State Journal: Kean's farewell; Strik preparations; 5th gradeclout
Gov. Thomas H. Kean's last State of the State Address has left the plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging New Jersey's school-finance system sputtering in frustration.
In the course of reviewing the accomplishments of his eight years in office, Mr. Kean included a brief reference to the need to revise the state's funding formula for education.
"Our taxpayers now spend more money per child in school than any other taxpayers in the United States," he said. "And yet our state monies are distributed by a formula that is outdated and unjust."
Finance reformers were angered by what they saw as a last-minute switch from the Kean Administration's opposition to their lawsuit, Abbott v. Burke, against funding disparities among school districts.
"I think it's a little hypocritical, his attorney general having fought this case tooth and nail for nine years," said Marilyn J. Morheuser, who has led the fight against the current system. "For him to urge legislative action on the eve of his departure certainly doesn't help anyone."
A spokesman for Mr. Kean said he has long favored changes in the finance formula, but thinks they should be made by the legislature, not the courts.
If Utah teachers stage a threatened statewide walkout next month over pay raises, Mills Crenshaw will be ready.
Mr. Crenshaw, a radio talk-show host, recently announced plans to put together a registry of unemployed teachers who would be available as replacements in the event of a strike.
Prospective substitutes were asked to pay $10 to get their names on the list, which Mr. Crenshaw said would be sent to interested schools.
While telling a local reporter that he did not want to "get embroiled in a political dispute with the teachers," Mr. Crenshaw seemed to leave little doubt as to where his sympathies lay.
Unionized teachers "want to cripple the schools, in my opinion," he said, "and the best evidence is that they want to hold the students hostage."
Even though they cannot vote, some Indiana 5th graders have shown themselves to be effective lobbyists.
A Muncie class wants the legislature to set aside a week each year to encourage young students' awareness of career opportunities.
The House education committee recently approved a bill doing so after hearing testimony from several members of the class.--hd