The Minority Report Blog » Abbott district http://www.theminorityreportblog.com Conservative News & Opinion Sat, 21 Feb 2015 21:30:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 New Jersey Supreme Court Interprets State Media Shield Statute http://www.theminorityreportblog.com/2011/06/07/new-jersey-supreme-court-interprets-state-media-shield-statute/ http://www.theminorityreportblog.com/2011/06/07/new-jersey-supreme-court-interprets-state-media-shield-statute/#comments Tue, 07 Jun 2011 20:29:58 +0000 http://theminorityreport.co/tmr/?p=19140 From Eugene Volokh

In today’s Too Much Media, LLC v. Hale, the New Jersey Supreme Court considered what sorts of online speakers are covered by New Jersey’s Shield Law, which gives people connected with the “news media” an essentially absolute privilege not to disclose sources and other information that they’ve gathered. (This privilege is considerably stronger than the one provided by many state laws, and that the one that some federal courts have read the First Amendment as securing.) The court acknowledged that defendant had First Amendment rights to speak — the same First Amendment rights that members of the mainstream media possesses. The question is what additional statutory rights the defendant had, and that was a question of statutory interpretation, not constitutional law.

Shellee Hale, who said she was investigating alleged crime in the pornography industry, posted various allegations on an online message board, which was a discussion forum open to all commenters. Too Much Media sued Hale, claiming her statements libeled her, and it demanded information about the sources on which she based her statements.

Under New Jersey’s Shield Law, any “person engaged on, engaged in, connected with, or employed by news media for the purpose of gathering, procuring, transmitting, compiling, editing or disseminating news for the general public or on whose behalf news is so gathered, procured, transmitted, compiled, edited or disseminated has a privilege to refuse to disclose, in any legal or quasi-legal proceeding” may refuse to disclose his sources and the other information that he’s gathered. The statute defines “news media” as “newspapers, magazines, press associations, news agencies, wire services, radio, television or other similar printed, photographic, mechanical or electronic means of disseminating news to the general public.” “News” is defined as “any written, oral or pictorial information gathered, procured, transmitted, compiled, edited or disseminated by, or on behalf of any person engaged in, engaged on, connected with or employed by a news media and so procured or obtained while such required relationship is in effect.” And “in the course of pursuing his professional activities” is defined as “any situation, including a social gathering, in which a reporter obtains information for the purpose of disseminating it to the public, but does not include any situation in which a reporter intentionally conceals from the source the fact that he is a reporter ….”

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Judicial Activism in NJ: Supreme Court Tells Gov. Christie and Legislature Pay $500M for Education http://www.theminorityreportblog.com/2011/05/24/judicial-activism-in-nj-supreme-court-tells-gov-christie-and-legislature-pay-500m-for-education/ http://www.theminorityreportblog.com/2011/05/24/judicial-activism-in-nj-supreme-court-tells-gov-christie-and-legislature-pay-500m-for-education/#comments Tue, 24 May 2011 20:12:33 +0000 http://theminorityreport.co/tmr/?p=18412 The New Jersey Supreme Court just tossed an activist ruling in the face of Gov. Christie and the New Jersey legislature.  Carrie Severino is counsel to the Judicial Crisis Network and a former law clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, her breaking story from National Review Online:

The New Jersey Supreme Court just issued its highly anticipated ruling in New Jersey’s ongoing school funding fight. According to the court, Governor Christie and state legislators must spend an extra $500 million next year.

This is just another hit in a long string of cases wherein New Jersey’s highest court has taken on the role of judiciary, appropriator, and chief executive. The New Jersey constitution states that the “legislature shall provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system” of free education from elementary school through high school. In the Abbott v. Burke line of cases, the New Jersey Supreme Court decided that it has the authority to determine what level of funding satisfies the constitution’s requirement of a thorough and efficient system and to order the state to spend more if the court is not satisfied. One would have to re-read Justice Blackmun’s opinion in Roe v. Wade to find a greater example of incoherence and willful judging masked as legal analysis.

The decisions have cost New Jersey taxpayers billions of dollars in higher taxes. According to the authors of this Federalist Society white paper, some place the estimated cost of complying with these decisions at more than $37 billion between 1998 and 2008 alone.

There will likely be significant political tremors from this decision. This year there are state legislative elections in New Jersey and this may well become a defining issue. There are few issues on which citizens have greater cognitive dissonance than on controlling spending and education. The added offense of judicial usurpation may just tilt voters toward controlling spending this year.

Here’s Gov. Christie’s reaction:

FULL TRANSCRIPT OF THE GOVERNOR’S OPENING STATEMENT:

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie:

Today’s ruling by the State Supreme Court is disappointing, but not unexpected.

There are several reasons why I believe this decision represents everything that’s wrong with how Trenton has historically operated and everything that I am here fighting to change.

First, as a fundamental principle, I do not believe that it is the role of the State Supreme Court to determine what programs the State should and should not be funding, and to what amount.

The Court should not be dictating how taxpayer dollars are spent and prioritizing certain programs over others. The Supreme Court is not the Legislature; it should not dictate policy, it should not be in the business of discussing specific taxes to be raised and it should not have any business deciding how tax dollars are spent. A number of the members of the current Supreme Court agreed with that very position in today’s decision.

Those responsible for making decisions regarding how money is raised through taxes and how it is spent by government are those elected by the people and ultimately held accountable by the people.

Secondly, I believe the Court’s decision is based on a failed legal and educational theory that incorrectly reasons the key to establishing a thorough and efficient system of education is to throw more money at failing schools.

Let me be clear, I do believe funding education is critically important to New Jersey’s future. Even before today’s Court decision, we increased education aid by $250 million to every school district in this year’s proposed budget.

But, we must also acknowledge that money does not equal quality results. And there is now nearly 30 years of evidence that just throwing money at the problem is not the answer.

We should be getting better results with the taxpayer money we already spend and we aren’t which means changing the educational system goes beyond dollars and cents.

However, as Governor of New Jersey, I realize that regardless of my personal beliefs, I must comply with the New Jersey Constitution as interpreted by the New Jersey Supreme Court. In February, I submitted my budget to the Legislature for review and consideration. That is my constitutional obligation. Now the legislature has until June 30th to fulfill its constitutional obligation to pass a final budget.

In the light of the court’s ruling, it is now up to the Legislature to determine how the State is best able to fund the additional $500 million in aid to the Abbott districts specifically ordered in footnote 23 by the Court’s majority while also meeting the State’s other funding priorities as I proposed them. I have complete confidence that the Legislature understands its unique constitutional obligation to send a balance budget to me by June 30th. I am also confident that the Legislature understands its independent constitutional obligation to comply with the Supreme Court’s order in whatever budget they send to me for my consideration by the June 30th deadline.

I fully expect the Legislature will send me in a timely manner for my review and consideration a constitutionally balanced budget that includes how the Court’s order will be met.

My principles remain the same. New Jersey has some of the highest taxes in America. New Jerseyans are already incredibly overtaxed. Therefore, as I have repeatedly stated, I do not believe raising taxes is the answer. That has not changed.

I stand ready to execute my constitutional duties and consider what the Legislature submits as its final budget to me by June 30th.

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Governor Christie on Education: Reinvigorate, Reward, Reform http://www.theminorityreportblog.com/2011/04/07/governor-christie-education-reinvigorate-reward-reform/ http://www.theminorityreportblog.com/2011/04/07/governor-christie-education-reinvigorate-reward-reform/#comments Thu, 07 Apr 2011 16:09:36 +0000 http://www.theminorityreportblog.com/?p=16177 Governor Chris Christie says that he’s going to make 2011 the Year of Education Reform.

Today he released a video entitled Education: Reinvigorate, Reward, Reform and issued his Education Reform agenda:

The Christie Reform Agenda: Making 2011 the Year of Education Reform

Addressing New Jersey’s Most Pressing Education Challenges

New Jersey’s Costly Education System Is In Need Of Reform & Accountability…

  • Including Federal Aid, New Jersey State And Local Governments Spent Approx. $25 Billion On Education For 2009-2010. (NJDOE)

Ø  Total State Aid to Education was $10.3 Billion for 2009-2010, including Social Security taxes, retiree health care, and other school district expenses borne by the State.

  • Statewide Per Pupil Spending Is The Highest In The Nation At $17,620.

Ø  According to the National Center for Education Statistics, New Jersey spent an average of $17,620 per pupil for 2008-2009, the latest available data.

 

  • New Jersey Paid The 4th Highest Teacher Salaries In The Nation For ’08-’09, 17% Higher Than The National Average.

Ø  The average full-time teacher salary in New Jersey was $63,051 for 2008-2009.

Ø  The National Estimated Average Teachers Salary was $53,910 for 2008-2009.

  • The Average Teacher Salary Increased 5.9% In Just Two Years From ’07-’08 To ’09-’10.

Ø  The average full-time teacher salary in New Jersey for 2007-2008 was $61,478.

Ø  The average full-time teacher salary in New Jersey for 2009-2010 was $65,123.

(Sources: NJDOE, NCED)

  • Education Spending Has Increased 343% From 1985 To 2012, With Spending In Abbott Districts Nearly DOUBLING As A Percentage Of The Total State Budget During That Same Period.

Ø  State aid to school districts increased from $1.73 Billion in 1985 to 7.68 Billion in 2012 (proposed).

Ø  During the same period, spending in the 31 Abbott Districts went from 8.9% to 15.5% of total state budget expenditures in all departments.

  • Today, Nearly 6 Of Every 10 State Dollars Spent On All PreK-12 Education Costs Goes To Just 31 Abbott Districts.

Ø  Spending in Abbott Districts skyrocketed from $685 Million in FY 1985 to $4.5 Billion in FY 2012 – representing a 61% increase in the proportion of all PreK-12 spending devoted to Abbott Districts.

Ø  Meanwhile, the percentage of New Jersey’s population residing in the Abbott Districts actually dropped 3% over the same period.

But Despite Consistently High Education Spending Focused In The 31 Abbott Districts, New Jersey’s Achievement Gap Persists…

  • Education Spending In New Jersey Has Skyrocketed As A Proportion Of Total State Budget Expenditures, Increasing 564% In The Abbott Districts Since 1985. Yet, Those Billions Of Dollars In Resources Haven’t Translated To Higher Student Achievement For Our Neediest Children.

  • The Gap In New Jersey 4th Grade Math Between At-Risk Students And Those Not At Risk Did Not Change Significantly In 13 Years.

Ø  In 2009, students eligible for free/reduced-price lunch (indicator of poverty) had an average score 26 points lower than students not eligible for free/reduced-price lunch. The performance gap was not significantly different from that in 1996 (32 points). (National Assessment of Educational Progress, 2009)

  • The Gap In New Jersey 8th Grade Math Between Black Or Hispanic And White Students Did Not Change Significantly In 19 Years (More Than A Generation Of Students Or Nearly The Lifetime Of Abbott).

Ø  In 2009, the average score of black students was 34 points lower than that of white students. The gap was not significantly different from 1990 (38 points).

Ø  In 2009, the average score of Hispanic students was 30 points lower than that of white students. The gap was not significantly different from 1990 (37 points).

Ø  The gap in New Jersey eighth grade math between at-risk students and those not at risk did not change significantly in six years.

Ø  In 2009, students eligible for free/reduced-price lunch (indicator of poverty) had an average score 30 points lower than students not eligible for free/reduced-price lunch. The performance gap was not significantly different from that in 2003 (34 points).

 

  • The Gap In New Jersey 4th Grade Reading Between At-Risk Students And Those Not At Risk Did Not Change Significantly In Six Years.

Ø  In 2009, students eligible for free/reduced-price lunch (indicator of poverty) had an average score 26 points lower than students not eligible for free/reduced-price lunch. The performance gap was not significantly different from that in 2003 (30 points).

 

  • The Gap In New Jersey 8th Grade Reading Between Black Or Hispanic And White Students Did Not Change Significantly In Six Years. The Gap Between At-Risk Students And Those Not At Risk Also Did Not Change Significantly Over The Same Time Period.

Ø  In 2009, the average score of black students was 31 points lower than that of white students. The gap was not significantly different from 2003 (29 points).

Ø  In 2009, the average score of Hispanic students was 25 points lower than that of white students. The gap was not significantly different from 2003 (28 points).

Ø  In 2009, students eligible for free/reduced-price lunch (indicator of poverty) had an average score 27 points lower than students not eligible for free/reduced-price lunch. The performance gap was not significantly different from that in 2003 (30 points).

(Source: National Assessment of Educational Progress)

 

 

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