. Ms. Acosta has been a presenter at various local and state conferences on teaching techniques in a world language classroom. “We are very excited to unveil this dynamic program which will allow our students to master a challenging curriculum, as well as fluency in Spanish and English,” said Ms. Acosta.
The school will be located at 123 Jefferson Street, home of the Boys and Girls Club of Hoboken. HoLa has undertaken extensive renovations to the building over the past year in preparation for its use as a school. After school hours, regular programming at the Boys and Girls Club will continue as usual. “We are delighted to be partnering with the Hoboken Dual Language Charter School and believe that the school will complement the services we currently provide the community,” said Gary Greenberg, Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Hudson County.
A charter school is a public school open to all students on a space-available basis and operated independently of the district board of education. All appropriately-aged Hoboken residents may apply, regardless of language skills or previous exposure to Spanish or English. If the number of applicants exceeds available spots in a given year, a public lottery will be held in January.
Charter schools have become a central component of the President’s Race to the Top initiative, an effort to reform the U.S. education system and narrow the achievement gap. Furthermore, President Obama has encouraged a focus on bilingualism. “We should have every child speaking more than one language,” he said in 2008. “We should be emphasizing foreign languages in our schools from an early age, because children will actually learn a foreign language easier when they’re 5, or 6, or 7 than when they’re 46, like me.”
For more information about the school, please visit holahoboken.org.
To read the press release in Spanish click read more below:
LA PRIMERA ESCUELA CHARTER ESPAÑOL/INGLES DE NEW
JERSEY ABRE SUS PUERTAS
La escuela de dos idiomas de Hoboken celebra su inauguración
Habrá una ceremonia para inaugurar HoLa, la escuela charter de dos idiomas de Hoboken viernes, el 27 de agosto entre las 8:30-9:30 de la mañana. Después de años de preparación y un proceso riguroso de solicitud, HoLa abrirá las puertas a 132 estudiantes de K-2o grado para que se matriculen en esta escuela pública y gratis. Se añadirá un grado por año hasta el 5o grado.
HoLa ofrece un currículo tradicional básico impartido en español e ingles por maestros adiestrados en estrategias particulares a la doble inmersión, con las metas de excelencia académica y bilingüismo para todos sus alumnos, sean cual sean sus idiomas natales. Los estudiantes adquieren conocimientos y habilidades en todas las áreas principales de contenido mediante la instrucción en ambas lenguas. Además este programa ofrece un énfasis en los artes, un acercamiento experimental y una perspectiva multicultural. Los estudios académicos muestran que los estudiantes de doble inmersión tienden a salir mejor que los matriculados en programas monolingües.
La directora de HoLa, María Acosta, tiene dos Masters, una en la administración de escuelas y la otra en la educación bilingüe. Durante los últimos cinco años ha sido la asistente directora en la escuela primaria Lenape Meadows de Mahwah, NJ. Además Sra. Acosta ha servido como maestra de docencia y supervisora del programa de la enseñanza de lenguas, y ha desarrollado el currículo lingüístico para los grados K-8. La Sra. Acosta ha dado ponencias en varios congresos acerca de la docencia de los idiomas. “Nos emociona el estreno de este programa dinámica que permitirá que nuestros alumnos alcancen el dominio total de un currículo exigente, además de adquirir dos idiomas” dijo Sra. Acosta.
La escuela estará en 123 Jefferson Street, compartiendo el mismo edificio con el Boys and Girls Club de Hoboken. HoLa ha llevado a cabo unas renovaciones extensivas al edificio para preparar para su uso como escuela. Después de las horas escolares, los programas normales del Boys and Girls Club resumirán. “Estamos encantados de colaborar con HoLa, y creemos que la escuela complementará los servicios que actualmente proveemos a la comunidad” comentó Gary Greenberg, el director ejecutivo del Boys and Girls Club de Hudson County.
Una escuela charter es una escuela pública abierta a todos los estudiantes según las plazas disponibles. Todos los niños de la edad indicada pueden solicitar una plaza, sea cual sea el idioma que hablan en casa. Si el número de solicitudes recibidas excediese al número de plazas existentes se celebraría un sorteo público en enero para asignar dichas plazas.
La escuelas charter han jugado un papel principal en la iniciativa “Race to the Top” del presidente Obama, un intento de reformar el sistema educativo estadounidense y promover el éxito académico para todos. Además, el presidente Obama ha destacado la importancia de promocionar el bilingüismo en los EEUU. “Deberíamos exigir que todos los niños sean bilingües” dijo el 2008. “Necesitamos fomentar el estudio de los idiomas desde una edad temprana, porque son más fáciles de adquirir cuando uno tiene 5,6, o 7 años que cuando uno tenga 46, como yo”.
Para aprender más acerca de HoLa, por favor acuda a holahoboken.org
Sunday, August 22, 2010
The commission said that from 2001 to 2007, New Jersey claimed to have money set aside in a “benefit enhancement fund” as part of a “five-year plan” to pay for new benefits for teachers and general state employees. In fact, the fund was an accounting illusion and no such money was available. The misstatements began during the Republican administration of Gov. Donald T. DiFrancesco and continued under Democratic administrations, including those of James McGreevey and Jon Corzine.
By the time Gov. Chris Christie took office this year, the pension funds had been deprived of contributions for so long that it had become near impossible to catch up. The state needs to come up with billions of dollars every year, something it cannot do without raising taxes, cutting public services or going even deeper into debt. Governor Christie has been forcing cuts in education spending and other areas in hopes of improving the state’s finances.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
"When I served as superintendent for seven years in Arlington, Virginia, the school board evaluated me annually. Boards members and I designed the evaluation. We agreed upon the criteria and the multiple measures to be used in reaching conclusions about my performance as school chief. While the discussions were private, the school board released to the public their judgment of my performance and my salary for the coming year. Because I was a highly visible public employee, taxpayers provided the funds to operate the schools, and I participated in the design of the evaluation, I had no reservations about the process or making the results public."
Picture: Larry Cuban
The following was reported by Sam Dillon of the NY Times on August 5, 2010. Last month, the Senate subcommittee that allocates federal education money weighed in on one such promising innovation, slicing, by more than 90 percent, the $210 million that President Obama requested for next year for his Promise Neighborhoods initiative. -Dr. Petrosino
Teach for America, the nonprofit group that recruits elite college students to teach in public schools, and the KIPP Foundation, which runs a nationwide network of charter schools, were big winners in a $650 million federal grant competition known as Investing in Innovation, theDepartment of Education said Wednesday.
Each group won $50 million. Two others won large awards for proposals the department said were backed by significant evidence of success with students.
The Success for All Foundation, a Baltimore group that helps to turn around struggling elementary schools, won $49 million. And Ohio State University, partnered with several other universities, was awarded $46 million to train some 3,750 teachers in the Reading Recovery approach, which focuses on struggling first-grade students.
The department awarded the remaining $455 million in smaller amounts to 45 other nonprofit groups and school districts. About 1,700 groups applied for grants, the department said.
Congress financed the innovation grant competition in last year’s economic stimulus, along with the larger, better-known, $4.2 billion competition known as Race to the Top, in which states have put forward proposals for shaking up their school systems.
The innovation competition, in contrast, was open to nonprofit organizations and local school districts.
The $650 million was given out in awards of three levels. The four largest awards of nearly $50 million each went to groups proposing to greatly expand programs, like Teach for America and the KIPP charters, that the department viewed has having been proved successful.
Fifteen second-tier awards of up to $30 million each went to groups with somewhat less-established programs, hoping to solidify their track record and expand. The winners of these so-called validation awards included the Smithsonian Institution, which won about $26 million for a proposal to advance “inquiry oriented” science education in hundreds of school districts, and Johns Hopkins University, which was given $30 million to advance its work in overhauling high schools with such dismal graduation rates that the university has identified them as dropout factories.
The smallest awards went to organizations proposing what were basically brainstorms: 30 groups that put forward reasonable ideas that sounded intriguing, however untested, won grants of up to $5 million. Winners included the Jefferson County Schools in Louisville, which proposed increasing the instruction time devoted to students in six low-performing high schools by 30 percent, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, for a plan to provide extra literacy tutoring and after-school help to hundreds of struggling young readers.
As the department developed the innovation competition, it heard considerable criticism that rural school districts were at a significant disadvantage because developing a sophisticated grant proposal was said to be beyond the reach of tiny, remote districts with only a handful of administrators. Hundreds of remote districts have only one school. The department also heard complaints that as the innovation competition, Race to the Top, and other programs have unfolded, little attention has been given to early childhood education.
In the 105-point scoring rubric under which the department judged the innovation proposals, those that could benefit rural schools and those in the early childhood arena were given bonus points, officials said.
In a conference call on Wednesday evening, James Shelton, a deputy assistant secretary of education, defended the fairness of the competition with regard to rural schools and early learning initiatives. In a release, the department said that more than a third of the winning proposals were intended to serve rural schools and more than a quarter were in some way aimed at improving early learning.
Still, some early learning advocates were not impressed. Cornelia Grumman, executive director of the First Five Years Fund, a nonprofit that advocates for early learning initiatives, said that although two groups that focus on early childhood won $5 million awards, she saw little else that advanced pre-kindergarten education.
“I see almost nothing for early ed,” Ms. Grumman said. “Despite a whole lot of talk that we’ve now heard for the last two years coming out of the administration and the Department of Education about integrating early education into K-12 for better student outcomes — once again it’s sounding like just so much empty rhetoric.”
In order to qualify for the awards, all the winning groups must obtain 20 percent matching pledges from foundations or other private sector donors by Sept. 8, the department said. Each of the groups that won $50 million, for instance, must persuade private donors to give an additional $10 million to support their projects.
In the first round of Race to the Top, Tennessee won $500 million and Delaware $100 million. The department says it will divide the $3.4 billion that remains next month among about a dozen states.
Picture: an unexpected development recently
Monday, August 16, 2010
Just over a third of the schools earned an A or B, meaning that they require certain types of classes in at least four of seven key areas, ranging from literature to economics to mathematics.
“We hope this will be a wake-up call that colleges are asking for lots of money and a major sacrifice by families, but in too many places they have really abdicated their responsibility to direct students to what they need to learn for success after graduation,” says Anne Neal, president of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA), a nonprofit in Washington that promotes such required education and made the assessments.
Monday, August 2, 2010
tax revenue to Hoboken. It appears that Rockefeller was compelled to go to the media due to the lack of response by Mayor Zimmer.
resulted in incidents where the HPD was forced to request more than 50 officers for mutual aid because there were insufficient HPD personnel working due to budget cuts. On St. Patrick’s Parade Day, HPD officers issued over $300,000 worth of fines that have been collected to date, with many cases still not resolved. The combined total cost for police overtime was $150,000.
specialized units such as community policing, school resource officers, anti-crime units, traffic bureau, housing bureau, P.A.L., and bike patrol unit just to name a few. We may be headed to a level that is 27% lower than in the early 2000s. It ignores reality to think that service levels will not suffer when such draconian cuts are made.
may have the effect of displacing crime because it can never be eliminated), the city that boarders to the east, north and south of those cities (Hoboken) is cutting police. Is this really in the best interest of Hoboken’s residents and taxpayers?