ARCHIVE FOR APRIL 2006
NJDOE RELEASES FINAL AYP STATUS REPORT FOR 2005 (4/3/2006)
On March 31, the NJ Department of Education announced that the NCLB adequate yearly progress (AYP) status of nine school districts and 76 schools has changed as a result of final calculations for the 2005 testing period.
The changes in status involve seven districts that had been designated "in need of improvement" but no longer will have that designation (Teaneck, Orange, Hunterdon Central Regional, North Brunswick, Pinelands Regional, Linden, and Phillipsburg), and five schools that similarly will no longer have that designation: Leeds Avenue Elementary School in Pleasantville, Sumner School in Camden, Middletown High School North in Middletown Township, Swimming River School in Tinton Falls, and Haviland Avenue School in Audubon.
Forty other schools that had been placed in “early warning” status but did make AYP under the final calculations have been removed from the Department’s NCLB status lists.
AYP results are based on schools’ scores on the High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA), Grade Eight Proficiency Assessment (GEPA) and New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge (NJASK3/4), administered to third- and fourth-graders. In order to achieve AYP, students must meet both the proficiency targets and a 95 percent participation rate in math and language arts literacy for each of a number of subgroups, which include total school population, students with disabilities, limited English proficiency (LEP) students, economically disadvantaged students and white, Hispanic, African American, Asian/Pacific Islander and American Indian/Native American students.
Press Release: DOE Announces Final AYP (3/31/2006)
List of Changes to Schools
List of Schools’ Final Status
List of Changes to Districts
List of Districts’ Final Status
CEP ISSUES ANNUAL REPORT ON NCLB IMPLEMENTATION (4/5/2006)
The Center on Education Policy has released its fourth annual report on the implementation of NCLB. The report, "From the Capital to the Classroom: Year 4 of the No Child Left Behind Act," is a comprehensive analysis of NCLB implementation by the federal government, states, and school districts. It is based on survey information from 50 states and 299 school districts, and features 38 district case studies. Among its findings: 1) 37 states said the adequacy of state funding to comply with NCLB is a “serious” or “moderate” challenge; (2) for the first time since the survey began, there was no significant difference in the percent of high-minority enrollment districts and lower-minority enrollment districts reporting that all their teachers are highly qualified; and 3) 71 percent of the nation’s school districts have cut back on instructional time spent on history, music, and other subjects to add more time for reading and math. According to a related article in the New York Times, this practice, known as “narrowing the curriculum,” seems to affect those schools that test below grade level most.
From the Capital to the Classroom: Year 4 of the No Child Left Behind Act (3/28/2006)
New York Times: Schools Cut Back Subjects to Push Reading and Math (3/26/2006)
NATIONAL COUNCIL OF CHURCHES CONSIDERS "MORAL CONCERNS" OF NCLB
The National Council of Churches has released a statement highlighting what it terms “moral concerns” of No Child Left Behind. According to the statement, “Now several years into No Child Left Behind’s implementation, as its hundreds of sequential regulations have begun to be triggered, it is becoming clear that the law is leaving behind more children than it is saving. The children being abandoned are our nation’s most vulnerable children -- children of color and poor children in America’s big cities and remote rural areas -- the very children the law claims it will rescue.” The statement mentions the following 10 concerns: (1) Fear that the law will discredit public education; (2) NCLB doesn't acknowledge different starting lines nor celebrate individual accomplishments; (3) School failure can be used to shame children; (4) NCLB requires children in special education to pass tests designed for children without disabilities; (5) NCLB requires English language learners to take tests in English before they learn English: (6) NCLB blames schools and teachers for challenges neither within their making nor their capacity to change; (7) Relentless testing obscures the humanities, the arts, and adolescent development; (8) NCLB operates through sanctions; (9) NCLB exacerbates racial & economic segregation in metropolitan areas; and (10) NCLB makes demands on states and school districts without fully funding reforms.
Ten Moral Concerns of the No Child Left Behind Act (3/2006)
STATE FILES APPLICATION CALLING FOR REDUCED FUNDING OF ABBOTT DISTRICTS (4/11/2006)
On April 7, the State filed an application in the New Jersey Supreme Court seeking approval of Governor Jon S. Corzine's recommended school aid budget for FY2007. The application is necessary because the governor's recommended budget provides about $150 million less funding to the Abbott districts than the court's mandates require.
The State's application restarts the Abbott v. Burke case, which, since 1981, has focused on improving educational opportunities for poor and minority children in the State’s poor urban schools. The Education Law Center, attorney for the Abbott districts' 350,000 students, will strongly oppose the State's application, stating that the Governor is asking for permission to make substantial cuts in programs, staff and services in schools serving New Jersey’s poorest students.
ELC also has called on the Legislature to reject the Governor’s budget cuts and provide funding increases to non-Abbott school districts across the state. According to David Sciarra, ELC Executive Director, “We will vigorously defend the right of these students to a high quality education, which will be seriously undermined if the Governor is allowed to make cuts in critically needed programs and staff."
State's Brief in Support of the State's Application (4/7/2006)
Corzine Defies Liberal Expectations in Call to Freeze Aid to Needy Schools (4/11/2006)
N.J. EDUCATION SPENDING HIGHEST IN THE COUNTRY, CENSUS BUREAU REPORT FINDS (4/17/2006)
According to a new report issued by the Census Bureau, New Jersey spends $12,981 per student, the highest of all 50 states and the District of Columbia. This amount is based on 2003-04 data, the most recent available. According to the report, Public Education Finances 2004, published last month, the national average is $8,287 per student. The data was gathered from all public elementary and secondary school districts (defined in the report as “pre-kindergarten through 12 grade regular, special and vocational education, as well as cocurricular, community service and adult education programs provided by a public school system”), and provides state comparisons of revenue and expenditure per pupil, the relation of revenue and expenditure to state personal income, finance data for districts with enrollments of 10,000 or more, and additional tables and rankings.
U.S. Census Bureau: Public Education Finances 2004
GOVERNOR CORZINE SIGNS SCHOOL ACCOUNTABILITY ACT (4/24/2006)
On April 17, Governor Jon Corzine signed into law S-1469/A-2684, the School District Fiscal Accountability Act. The law amends the Quality School District Accountability Continuum Act (QSAC) and the school takeover law, and gives the state additional power to intervene in financially troubled districts. Specifically, the new act permits a "state monitor" to be appointed to provide direct oversight of a board of education's business operations and personnel matters if the school district receives an adverse or a disclaimer of opinion by its independent auditor in the annual audit required pursuant to [statute] or if any two or more of the following circumstances apply to the school district:
- district ends the year with a deficit balance;
- district receives a qualified opinion by the independent auditor;
- district receives audit findings by its independent auditor identified as material weaknesses;
- district fails to develop and implement a plan acceptable to the commissioner to address a potential or actual deficit in general fund, special revenue fund, or capital projects fund; or
- district fails to implement a plan from the prior year which causes findings from the independent auditor to be repeated.
Under the new law, acting Commissioner of Education Lucille E. Davy has appointed Dr. R. Gregory Quirk, a retired assistant superintendent, former school business administrator and certified public accountant, as the interim state monitor for the Willingboro School district.
Press Release: Governor Corzine Signs Legislation Enhancing Fiscal Accountability for School Districts (4/17/2006)
School District Fiscal Accountability Act (4/17/2006)
Star-Ledger: Corzine Backs New Scrutiny of School District Spending (4/18/2006)
Press Release: Acting Commissioner Appoints Interim State Monitor for Willingboro (4/21/2006)
ECS NOTE ANALYZES COMPLIANCE WITH NCLB ASSESSMENT REQUIREMENTS (4/28/2006)
A “State Note” issued this month by the Education Commission of the States analyzes compliance by each state with assessment requirements under No Child Left Behind that take effect in 2006 and 2008.
The law requires states to test students annually in reading and mathematics in grades 3-8 and once in high school by the 2005-06 school year. According to the note, 49 states and the District of Columbia are in compliance with these mandates. Iowa, which uses locally developed tests, is the only outlier. The law also requires states to administer science assessments at least once in grades 3-5, 6-9 and 10-12 by 2007-08. According to the note, 27 states currently have assessments in place that meet these requirements and 21 others expect to be prepared by the deadline.
For all three subjects, exams must be aligned with state proficiency standards. Reading and math results determine whether schools and districts are making adequate yearly progress (AYP) toward full compliance with NCLB’s accountability provisions.
State Reading, Math and Science Assessments Aligned to No Child Left Behind (4/2006)
NJDOE: No Child Left Behind Information