New Jersey Supreme Court is deciding how my tax dollars are spent.

Last year in an attempt to close a looming budget shortfall the Governor of New Jersey cut 1 billion dollars from the budget for schools.  The Education Law Center was none too pleased and not the New Jersey Supreme Court is hearing a petition by the organization that it is unconstitutional for the state to cut the cut the school budget.  The first question I have is who are the members of the Education Law Center.   This is easily answered.

Lester Aron, Esq., SVP & General Counsel,
University of Medicine and Dentistry of NJ
Vince Giordano
, Executive Director, New Jersey Education Association
Helen Lindsay, Education Activist
Lawrence S. Lustberg, Esq., Partner, Gibbons Del Deo, Newark
Glenn Schroeder, Senior Vice President & General Counsel, Education Testing Service
Michael Smith, President,
Greg Stewart, Esq., Law Offices of C. Gregory Stewart
Linda Torres, Esq.
, Carpenter, Bennett & Morrissey
Jeffrey Venezia, President, Design Ideas Group
Junius W. Williams, Esq., Director, Abbott Leadership Institute, Rutgers University
One  person pops out here.  The Executive Director of the Teachers Union?  Working as a trustee of an organization that is demanding funding for schools?   I have my concerns.
Today in the Star Ledger via the AP, it was reported that the state is asking to present financial data in support of the cuts.  To this writer the financial situation in the state would be the first thing I would evaluate.  But the Education Law Center see it differently.

Hearing is scheduled on whether N.J. budget problems will be allowed into evidence in school funding dispute

Published: Thursday, February 10, 2011, 6:28 PM     Updated: Thursday, February 10, 2011, 6:45 PM

TRENTON — A judge appointed by New Jersey’s Supreme Court to consider whether New Jersey is adequately funding its schools in the wake of state aid cuts has another issue to wrestle with.

A group that advocates for students says the state shouldn’t be allowed to introduce evidence about its fiscal constraints.

The Education Law Center has asked Judge Peter Doyne to bar the state from introducing information from the state treasurer and other officials about why the state cut subsidies to public schools by about $1 billion this year.

The advocates say the state has tried to introduce the evidence even after the Supreme Court said it was beyond the scope of the Doyne’s assignment.

A hearing on the issue is scheduled for Friday in Hackensack.

How can anyone fairly assess the motivation of the state for the cuts if they do not look at the financial situation.  The mere fact that the Education Law Center wants to exclude the evidence points out the bias of the organization.   Anyone who thinks that the Governor of this state wants to deprive the children  a good education is sadly mistaken.  Christie, the product of the New Jersey Public School system obviously knows the importance of a good education.  The reality here is that the state wants to present their financial picture to the court.    I am not sure why any taxpayer or organization would not want that information out there in the public domain.  Obviously the state thinks it is important.
So now we have to ask the question.  Why would the Education Law Center not want the state to show the courts its finances.? Yesterday I ended my blog with an open-ended phrase.  Today I will say it.   Clearly the Education Law Center does not want it public and they have an agenda.  To that end they will fight for keeping this information out so that they can have their agenda confirmed by the courts.  Plain and simple this organization that has a member of the NJEA leadership as one of the guiding forces wants only to force the state to spend money it does not have.
Let’s be clear.  This is our tax dollars this group is playing with.  The Governor is trying to get out of control spending reigned in and part of that is school spending.  Here is the Education Law Centers own evaluation of the 2006 progress in the Abbott districts.

Newark, NJ — February 7, 2007

Analysis of the 2006 standardized test results, released today in the State Report Card, shows that overall achievement levels in New Jersey’s high poverty “Abbott” districts are holding steady in the 4th, 8th, and 11th grades. Since 2002, however, gaps gave closed between the Abbott districts and the state average in 4th and 11th grade.

The analysis also shows several Abbott districts are excelling, moving to the state average and beyond. These include Garfield, West New York, Long Branch, Vineland, Phillipsburg, Hoboken, Union City and Gloucester City.

“While progress continues to be made in some areas, the Report Card data underscores the urgent need to evaluate what’s working in successful districts, and to identify best practices,” said David Sciarra, ELC Executive Director. The NJ Supreme Court first ordered an Abbott program evaluation in 1998, but the NJ Department of Education still has repeatedly failed to initiate this critical work.

Key Abbott findings from the 2006 Report Card include:

Grade 4

  • 66 percent passed the math exam, up from 64 percent in 2005. 2006 math results are a dramatic increase from only 42% passing in 2002.
  • West New York and Union City exceeded the state average on the math exam with 84 percent scoring at least proficient compared to 83 percent statewide.
  • 61 percent of all Grade 4 Abbott students tested met or exceeded proficiency on the language arts exam, down from 66 percent last year. About the same proportion passed the exam in 2006 as did in 2002.
  • The highest performing Abbott districts Grade 4 language arts exam were Garfield, West New York, Long Branch, Vineland, and Union City.

Grade 8

  • 48 percent of all Grade 8 students in the Abbott districts passed the language arts exam in Grade 8, holding steady with the 47 percent pass rate of 2005.
  • Hoboken exceeded state performance on both exams, with 86 percent passing the language arts exam (compared to 75% across New Jersey) and 75 percent passing in math (compared to 65% statewide).
  • 35 percent scored at least proficient on the math exam, about the same percentage of students who passed last year. Although too many students are still not passing, this represents an increase from the 28 percent who passed the exam in 2002.

Grade 11

  • 60 percent of all tested 11th graders passed the HSPA in language arts. This percentage has not changed since 2002.
  • Phillipsburg exceeded the state average of 84 percent passing on the Grade 11 language arts exam with 86 percent passing
  • 49 percent scored at least proficient on the math exam, about the same percentage as passed the test in 2005. The pass rate represents a dramatic improvement since 2002 when only 39 percent passed the test.
  • Both Phillipsburg (79%) and Gloucester City (77%) exceeded the state average of 76 percent passing on the math portion of the Grade 11.

ELC is conducting further analyses of this data. Look for more information in the coming weeks.

First they say the rate held steady and as you can see it did.  SO how then is any district surging ahead?  Does it mean others are slipping?  It has to for the statistics to remain static.  There was little improvement in the statistics.  The Abbott decision moved money around and cost the taxpayers way too much money.  The results overall are negligible.  Yet here we are almost 5 years after those lackluster statistics are released and this group of Lawyers and Union Representatives are still fighting for this giant gaping hole in the budget.  It is time to overhaul this waste of money and start over.  Instead of suing for the status quo maybe the Education Law Center can find an alternative to its failure.  One more point.  The data above is the last progress report I can find on the Education Law Centers web site.  If you can find new data I would love to see what they are fighting for.  Reform to Abbott is needed.






Filed under Chris Christie, Education Law Center, Education Reform, New Jersey, NJEA

3 responses to “New Jersey Supreme Court is deciding how my tax dollars are spent.

  1. Sickofreilly

    Wow-cannot believe they can do this and take it to NJ Supreme Court!
    On a side note-just wanted to say that I am so sick of seeing Mike Reilly’s opinion in the paper all the time-he must have a family member or friend at the BCT-he’s in the paper again this morning talking nonsense.

  2. liana

    not sure what type of progress report youre looking for..but i am doing a project on budget cuts and this website can show you some useful information.

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