School Reform in Newark

Note: This page describes a grant made by Good Ventures to support school reform in Newark. GiveWell staff assisted with this project as part of GiveWell's "general support" for Good Ventures.

In April 2014, Good Ventures granted $5 million to Startup:Education to support its efforts in Newark.

About the project

Why Newark?

Startup:Education chose Newark as the district to receive its support for school reform because of the combination of high needs, under-performing schools, and reform-minded leaders.[1]

Funding

Startup:Education and other donors

In September 2010, Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan launched Startup:Education with a commitment of $100 million to invest in educating and improving the lives of young people in Newark as well as to challenge others who want to improve education in America to match this contribution. As such, Zuckerberg and Chan’s commitment is intended to "match" an additional $100 million to be raised from other donors also supporting Newark.[2] Funding from Startup:Education is "unlocked" on a one-for-one basis with donations from other donors.

Implementing organizations

Foundation for Newark's Future (FNF) administers the majority of the funding from Startup:Education, as well as some of the funds from other donors.[3]

Good Ventures grant

Good Ventures is supporting the Newark effort, granting Startup:Education $5 million to support school reform in Newark as part of the overall $100 million match. Good Ventures’ grant "unlocked" $5 million of the $100 million from Zuckerberg and Chan for use in Newark.

The grant from Good Ventures was contingent upon 2 conditions:

  1. Approval of a transformational new teacher contract.[4] (Achieved in November 2012.[5])
  2. Plans laid out publicly by Newark Public Schools for monitoring and evaluation of student and school outcomes resulting from school reform projects. (more)

Uses of funds

FNF Grantmaking

As of May 20, 2014, FNF had administered $82,288,024 of grants.[6]

FNF's largest grant to date was the $48,500,000 it provided to fund the Newark Teachers Contract.[7] The primary costs of the new contract were $18 million for annual bonuses for outstanding performance, transition bonuses and a more equitable salary scale offering more money earlier in each teacher’s career, and $31 million for retroactive payments to teachers.[8]

Other major categories of spending are "K-12 Education" (support for high-quality district and charter schools and supplementary education programs) at $28 million, “Early Childhood Education” (support for high quality care and early education) at $1.9 million and "Community Engagement" (support for family and community engagement initiatives) at $3.7 million.[9]

For a list of FNF grants, see FNF’s website: http://foundationfornewarksfuture.org/grants/ (individual grants are listed for each strategic priority).

Context for the project

Tenure reform in New Jersey

In August 2012, the New Jersey legislature unanimously passed a bill to reform teacher tenure, with the support of Governor Chris Christie.[10] This bill made significant changes to tenure regulations:

The new tenure legislation left in place “seniority rights” protections for teachers, known as a “last in, first out” (LIFO). As one of only 11 states with LIFO, New Jersey’s seniority rights protect the longest-serving teachers in the event of layoffs.[16]

New teachers contract in Newark

On November 14, 2012, the Newark Public Schools and Newark Teachers Union ratified a new teachers contract.[17] The contract introduced a number of significant reforms, including:

The new teachers contract is expected to be financially self-sustaining once grant funding is implemented, and assuming natural attrition occurs in teaching staff.[24]

Assessing Impact

Measuring school performance

Newark Public Schools has identified metrics and achievement targets for early childhood education, K-8 schools, and high schools.

High schools

Newark Public Schools has defined 3 metrics to target for high school performance based on standardized assessments and the completion of graduation requirements:[25]

Newark’s targets and recent rates of each metric are as follows:[26]

  SY 10-11 SY 11-12 SY 12-13 Target: SY 17-18 Target: SY 20-21
ACT Graduates N/A N/A 7% 33% 45%
HSPA Graduates 32% 39% 42% 25% 35%
Other Graduates 25% 26% 26% 15% 5%

Note that “ACT Graduates” data is not available before the 2012-13 school year because ACT data collection began in the 2011-12 school year but has a one year lag because the test is administered in 11th grade.[27]

K-8 schools

K-8 schools are assessed using two metrics:[28]

Schools are classified as[30]

The percentage of schools in each group for recent years and Newark’s targets are as follows:[31]

  SY 10-11 SY 11-12 SY 12-13 Target: SY 17-18 Target: SY 20-21
Low 70% 56% 53% 20% 5%
On the Move 9% 18% 17% 50% 50%
Good 21% 26% 30% 30% 45%

Newark shared school-level data on K-8 schools with us (Newark Public Schools, “School data”).[32]

Early childhood education

Preschools will be assessed using the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECERS), an external evaluation developed by the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina which uses 43 factors, including space, activities, and interactions, to assess the quality of an early childhood environment.[33] Evaluations are conducted by an assessor observing a classroom for around 3 hours, including a 30 minute interview with the caregiver.[34]

Newark has defined programs as “Struggling” if their ECERS score is 4 or below, as “Adequate” if their score is 5, and as “Good” if their score is 6 or 7.[35]

Newark has set target rates for the percentage of schools that fall into each category by the 2017-18 and 2020-21 school years. These rates are as follows, along with rates from recent years:[36]

  SY 10-11 SY 11-12 SY 12-13 Target: SY 17-18 Target: SY 20-21
Struggling 9% 13% 17% 5% 0%
Adequate 34% 52% 55% 45% 30%
Good 57% 35% 32% 50% 70%

Measuring teacher effectiveness

Newark has also defined metrics for tracking the implementation of its new contract. These metrics include:[37]

We have not seen specific targets for these metrics.

Key remaining questions

This project aims to have impact via (a) changes in laws at the state level (discussed above) and (b) changes in the contract between the teachers union and the city of Newark (discussed above). These changes aim to increase teacher quality by tying teacher performance to pay, rewarding teachers for effective teaching, and allowing for teachers to lose tenure for prolonged ineffective teaching. The project has also provided some additional funding to support Newark's schools more broadly (more above).

All philanthropy-backed efforts — from attempting to reform U.S. education to distributing nets for the prevention of malaria — involve substantial risks, meaning there is always a possibility they will not go as well as hoped. Here, we list several key remaining questions and potential risks we see to the project's success, which we plan to follow carefully over the course of this project:

Sources

Document Source
A Technical Overview of the Student Growth Percentile Methodology Source (archive)
Foundation for Newark's Future, "Newark Charter School Fund Announces $10 Million to Support High-Quality Charter Schools in 2013-2014 School Year” Source (archive)
Foundation for Newark’s Future website: “Grants” Source (archive)
Frank Graham Porter Child Development Institute ECERS Scale Source (archive)
Frank Graham Porter Child Development Institute FAQ Source (archive)
NBC News, “Two years after Zuckerberg’s $100 million gift, Newark schools have ‘a long way to go’” Source (archive)
New Jersey Department of Education School Performance Report Database Source (archive)
New Jersey Department of Education, Student Growth Percentiles Source (archive)
New York Times editorial, “School Reform in Newark” Source (archive)
New York Times, "Newark Teachers Approve a Contract With Merit Pay" Source (archive)
Newark Public Schools, "Metrics" Source
Newark Public Schools, "NPS-NTU 2012 Memorandum of Agreement" Source (archive)
Newark Public Schools, "School Snapshots for Families" Source (archive)
Newark Public Schools, “School data” Source
NJ Spotlight, "Facebook Fund Helps Seal the Deal for Newark Teachers' Contract" Source (archive)
NJ Spotlight, "Most Eligible Newark Teachers Take a Pass on New Bonus Program" Source (archive)
NJ Spotlight, “Newark Teachers Vote ‘Yes’ on Precedent-Setting Contract” Source (archive)
NJ Star-Ledger, “Gov. Christie hails signing of tenure reform bill as ‘a great day for good teachers.’” Source (archive)
NPS, "Tentative Agreement Highlights" Source (archive)
Startup:Education, "Blog post from Mark Zuckerberg, September 24, 2010" Source
State of New Jersey Department of Education, “A Guide to the TEACHNJ Act" Source (archive)
Teacher Effectiveness and Accountability for the Children of New Jersey (TEACHNJ) Act Source (archive)
Teachers Union Exposed, “Protecting Bad Teachers” Source (archive)
The Center for Family Policy and Research Recommended Instructional Strategies Source (archive)
Footnotes
  1. [1]

    “Over the past several months, I've learned a lot about these challenges from Cory Booker and Chris Christie. Each of these leaders is prepared to make bold commitments to challenge the status quo and make Newark a symbol of education reform. Their personal commitments—and their willingness to cut through the politics and red tape to collaborate—persuaded me to support them and make a commitment of my own.” Startup:Education, "Blog post from Mark Zuckerberg, September 24, 2010".

  2. [2]

    "I believe in the Mayor and his vision, and that's why I want to help them succeed. Using my own Facebook stock, I'm creating the Startup:Education foundation with over $100 million to invest in educating and improving the lives of young people. I'm also challenging others who want to improve education in America to match my contributions." Startup:Education, "Blog post from Mark Zuckerberg, September 24, 2010".

  3. [3]

    Funding from the following donors is administered through Foundation of Newark's Future: Pershing Square Foundation (Bill Ackman), Goldman Sachs, Ford Foundation, and miscellaneous funders. NBC News, “Two years after Zuckerberg’s $100 million gift, Newark schools have ‘a long way to go’”.

  4. [4]

    Note that Good Ventures and GiveWell did not independently assess this. Instead, they relied on Startup:Education's judgment that the contract met this criterion.

  5. [5]

    See Newark Public Schools, "NPS-NTU 2012 Memorandum of Agreement". The contract is dated October 18, 2012, however the vote to approve the contract occurred on November 14, 2012 (New York Times, "Newark Teachers Approve a Contract With Merit Pay").

  6. [6]

    Foundation for Newark’s Future website: “Grants”.

  7. [7]

    Foundation for Newark’s Future website: “Grants”.

  8. [8]
    • "The chief executive of the Foundation for Newark’s Future, Greg Taylor, said yesterday that the fund would pay roughly $18 million for the teacher performance bonuses that have been the centerpiece—and the most controversial piece—of the new contract. But in some of his first public comments since the deal was ratified by union members on Wednesday, Taylor said $31 million of the total—close to two-thirds—would go to the far less glamorous retroactive pay for teachers to cover two years in which the 4,000 members of the Newark Teachers Union went without a new contract." NJ Spotlight, "Facebook Fund Helps Seal the Deal for Newark Teachers' Contract"
    • From NPS, "Tentative Agreement Highlights":
      • "The agreement includes a one-time "Transition Bonus" for all employees who move to the new universal salary scale, were on the payroll as of June 30, 2012, and have at least one year of service in NPS. This transition bonus is over and above both the retroactive pay and the pay increases contained in the new salary scale."
      • "More money earlier in your career, and a more equitable salary scale. The new scale increases salaries earlier in your career, allows you to earn a higher salary for more years, and features higher salaries than the old scale."
  9. [9]

    Foundation for Newark’s Future website: “Grants”.

  10. [10]

    "The TEACHNJ Act (“TEACHNJ”) is the bipartisan tenure reform approved unanimously by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Christie on August 6, 2012." State of New Jersey Department of Education, “A Guide to the TEACHNJ Act", pg 1.

  11. [11]
  12. [12]

    See the "Tenure Revocation" table on page 6 of State of New Jersey Department of Education, “A Guide to the TEACHNJ Act".

  13. [13]

    "Prior to enactment of TEACHNJ, teachers were rarely charged with inefficiency, and the cumbersome tenure revocation process could take years to complete (including the 90 day period granted to teachers to rectify any behavior deemed inefficient)." State of New Jersey Department of Education, “A Guide to the TEACHNJ Act".

  14. [14]
    • "Tenure decisions are now based on multiple measures of student achievement and teacher practice as measured by new evaluation procedures." State of New Jersey Department of Education, “A Guide to the TEACHNJ Act" pg 1.
    • "The School Improvement Panel (ScIP) will oversee new evaluation structures and help link them to other systems of growth and development. [Footnote: The ScIP must include at least the school principal or designee, an assistant/vice principal, and a teacher. The principal will have final responsibility for ScIP membership, but must consult with the majority representative in determining a suitable teacher to participate. This teacher will not participate in evaluation activities except with approval of the majority representative.] The ScIP is charged with ensuring the effectiveness of the school's teachers by overseeing mentoring activities, conducting evaluations, identifying professional development opportunities, and conducting a mid-year evaluation of any teacher rated Ineffective or Partially Effective in the most recent annual summative evaluation." State of New Jersey Department of Education, “A Guide to the TEACHNJ Act" pg 3.
  15. [15]
    • "Prior to enactment of TEACHNJ, teachers were rarely charged with inefficiency, and the cumbersome tenure revocation process could take years to complete (including the 90 day period granted to teachers to rectify any behavior deemed inefficient). The streamlined process is as follows:
      • If any tenured teaching staff member is rated Ineffective or Partially Effective in two consecutive summative annual evaluations (see chart above), he or she will be charged with inefficiency.
      • Within 30 days of the filing, the board of education shall forward the written charges to the Commissioner, unless the board determines that the evaluation process has not been followed.
      • The employee has 15 days to submit to the Commissioner a written response to the charges and then the Commissioner has up to 10 days to refer the case to an arbitrator to determine potential loss of tenure.
      • For all charges, the hearing shall be held within 45 days of the assignment to the arbitrator. The written decision shall be held within 45 days from the start of the hearing.
      • The costs of the arbitrator will be borne by the State of New Jersey." State of New Jersey Department of Education, “A Guide to the TEACHNJ Act" pg 6.
    • "(1) The hearing shall be held before the arbitrator within 45 days of the assignment of the arbitrator to the case; (2) The arbitrator shall receive no more than $1250 per day and no more than $7500 per case. The costs and expenses of the arbitrator shall be borne by the State of New Jersey;" Teacher Effectiveness and Accountability for the Children of New Jersey (TEACHNJ) Act, pg 10.
  16. [16]

    "Seniority will still have its privileges under the law. New Jersey continues to be one of only 11 states with a last-in, first-out policy for teachers in the event of layoffs." NJ Star-Ledger, “Gov. Christie hails signing of tenure reform bill as ‘a great day for good teachers.’”

  17. [17]

    New York Times, "Newark Teachers Approve a Contract With Merit Pay".

  18. [18]

    "A new “pay for performance” system that lets you earn substantial bonuses.

    • The “pay for performance” system is aligned with the new state law and is very simple. The “pay for performance” paradigm essentially grants a step based on an “effective” or “highly effective” annual evaluation and freezes the step for a less than satisfactory evaluation. Teachers rated “partially effective” or “ineffective” will be able to move to the next step when their rating improves.
    • The Agreement includes rewards as well. In addition to step movements for teachers rated “effective” and “highly effective”, the new universal salary scale offers ways to earn annual bonuses funded through philanthropic monies. For example,
      • A teacher can earn a bonus of up to $5,000 annually for receiving a Highly Effective rating on their annual evaluation.
      • A teacher can earn a bonus of up to $5,000 annually for working in a school performing in the lowest 25% in the district AND receiving a Highly Effective on their annual evaluation.
      • A teacher can earn a bonus of up to $2,500 annually for working in a hard-­‐ to-­‐staff subject AND receiving a Highly Effective rating on their annual evaluation.
      • The above rewards are cumulative, meaning that a teacher who earns a Highly Effective rating on their annual summative evaluation, works in one of the 25% of lowest performing schools, and serves in a hard-­‐ to-­‐staff subject area could receive an annual bonus of up to $12,500 on top of his/her annual salary.
      • An educator can earn $20,000 for completing a NPS-­‐approved program that is aligned with the Common Core State Standards."

    NPS, "Tentative Agreement Highlights" Pgs 1-2. "The five-year contract has a number of highlights beyond just the performance bonuses, which would bestow an extra $5,000 to those gaining the highest evaluation ratings. They would gain an additional $5,000 on top of that if they work in a low-performing school, and another $2,500 for working in a high-need field like science and math. In addition, it includes an average pay raise of close to 13 percent over the next three years, one of the higher increases in the state." NJ Spotlight, “Newark Teachers Vote ‘Yes’ on Precedent-Setting Contract”

  19. [19]

    "As Newark’s landmark teachers contract begins to be implemented, only about 20 percent of district teachers who can opt to earn bonuses for exemplary evaluations and service in hard-to-fill slots have actually decided to do so. "Opt" is the key word here. New teachers and those with only bachelor's degrees are automatically enrolled in the program—defined in a new salary guide—which pays up to $12,500 in yearly bonuses. Under the groundbreaking Newark contract, however, teachers with advanced degrees—about half of the city’s teaching force—can choose to stay with the traditional salary guide, which rewards teachers according to experience and academic degree." NJ Spotlight, "Most Eligible Newark Teachers Take a Pass on New Bonus Program".

  20. [20]

    "An educator can earn $20,000 for completing a NPS‐approved program that is aligned with the Common Core State Standards." NPS, "Tentative Agreement Highlights" Pg 2.

  21. [21]

    "As Newark’s landmark teachers contract begins to be implemented, only about 20 percent of district teachers who can opt to earn bonuses for exemplary evaluations and service in hard-to-fill slots have actually decided to do so. "Opt" is the key word here. New teachers and those with only bachelor's degrees are automatically enrolled in the program—defined in a new salary guide—which pays up to $12,500 in yearly bonuses. Under the groundbreaking Newark contract, however, teachers with advanced degrees—about half of the city’s teaching force—can choose to stay with the traditional salary guide, which rewards teachers according to experience and academic degree." NJ Spotlight, "Most Eligible Newark Teachers Take a Pass on New Bonus Program".

  22. [22]

    "TEACHER EVALUATION, FEEDBACK AND SUPPORT

    • A Framework of Excellence – Developed in conjunction with teachers and administrators, the District has created and defined a new framework of what effective instruction looks like so we can identify for individuals areas where they are having great success or need additional support. The framework consists of competencies that are aligned to the Common Core standards and are FEWER, CLEARER and HIGHER.
      • Fewer – The Framework focuses on fewer competencies, all of which are observable in the classroom.
      • Clearer – The Framework uses clearer and more concise language to describe what each competency looks like in practice.
      • Higher – The Framework sets a higher bar for the competencies we need to meet in order to ensure rigorous instruction takes place in every classroom.
    • Evaluation Results and Feedback – The Agreement adheres to the TEACHNJ Act wherein teachers will receive an annual rating in one of four categories: highly effective, effective, partially effective and ineffective. The Framework for Effective Teaching includes a new rubric and ongoing opportunities for feedback and development that will support your growth. This framework will go into effect during this 2012-­‐2013 school year.
    • Joint Union-­Management Committee – The NTU and Newark Public Schools (NPS) will form a joint advisory committee to review the implementation of the evaluation system and provide ongoing feedback. The Agreement outlines that the committee will be comprised of an equal number of NTU and NPS representatives – up to 5 each – and that during the first year of implementation the group will meet on a monthly basis with quarterly meetings thereafter.
    • Peer Validators – Recognizing that some of the best feedback we receive often comes from our colleagues, the Agreement includes provisions for Peer Validators to be used by the district to conduct independent evaluation reviews. Any teacher who receives a rating of ineffective will be afforded the opportunity to request a review. Additionally, the joint advisory committee will provide recommendations on the qualifications, selection process, and process to analyze the quality of the Peer Validators.
    • School Improvement Panel – In adherence to the TEACHNJ Act, schools will develop a School Improvement Panel consisting of a principal, vice principal (or similar), and teacher to support teacher mentoring and evaluations."

    NPS, "Tentative Agreement Highlights" Pgs 2-3.

  23. [23]

    "TURNAROUND SCHOOLS Educators at schools needing additional supports and interventions in order to make dramatic improvements need even more increased flexibility to make school-­‐based decisions on certain provisions of the CBA. The Agreement outlines the following provisions regarding Turnaround Schools:

    • NPS can designate up to 10 schools as Turnaround Schools each school year. In determining which schools to designate as Turnaround, NPS will consider data such as proficiency over time, growth over time, and enrollment over time.
    • All Turnaround Schools will have Election to Work Agreements that will specify the expectations and requirements of staff members at each school. A staff member can choose to sign the Election to Work Agreement OR apply to other vacancies within the district.
    • NPS and the NTU have agreed upon four waiver templates differentiated by whether the school is a high school or elementary school and whether or not there are additional instructional minutes.
    • In schools that extend instructional time, educators will be eligible for an additional $3,000 annually."

    NPS, "Tentative Agreement Highlights" Pg 3.

  24. [24]

    Startup:Education informed us of this expectation, per NPS.

  25. [25]

    Performance Group Definitions based on the school averages of various assessments: ACT Graduates: % of students achieving college ready benchmark in Reading High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA) Graduates: % of students who successfully pass both the Math & Language Arts NJDOE exam Other Graduates: % of students who graduate using an alternative path such as the Alternative High School Assessment (AHSA) Newark Public Schools, "Metrics", pg 4

  26. [26]

    Newark Public Schools, "Metrics", pg 4. Note that Newark presents separate data for high schools that screen students and those that do not. Here we present the overall figures, calculated using the number of students at each type of school. Newark does not present the number of high schools of each type, but calculating overall rates with number of students is most appropriate anyway, as these percentages are all percentages of students, not of schools.

  27. [27]

    “ACT data collection began in 11-12 but reporting will lag by 1 year because it is administered in 11th grade” Newark Public Schools, "Metrics", pg 4.

  28. [28]

    Newark Public Schools, "Metrics", pg 3

  29. [29]
    • “Student Growth Percentiles - applicable to 4th-8th grade language arts literacy (LAL) and math teachers only – are state-calculated scores that can be used to measure an individual student's (or group of students') growth from one year to the next on the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge (NJ ASK).” New Jersey Department of Education, Student Growth Percentiles
    • From A Technical Overview of the Student Growth Percentile Methodology:
      • "A student's growth percentile describes how (a)typical a student's growth is by examining his/her current achievement relative to his/her academic peers - those students beginning at the same place. That is, a student growth percentile examines the current achievement of a student relative to other students who have, in the past, "walked the same achievement path". Heuristically, if the state assessment data set were extremely large (in fact, infinite) in size, one could open the infinite dataset and select out those students with the exact same prior scores and compare how the selected student's current year score compares to the current year scores of those students with the same prior year's scores - his/her academic peers. If the student's current year score exceeded the scores of most of his/her academic peers, in a normative sense they have done as well. If the student's current year score was less than the scores of his/her academic peers, in a normative sense they have not done as well."
      • "The percentile cut scores for 7th grade reading in Table 2 are used with the student's actual grade 7 reading scale score to establish his/her growth percentile. In this case, the student's grade 7 scale score of 601 lies above the 50th percentile cut and below the 51st percentile cut, yielding a growth percentile of 50. Thus, the progress demonstrated by this student between grade 6 and grade 7 exceeded that of 50 percent of his/her academic peers- those students with the same achievement history."
  30. [30]

    "Performance Group Definitions based student performance on the NJ ASK: Low: Average LAL Proficiency is below 200, and median Student Growth Percentile (SGP) is below 50. On the Move: Average LAL Proficiency is below 200, but median SGP is above 50 or SGP has improved by 8 points. Good: Average LAL Proficiency is above 200." Newark Public Schools, "Metrics", pg 3. Note that because SGP is a percentile, SGP of 50 means that the student is at the median level of growth relative to peers at a similar level (see previous footnote).

  31. [31]
    • Newark Public Schools, "Metrics", pg 3. Note that Newark separates district and charter schools when presenting baseline data but provides a single target, combining district and charter schools. We present combined figures, weighted by the number of each type of school. To check these numbers, we also calculated combined figures weighted by the number of students in each type of school. Those numbers differed by only roughly a percentage point at most, and so are not presented here.
    • Also note that New Jersey will be transitioning to a new standardized test in the future, the PARCC assessment, which will make year over year comparisons difficult.Newark Public Schools, "Metrics", pg 3
  32. [32]

    As a spot check, we compared the data Newark sent us to public SGP data available from the New Jersey Department of Education School Performance Report Database for the 2011-2012 school year (see the sheet "Comp. to public 11-12 SGP data" in Newark Public Schools, “School data”). For more than half of schools, the public data was different than Newark's data, but in all but 3 cases that difference was less than 4 percentage points. Only in 2 cases did the public SGP data suggest that a school should be in a different category in the table we present above (Fourteenth Avenue and South Seventeenth St), but those differences offset each other, so the numbers in the table presented above do not change.

    We checked these two sources of SGP data against a third data source, the publicly available "School Snapshots" (Newark Public Schools, "School Snapshots for Families"). The Snapshots present SGP on a chart, so we checked the 3 schools where the other two datasets were far enough apart in order to tell which number the Snapshot data was closest too. In those cases, the Snapshots present a third SGP number, in between the public DOE data and the data that Newark sent us. We did not check the data Newark sent us against public LAL NJ ASK scores, because Newark used school-wide scores and the New Jersey Department of Education reports those scores at the grade level, so aggregating those scores may have been error-prone and the appropriate aggregation method was unclear.

  33. [33]

    The revised ECERS contains inclusive and culturally sensitive indicators for many items. Also, new items have been added on Interaction (staff-child, child-child and discipline), Curriculum (nature/science and math/number) Health & Safety and Parents & Staff. Scale consists of 43 items organized into 7 subscales:

    • Space and Furnishings
    • Personal Care Routines
    • Language-Reasoning
    • Activities
    • Interactions
    • Program Structure
    • Parents and Staff

    Frank Graham Porter Child Development Institute ECERS Scale

  34. [34]

    “The scales were designed to be used during an observation period of at least 2½ hours, but generally the assessor stays for at least 3 hours in the classroom give or take a few minutes. Depending on when the children arrive and when they go down for a nap, this can vary somewhat. The assessor will complete his/her observation first, then he/she interviews the caregiver for about 30 minutes to answer some questions.” Frank Graham Porter Child Development Institute FAQ

  35. [35]
    • “Performance Groups are defined by the ratings on the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECERS):
    • Our understanding is that Newark has created these groupings. On its website, the Frank Graham Porter Child Development Institute does not provide guidance on how to interpret thescale, although other sources seem to indicate that the commonly used method is that 1 = Inadequate, 3 = Minimal, 5 = Good, and 7 = Excellent. From The Center for Family Policy and Research Recommended Instructional Strategies, Footnote 1: “The seven-point scale used with the ECERS-E and ECERS-R is: 1 = Inadequate, 3 = Minimal, 5 = Good, and 7 = Excellent. Based on this scale, 4.0 is the mid-point.”
  36. [36]
    • Newark Public Schools, "Metrics", pg 2. Note that Newark separates district and private provider preschools when presenting this data. Here we present the overall figures, calculated using the number of each type of school. To check these numbers, we also calculated overall figures weighted by the number of students in each type of school. Those numbers differed by only roughly a percentage point at most, and so are not presented here.
    • Also note that there is a possibility that Newark will add new quality measures in the future alongside the ECERS scores: “NPS is piloting tools to measure academic outcomes and will consider adding additional quality designations beginning with SY 2013-1024, this could influence the manner in which designations are determined in the future.” Newark Public Schools, "Metrics", pg 2
  37. [37]

    Newark informed us directly of these metrics.

  38. [38]

    "Tenure Revocation. The process for removing tenure for inefficiency has also been revamped under the new law. For teachers, principals, APs, and VPs, inefficiency-related tenure revocation decisions are now based upon the outcome of evaluations, specifically triggered by multiple years of Ineffective and/or Partially Effective summative ratings… the TEACHNJ law outlines the consecutive summative rating combinations that result in a superintendent’s discretion or directive to file a charge of inefficiency against an employee." State of New Jersey Department of Education, “A Guide to the TEACHNJ Act", pg 5