WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

The depressing story of Newark (NJ) public schools: Virtually nothing to show for $100 Million

The NEW YORKER carries a depressing story about how valiant efforts to reform the public schools in Newark, New Jersey, came to naught.

No matter that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg committed $100 million to the Newark schools.

No matter that two bigger-than-life politicians, one from each party, then-Newark Mayor Cory Booker, and Governor Chris Christie were on board. (Booker and Christie both have new preoccupations these days: Booker, as a U.S. senator from New Jersey; and Christie, trying to emerge from Bridgegate and dealing with a massive budget shortfall in Trenton.)

As you read this account, you want to throw up your hands. If the team of Zuckerberg, Booker, and Christie couldn't do it, who can?

Repeatedly in America, the incomes and educational backgrounds of the parents are better indicators of academic achievement than anything else. If a household has few, if any books, and no computer - and if bullets whizz by outside the house or school - the chances of success are indeed remote. And of course there's the anti-academic popular culture which undermines education.

And while schools can't be run without money (obviously), too many dollars get spent on consulting fees and labor contracts. And charter schools become panaceas. We've already seen what happens with charter schools in Delaware: The affluent schools which preselect students tend to do very well, and the modest schools with academically challenged students still generally turn out academically challenged students. Plus, parents nearly everywhere resist change they see imposed from above: Remember middle-class parents in Delaware revolting against then-Governor Carper's three-tiered diploma system?

From The NEW YORKER----


Posted at 8:47am on May 14, 2014 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Wed, May 14, 2014 9:28am
The 100 million was actually 200 million since the stipulation was Booker had to raise the other funds privately, and Zuckerberg would release matching amounts.

Wed, May 14, 2014 11:08am
As a follow-up, this article and the school board elections show where the biggest issue in public education is: It's not money (there's more than enough of that). But when you have 100 people turning out for a school board election - that shows the glaring issue. (And of those 100, I bet 60-85% were staff.)

Wed, May 14, 2014 11:49am
I'm just curious... How many people regularly on this thread, voted in yesterday's election...?

Wed, May 14, 2014 12:05pm
As for the answer, Allan, we are learning through the mistakes being made with Common Core, RTTT, Rodel, Charter Schools, what is needed to change this paradigm.

It is pretty specific.

An 11:1 student teacher ratio in all schools with over 50% low income, for all grades k-5 and in grade 9....

Each teacher's sole duty would be to get those 11 students up to the next level.

Elimination of Charter schools and re-pooling of all educational funds back into public schools, period.

Tax the top 1% to pay for whatever cost would be incurred.

If Zuckerberg can, at the flip of a dime, cough up $100 million, so can everyone else in his income level. The Koch Bros already owe a $trillion in back taxes...

Let the teachers teach... They are the experts. Not $240,000 consultants who happen to be friends of the current governor, whether we are talking about Jersey or Delaware.

Use today's testing apparatus solely to identify the weaknesses of each student, and not to fire teachers, and not close schools, and not for merit pay.

Very simple. And very familiar to anyone who went to school anywhere between the 50's and the 70's.....

Thu, May 15, 2014 7:54am
I am both curious... and relieved.... that nothing, not one comment, showed up on a post about inner-city education, regarding Benghazi....

Perhaps indeed, the message has sunk in? A corner has been turned?

Thu, May 15, 2014 8:33am
Now even kavips is bringing Benghazi into threads that have nothing to do with Libya, Islamist terrorists or dying Ambassadors...interesting.

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