I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Best and the Brightest

You know those "best and brightest" we're going to get into our schools? The seven new county supers to replace the ones Christie just fired, giving no reason why? The new local supers who will get waivers for not having ever been teachers themselves? The "alt-route" teachers who will be populating all those shiny new charter schools?

Here's a taste of what to expect:
Claire Chamberlain Eckert, a new member of the state Board of Education, knows a thing or two about education.
She’s president of the board of trustees at the Peck School, a private Morristown K-8 institution where tuition for middle schoolers is $28,500. In her former job as a vice president at Goldman Sachs, she worked in a partnership with New York City to establish a charter school in Brooklyn.
But until Monday, Chamberlain Eckert, a major GOP donor and secretary of the Republican State Committee, had never heard of Abbott v. Burke — New Jersey’s well-known series of court decisions that mandated urban students get an education equal to students in the wealthiest districts.
The revelation came during her hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, after state Sen. Nia Gill (D-Essex) asked Eckert, a Bernardsville resident, if she thought money that schools receive from private foundations should be calculated into the state’s school funding formula.
“I don’t pretend to even know what the state school spending formula is, so it would be hard for me to comment on that,” she said.
Gill asked if she had ever heard of Abbott v. Burke.
“Sorry?” Chamberlain Eckert responded.
“Abbott v. Burke?” Gill asked again.
“No,” Chamberlain Eckert said.
“I have no further questions, thank you,” Gill said.
Sen. Joe Kyrillos defended Eckert, saying she “misspoke” because in their conversations they “talked about the inordinate amount of funding for some districts versus others.” Gill was the only senator to vote against Chamberlain Eckert in committee and in the full Senate, where she was confirmed.
If that last sentence doesn't disgust you, nothing will.

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