Thursday, March 07, 2013

Chris Christie's School Reforms Are a Disaster for Taxpayers

Well, I bet I earn a few stray views from non-regulars with that headline, huh?

If you're here because you think Chris Christie's so-called school "reforms" are a sham and a mockery, welcome! Here's a little tidbit of evidence that New Jersey's governor, hailed nationwide for trying to wrench aging teachers out of the classroom, is costing taxpayers more money than he will save.

This week, the Board of Education of Haddonfield, New Jersey passed its school budget for 2013-14. In New Jersey, municipalities (not counties) pay for the public schools. Haddonfield is a high-rent district that receives minimal support from New Jersey state government.

The school superintendent, when explaining the inflated budget number, said that the district would have to hire a new administrator at $75,000 per year to comply with the new state evaluation system for teachers.

That's $75,000 that the residents of Haddonfield have to pony up. This figure was not in last year's budget, because the administrator was not needed until Christie's evaluation models had to be implemented.

*99 percent of all Haddonfield students go to college.
*Haddonfield students earn the highest average SAT scores in Camden County. (Last June, 1,714. Source: Haddonfield Sun)

So the taxpayers of Haddonfield have to pay an evaluator to tell them ... what? That the teachers are "proficient?"

You know who evaluates the teachers in Haddonfield constantly, relentlessly, and candidly? The parents. There's absolutely no need for a $75,000 bozo in a tie (or heels). Nevertheless, the citizens of Haddonfield must pay this person, and the person must evaluate Haddonfield's teachers the way Christie wants it -- four times a year, twice formally and twice informally.

For those of you in other states, let me just add that all New Jersey administrators must be trained in the new evaluation techniques. This training brings highly-paid consultants into the state to lead lengthy seminars that will consume the time and energy of people who already know how to judge good and bad teachers.

All of this to root out a few ineffective educators.

Haddonfield, if you vote for Chris Christie, he'll fleece you for more needless bureaucracy in your schools. You know the schools I'm talking about. The ones that are falling apart at the seams and are filthy because the janitorial staff has been cut back.

Whose money is Chris Christie saving? Not mine. I live in Haddonfield, and I just hired a new nobody instead of giving the terrific teachers a raise.

Can I make a bold, reform-based suggestion? Let's find an evaluator to look at Chris Christie four times a year. Twice formally, twice informally. Is he proficient?

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