Weekly Review: Week of Sept. 12

TRENTON – Gov. Chris Christie was back on the road this week to present his case on the issues.

In this case, it was the singular issue of education reform.

Christie is calling for a different way to measure teacher effectiveness and revamping a tenure system that acting education Commissioner Christopher Cerf said has become “indifferent” to measuring the effectiveness of a teacher in recent years.

In measuring a teacher’s effectiveness in students’ learning, the evaluation process would take into account both student test scores and best practices in the classroom.

Christie took his message to public schools in Bergenfield, Cherry Hill, and Hopewell to promote the various aspects of his education reform agenda.

Christie and the Kochs

Still, politics as usual seemed to overshadow that issue, as Christie was dogged with questions about his connection to an ultra-conservative group of siblings, the Koch Brothers. He said the billionaire brothers had no influence on him pulling the state out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which would require states in the Northeast to basically pay a carbon tax to encourage greener measures.

After a report stated that Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver asked for Christie’s help in preserving her leadership post, she challenged him to release the phone records to settle the matter and to determine if his side of the story is accurate. The governor has yet to fulfill the Democratic leader’s request.

Renewables sluggish

Even if the billionaire brothers played no role in Christie’s decision to pull out of RGGI, he was still right to do so, according to the Department of Environmental Protection. The department found that sales of carbon offset credits at auctions has been very sluggish. The DEP said that only about 18 percent of the allowances were sold last week.

On previous occasions, no more than 30 percent were sold.

In addition, the Board of Public Utilities held a meeting this week to gather input on the problem of the falling prices of solar renewable energy credits. The amount of credits out there on the market has dramatically hurt the effort to spur solar energy development in the state.

Running, again

The erstwhile track star will remain in the race. The political race, that is.

Carl Lewis has won the latest battle, in federal Appeals Court, that enables him to remain on the ballot and compete against Sen. Dawn Addiego in the 8th District, which tends to be heavily Republican.

Following his latest court victory, Lewis said the experience has “enhanced” his campaign.

However, the fight goes on.  The GOP is appealing the latest decision.

Jobless rate dips

Joblessness in the month of August remained sluggish, according to the state unemployment report released Thursday. Despite adding just an anemic 100 jobs, it was enough to affect the overall state unemployment rate, which dipped 0.1 points to 9.4 percent.

On second thought

The income eligibility requirements to enroll in the Medicaid FamilyShare program will remain at their current levels.

The Christie Administration had proposed earlier this year to significantly lower the requirements, which would determine what adults would be able to receive subsidized health care.

Initially, the administration was seeking to put a freeze on accepting new adults into the FamilyShare program by reducing the income eligibly requirements from $24,645 to $5,317 for a family of three. The administration projected that for 2012, some 23,000 adults would have been impacted by changing the income eligibility limits.

Weekly Review: Week of Sept. 12