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New Jersey Takes An Interesting Educational Path.

New-Jersey-Bookshelf-ROHIf you live in the City of Camden, New Jersey and have children, the news on the education front is rather depressing.

The new school superintendent in Camden, N.J., says it was a “kick-in-the-stomach moment” when he learned that only three district high school students who took the SAT this year scored as college-ready.

Paymon Rouhanifard on Tuesday told the school board and the community what he learned on a “listening tour” after he was named to the post in August.

He told the city’s Board of Education that low college readiness shows the district must do better.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports the superintendent also says he also heard about safety problems in the district. He says one action he’s taking immediately is waiving the $75 background check fee for parents who want to volunteer in the schools.

We do not believe that everyone should go to college as there are some people who are better suited for blue collar jobs which do not require a college degree. But it is difficult for us to imagine the complete, total failure and cratering of an educational system that cannot turn out more than three college ready kids in a school year.

According to the Camden City School District, there are 15,000 kids in the school system, which very roughly equates to about 1,000 kids per grade level. Three college ready kids is 0.3%.

Clearly this is a long term problem and we like the idea of waiving the dubious “background check” fee for volunteers. In fact, we would go a little further and say that people on public assistance should help in schools as a condition of receiving assistance. That help could be in the form of a teacher’s aide, maintenance, food preparation, lunch room monitoring (freeing up teachers to plan lessons, grade tests, etc.), working in a day care center for both them and teens with children, and a host of other things that could be accomplished.

Instead, we suspect that there will be a new call for more money into the system because teacher unions often believe that money solves everything.

In the meantime, even if one were to call for more money, the State of New Jersey has just passed its version of the “Dream Act,” which allows illegal immigrants living in the state for three years to receive in state tuition rates at New Jersey public colleges.

Students who grew up in New Jersey but are in the country illegally will soon be able to pay in-state tuition at its public colleges and universities.

After weeks of feuding between Republican Gov. Chris Christie and Democrats who control the Legislature over the so-called “DREAM Act,” the two sides reached a breakthrough today and agreed to a compromise.

“I’m overwhelmed with joy,” said state Sen. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex), the bill’s sponsor, as she fought back tears. Ruiz and state Senate leaders announced the deal at a press conference this morning, surrounded by students donning cap and gown outfits.

Christie today plans to sign legislation that would allow unauthorized immigrants who graduated high school in New Jersey after attending for at least three years to be eligible for the lower in-state rates at public higher educational institutions, including in-county rates at community colleges.

We find it strange that while the state of New Jersey is looking at an educational disaster in one area that many will say will require money to fix and on the other hand lower tuition rates for illegal immigrants which will mean a corresponding increase of tuition across the board to maintain the status quo of income at colleges.

There seems to be a disconnect there that we cannot reconcile.

We also have problems reconciling the idea that illegal immigrants get a break on tuition but legal citizens of other states such as New York, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Maryland would have to pay the higher out of state tuition fees.

Is there anything farther “out of state” than being in the state illegally?



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