School Budget Confusion?

A colleague asked me today “How are you dealing with all this confusion around the school budget?” My response was that I’m not confused.  I’m crystal clear about what has happened, is happening and will keep on happening if nothing is done to correct the harm and

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How suspensions hurt our kids and our schools

On last Saturday, we joined PEOC in bringing light to a national crisis: pushing our kids out of school by suspending them. It’s not just a national problem. It hurts us here in Paterson, too. In 2010-11, Paterson schools suspended over 4,000 of our children. The numbers

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New year, old issue: vouchers

Happy New Year! I wish the best for you as 2012 begins. I also wish that we would stop trying to “fix” our Paterson schools with smoke and mirrors. There are all sorts of reasons to oppose the voucher legislation known as the “Opportunity Scholarship Act” from

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Save Our Schools!

 Linda and I had an exhilarating experience at the Save Our Schools March in Washington DC this Saturday!  5,000 people gathered at the Ellipse Park behind the White House and rallied for more resources for public schools. Rally speakers included Diane Ravitch, Jonathan Kozol, Pedro Noguera and

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Lawless in NJ? School funding redux

This could be the week we hear from the NJ Supreme Court about the School Funding Reform Act of 2008.  Is the state required to follow the law? Or can a governor and legislature simply ignore the law? If the governor and legislature don’t agree with the court,

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Making Do without $54 million

It’s budget time for schools across the country.  Schools face higher demands and reduced support. And the news in Paterson isn’t any better. While our budget increased by $14 million, its buying power is less.  For example, we will lose 250 staff members next year. It’s not

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Looking for the Money, not Just Following it

“Follow the Money” is a workshop about understanding school budgets that I’ve been offering for years. Because all NJ school districts use the same formats and regualtions, the materials I’ve developed about the Paterson budget can be used for any NJ community. However, Paterson remains my major

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Listening for Justice

On Wednesday afternoon at 2 pm in Judge Doyne’s courtroom, we will once again listen for the sounds of justice as the judge hears closing arguments in the SFRA remand trial. What are the sounds of justice? For me, it is to hear that ALL the children have

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Late to the party: beyond outrage

“Why aren’t you outraged? You should be outraged!”say our newest education reformers. Where have they been? Not paying attention, I guess. I’ve had plenty of outrage at the terrible things done to our kids.  I’ve spent countless hours talking to bureaucrats in Trenton about abuses by the leadership

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Lies, damned lies and statistics in the Supreme Court

I have a hard time listening to lawyers describe our public schools. I want to stand up and shout: go to a school!  We could have gotten up from the Trenton court room and walked a few blocks to a school that the Christie administration says meets

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