Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Jersey Jazzman: Chris Cerf's Late Conversion On School Funding and Testing

Jersey Jazzman: Chris Cerf's Late Conversion On School Funding and Testing:

Chris Cerf's Late Conversion On School Funding and Testing

Chris Christie's "Fairness Formula" is so blatantly unfair and illogical that even Chris Cerf -- Christie's former Commissioner of Education and current State Superintendent of Newark Public Schools -- can't support it:

The superintendent appointed by Gov. Chris Christie to run Newark's state-controlled school district said a 60-percent cut in aid projected under a new funding formula proposed by the governor would be "catastrophic" for the district.  
"I don't mind saying explicitly that a reduction in our budget of 60 percent would be catastrophic," said Superintendent Christopher Cerf, a former state education commissioner under Christie, who appointed Cerf to run the state's largest district last year.
Cerf's comment was in response to a reporter's question about the impact on the district of a projected 60 percent cut in aid under the new Fairness Formula proposed by Christie.
The formula, unveiled in June, would dole out precisely the same amount of aid per pupil — $6,599 — to all New Jersey school districts, regardless of affluence, resulting in a savings for 85 percent of the state's property taxpayers, while translating into dramatic cuts in aid to poor districts that rely on the state to fund a much higher proportion of their school budgets. 
An analysis by NJ Advance Media found that aid to Newark and some other poor districts would be cut by 60 percent or more under the governor's proposed formula. [emphasis mine]
As I pointed out last October, this is quite a shift in thinking for Cerf. When he was in Christie's administration, he used to go around the state saying NJ's urban districts were getting way too much money:

Pumping more money into our worst-performing districts has provided us with moral cover, persuading us that we have met our obligation to the students in those districts while allowing us to under serve them.More money has permitted past governors and legislatures to avoid the politically difficult reforms – like implementation of an educator evaluation system, tenure reform, and ending the pernicious “last in, first out” policy – so critical to turning around our lowest-performing schools. And more money has likewise allowed the Department of Education to be satisfied with a role as district compliance-monitor rather than district partner, collaborator, and, where necessary, instigator of seismic reform. [emphasis mine]
Funny how actually running a district causes you to think about this stuff a little Jersey Jazzman: Chris Cerf's Late Conversion On School Funding and Testing:

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