Saturday, May 30, 2009

NJ Schools: Best In the County....

Just ask Corzine's Education Commissioner Lucile Davy, who told the Star Ledger:

"I would put New Jersey students up against any students in the country on any measure, no matter what it is," state Education Commissioner Lucille Davy, who is interviewed in the film, said this week. "While we have some students not performing at the levels we know they must, New Jersey has many, many high-performing, really outstanding schools."

Davy was defending New Jersey's school system against the premise of Filmmaker Bob Bowdon's The Cartel, that "public education serves its employees, not its children."

From the movie's website:

"For at least a generation, American public schools have been growing progressively worse. According to the U.S. Department of Education national testing, only 35% of American high school seniors are proficient in reading. And fewer than one-in-four, 23%, are proficient in math. On the global stage, America ranks last in educational effectiveness among large industrialized countries despite the highest spending per student in the world.

It presents something of a conundrum. How has the richest and most innovative society on earth suddenly lost the ability to teach its children at a level that other modern countries consider "basic"?

If the problem is that we're not spending enough on schools, which many people believe, it's instructive to study the U.S. state that spends more than any other per student: New Jersey

With spending as high as $483,000 per classroom (confirmed by NJ Education Department records), New Jersey students fare only slightly better than the national average in reading and math, and rank 37th in average SAT scores. And not even half of NJ's high school freshmen, despite the state's enormous "investment," are academically ready for college four years later.

Is anyone watching where the money goes? How much actually reaches the classroom? And if certain changes in the system would benefit children, but not necessarily the staff, would the adults running the system endorse those changes?

"The Cartel" investigates what is causing this vast underachievement and what can be done to turn things around. "

That New Jersey's Education system is a broken and corrupt institution that warehouses kids while enriching its employees is so obvious to anyone educated outside of the system that the debate is an insulting fantasy.

Why would the NJEA and the NEA spend millions of members dues (taxpayer dollars ultimately) on advertising,lobbying and political contributions, when they have no competition if what they were about was educating kids rather than enriching themselves? The answer is, they wouldn't.

I applaud Bowdon for making this movie. I also applaud Bob Ingle, who makes a brief appearance in the movie, The Star Ledger, and any other media outlet that brings attention to the movie and the issue, for finally raising awareness and telling the truth about this travesty.

New Jersey's disgraceful education system and its funding should be the number one issue in the up coming gubernatorial campaign. If we reform our education system into an institution that actually educates, that is truly thorough and efficient, we also solve our property tax problem and our urban problems.

Chris Christie has been alone in calling our education system a "moral failure." He is absolutely right about that. The failure is not only in the Abbott districts. It is throughout the system.

If we are going to Save Jersey and save our children, we must address education head on. We must stand up to the NJEA and the rest of the trough swillers of the system make create a system that performs well at a realistic cost. It can be done and it must be done.

3 comments: said...

Didn't know about this movie.

I have to get in touch with this guy.

Obama just gave Asbury Park $1.7 million for their schools.

You know - cause $90 million a year to educate 2500 K-12 kids just isn't enough.

What a waste of Stimuli.

Trevanian said...

There are two major problems with the public education system in New Jersey. And anyone who thinks the system isn't broken must be a recent product of the New Jersey school system. First, you have the decision coming out of the Wilentz court known as the Abbott decision. Make no mistake, the modification this week upholding the recent legislation does little to change the fact that state money is still pooring into the so-called "poor" districts, at the expense of the vast middle class districts in need of upgrading. Second, and of the greatest concern, is Title 18. Title 18 needs to be completely overhauled. It was a mistake from the beginning and has gotten progressively worse. Every aspect of it is flawed. First, there is the public passage of the school budget. Municipalities don't have that requirement, but school districts do. The system is a useless system that. while providing for a public approval of school budgets, provides no means of determining whether the public voting down the budget is because they want to spend less, they don't like the idea that certain programs were cut, or they don't like the corrupt administration behind the budget. There needs to be a system where the people's voice can be properly interpreted, or scrap the public voting entirely. Then there is the issue of the power of the superintendents. The superintendents do not get elected. Yet, in many instances, Title 18 gives them power OVER the elected officials. Given long term contracts and their ability to control the board members through nepotism, our school districts run counter to the idea of citizens having the ultimate say. It is difficult to impossible to clean up a school district while leaving the superintendent with as much power as Title 18 gives to them. The first step for any governor seeking to overhaul the education system is to completely rewrite Title 18.

M. Laffey said...

The sad thing is that all public schools get painted as bad because some are.
The failure of schools is not a failure of government it is a failure of socierty. Sure there are a few things that could be done to make schools better. Like making it easier to fire the small number of teachers who are incompetant. But state and federal intervention in education is not the answer. It is no coincidence that the more intervention we have had the worse schoolds gotten.
The bottom line is for schools to succeed they need the support of the community and more importantly the parents. Schools are failing primarily because our families are failing. Take all the kids in Asbury Park and bus them to the best school in the state and send the Kids from the best school to Asbury park and I will bet you that there is virtually no change in performance.

The second problem is our school sydtem is geared to sending everyone to college. Not everyone belongs in college or needs to be in college. Not everyone needs to learn algebra. Heck I am highly educated and I have not had an occasion to use algebra since I left college. Why are we forcing some kid who is not bound for college , does not like algebra does not want to learn algebra and may be incapable of learning algebra to take algebra. Shouldn't we be teaching that kid skills that will actually make a difference in his life instead of worrying about how he is going to bring down the average on the standardized tests.