Monday, October 26, 2009

Regionalization/Consolidation Update

As a continued discussion of my previous blog post - Maryland is a POOR Example of Successful Consolidation, the NAEP released the 2009 Grades 4 and 8 state comparisons for Mathematics (www.nationsreportcard.gov). Not surprising, New Jersey outperformed Maryland in both grade levels. New Jersey ranked 5th in 4th Grade Mathematics with a 247 Average Scale Score. Massachusetts (252), New Hampshire (251), Minnesota (249) and Vermont (248) scored higher. New Jersey tied for third with North Dakota and Vermont in 8th Grade Mathematics with a 293 Average Scale Score. Massachusetts (299) and Minnesota (294) scored higher.

Why regionalize New Jersey's public schools? Research indicates that it is not a cost savings measure. California and Pennsylvania regionalized their school districts? How did it turn out for them? "California public schools, which in the 1960s had been ranked nationally as among the best, have fallen to 48th in many surveys of student achievement. Some have disputed Proposition 13's direct role in the move to state financing of public schools, because schools financed mostly by property taxes were declared unconstitutional in Serrano vs. Priest, and Proposition 13 was then passed partially as a result of that case. California's spending per pupil was the same as the national average until about 1985, when it began dropping, which led to another referendum, Proposition 98, that requires a certain percentage of the state's budget to be directed towards education" (Wikipedia, 2009). Regarding Pennsylvania's regionalization experience, read The Pennsylvania Experience.

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