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Please Note - NEW GSCS EMAIL ADDRESS--Effective Immediately
Click on More below for GSCS' full contact information (new email address is gscschools@gmail.com), as well as for Lynne Strickland's email and contact information.
9-23-16 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Op-Ed: What the Public Doesn’t Know Can Hurt Our Students, Our Schools As a community of parents and educators, we must come together to rebuff the politicization of public education On August 31, 2016, at 3:32 p.m. the New Jersey Department of Education released a memorandum changing the evaluation criteria for all grades 4 to 8 language arts and mathematics teachers (including special education). The change moves the percentage that student growth percentages (SGPs) count in a teacher’s overall performance rating from 10 percent to 30 percent. The SGP score attained for teachers is derived from each individual teacher’s students’ performance on the PARCC examination.

Education Week--English-Language-Learner Classification Can Impede Student Growth, Study Finds English-language-learner services are designed, in theory, to prevent educational inequity, but for some students the specialized services may be reinforcing it. A new study out of the University of Oregon found that designating early elementary students who are close to being proficient in English as ELLs may actually do more harm than good. Ilana Umansky, an assistant professor in the university's college of education, argues that kindergarten students who score at or just above threshold for English-learner services are often indistinguishable from those who score just below. However, the students on the cusp who are identified as English-learners end up scoring significantly lower on math and English/language arts tests in 2nd through 10th grade, Umansky's research determines.

9-22-16 Education in the News
GovNetNJ--JASEY NAMED DEPUTY SPEAKER OF GENERAL ASSEMBLY Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto has appointed Assemblywoman Mila Jasey to the post of deputy speaker of the New Jersey General Assembly.

Jasey, of South Orange, was first sworn into the General Assembly in 2007.

"Mila has a genuine understanding of the fact that caring about people and working tirelessly to shape the future of one's community are at the foundation of public service," said Prieto (D-Bergen / Hudson). "Having observed her commitment to education, housing and several other issues over the years, I have full confidence that she will serve the Assembly well as a deputy speaker."...'

NJ Spotlight--Fine Print: State Auditor Calls Out ‘Convoluted’ Allotting of School Aid Auditor confirms Christie administration’s underfunding — and overfunding — of school districts What it is: State Auditor Stephen Eells, whose office is an arm of the state Legislature, yesterday released a report on the distribution of state aid over the last two years under Gov. Chris Christie. The report detailed the levels of state funding to the New Jersey’s 500-plus districts and how they have matched — or not matched — the state’s School Funding Reform Act. The report concluded that although the Christie administration and Legislature had properly followed state budgeting rules, as required, the mandates of the school funding law had not been met...'

Advocates Argue All New Jersey Schools Should Offer Arts Classes The New Jersey Arts Education Partnership points to studies that show training in music, dance, and other arts is linked to academic success All but 3 percent of New Jersey public K-12 students have access to arts education. But the state’s arts advocates say even one student without access is too many...'

Trenton Times--Less really is more when it comes to homework    Editorial

If your fourth-grader comes home from the Robert Mascenik School #26 in Woodbridge Township and tells you she has no homework that day – believe her. The elementary school, one of 16 in the township, has joined the ranks of schools nationwide that have dared do the unthinkable. Its administration has placed family time over homework time, sending the message that building strong interpersonal relationships is a better use of time than memorizing the multiplication tables or identifying the major exports of Peru – although these are certainly worth knowing...'

Philadelphia Inquirer--Camden's school test scores still lag, but some positives, too There was some good news and more bad news in results released Wednesday for Camden students in the second year of a new standardized state test. Camden's school test scores still lag, but some positives, too Nearly all schools in the struggling South Jersey district made slight progress in math and language arts on the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exam. Students in grades three through 11 across the state took the exam last spring. Despite the increase, the majority of Camden students in all grades failed to meet the state standard for their grade level. At the high school level, the results were grim, especially in math. "Test scores are one of many ways we measure progress," Superintendent Paymon Rouhanifard said. "We have a long way still to go."...'

Education Week--Flashpoints Emerge as States Step Up ESSA Planning Tight timelines loom as work continues States are still moving through the gears of preparing their accountability systems and federally mandated plans under the new policy environment created by the Every Student Succeeds Act. Although a few flashpoints have already emerged, they're not the only issues that highlight the challenges states face...'

9-21-16 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Don't judge N.J. teachers based on standardized test scores, lawmakers say TRENTON — How students fare on standardized tests would no longer influence how teachers and administrators are evaluated under a bill that cleared an Assembly committee Monday. The growing emphasis of PARCC, New Jersey's standardized assessment, sparked the bill. Testing affects only 15 percent of teachers, principals and other educators in the state, and up until this year, test results accounted for 10 percent of a teacher's evaluation. In August, Deputy Education Commissioner Peter Shulman announced the test results would make up 30 percent of an educator's score. "Using test scores to evaluate teachers puts pressure on teachers to teach to the test, which takes away from invaluable classroom instruction and learning," said Assemblyman Tim Eustace (D-Bergen), one of the bill's sponsors. "If the end goal is to ensure teachers are indeed reaching their students, then let's use measures that will give us a more accurate glimpse of who is doing a good job, and who is lacking."...'

Jersey Journal--Developers to build new Jersey City public school JERSEY CITY — Developers have pledged to build a new public school for Jersey City as part of a $370 million housing development planned for the city's Paulus Hook neighborhood. The 200-student school, for pre-k, kindergarten and first grade students, will be the second privately funded public school to open in the city in recent years. Today's announcement comes less than two weeks after the public-school district opened its first new public school in a decade, the state-funded School 20 on Ocean Avenue...'

The Record--N.J. gets grant to help low-income students afford Advanced Placement tests New Jersey will get $586,167 in federal funds to expand a program to help students from low-income families to take Advanced Placement tests, it was announced Tuesday. The grant is one of 42 awarded by the U.S Department of Education totaling $28.4 million. The AP tests allow students to gain college credit for courses taken in high school – a move that helps students finish a degree quicker, thus reducing college costs...'

NY Times--Connecticut to Appeal Decision in Schools Funding Case The State of Connecticut said on Thursday that it would appeal a sweeping ruling in a schools funding case that ordered it to re-examine virtually the entire education system. “There are strong arguments that the trial court exceeded its authority and the standards articulated by the Connecticut Supreme Court, and so today we are asking that court to review this ruling,” Attorney General George C. Jepsen said in a statement. In the long-running case, Judge Thomas G. Moukawsher of State Superior Court in Hartford found last week that Connecticut was “defaulting on its constitutional duty” to give all children an adequate education because the state was allowing students in poor districts to languish while those in wealthy districts excelled...'

9-20-16 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Push to Protect Public School Students from Concussions Children could not return to class or athletic activities without the permission of a healthcare professional Growing concern about the effects of concussions – particularly on young people – has fueled efforts by New Jersey lawmakers to require greater protections for students who have suffered potentially dangerous blows to the head. “Concussions, especially in young people, should not be taken lightly,” said Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt (D-Camden), a lead sponsor of a measure that would require students diagnosed with a concussion to obtain permission from a healthcare professional before they could return to class or participate in any school-related athletic activities...'
9-19-16 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Christie Asks Top Court to Let Him Rewrite School-Funding Formula The governor, who has decried the Supreme Court as ‘activist,’ asks it to sweep aside 30 years of support for Abbott rulings The irony is hard to miss. Gov. Chris Christie has gone to the same state Supreme Court he has long decried as too activist to help him attain his last policy goals for public education in New Jersey. And while the odds seem long, he may actually have a shot...'

The Press of Atlantic City--Maine school purchases computer program to serve as teacher MADISON, Maine (AP) — A Maine high school has turned to a computer program to educate its students after being unable to fill a vacant position for a foreign language teacher. With money already earmarked for the job, The Morning Sentinel reports (http://bit.ly/2cJzmJL ) Madison Area Memorial High School opted to purchase the Rosetta Stone program to serve as its full-time French and Spanish teacher...'

9-16-16 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--The Public School Funding Battle: No Holds Barred Christie wants to scrap Abbott v. Burke; Sweeney wants a commission to make sure that funding decisions are fair The hotly debated topic of school funding in New Jersey may have just hit the boiling point, as two opposing approaches to how the state funds its public schools came into sharper focus yesterday. For starters, Gov. Chris Christie — a longtime antagonist of the state’s public teacher unions — called on the Supreme Court to reopen a landmark education ruling that helped poor communities get more school funding. He also asked that the court give the Department of Education control over laws and bargaining agreements that protect tenured teachers...'

Star Ledger--Christie: 'My patience has run out' with N.J.'s urban 'failure factories' BAYVILLE — Just hours after he announced that he'd was petitioning the state Supreme Court to scrap key provisions of the monumental school funding case Abbott v. Burke, Gov. Chris Christie drew sharp criticism from a retired special education teacher at a town hall meeting to promote his move. The governor had opened the town hall in Bayville with a warning. "Today, my patience has run out," Christie admonished the crowd, adding that he was not longer content to be "a bystander in this."..'

Star Ledger--‘Unprecedented’ hand-foot-and-mouth disease outbreak reaches fourth school district

The first outbreak seemingly came out of nowhere in late August: Fifteen football players from Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey had come down with coxsackievirus, also known as hand-foot-and-mouth disease, forcing the cancellation of the team’s final scrimmage. Thirteen days later, a similar eruption of HFMD struck 16 miles away at Pequannock High School, postponing the football team’s season-opener...'

The Record--Christie asks court to revisit landmark school funding case Governor Christie asked the state Supreme Court on Thursday to overhaul the landmark school funding ruling that has steered the bulk of education aid to 31 of the poorest districts over three decades, in what he called a “historic legal action.” Christie said he wants the high court to reconsider the Abbott v. Burke ruling because the districts continue to fall behind in academic performance and graduation rates despite getting nearly $100 billion in aid since 1985. At the same time, he has asked the court to allow state education officials to waive teacher contract rules that he claims have been the real impediment to progress in these districts...'

Education Week-- Analysis Projects Growing National Shortfall of Teachers Already faced with worrisome hiring gaps, the country is on the precipice of a dramatically widening shortfall of teachers, a new analysis warns. In a package of reports released Wednesday, the Learning Policy Institute, a California-based think tank led by Stanford University education professor Linda Darling-Hammond, digs into federal data sets to gauge the state of teacher supply and demand, and what it means for school staffing and diversity in the near future...'

9-15-16 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Op-Ed: ESSA Offers Opportunity for Schools to Change Course Stakeholder involvement in the requisite re-imagining and re-inventing – by educators and parents alike – is critical if ESSA is to reach its full potential With the anticipation and excitement of the new school year upon us, parents and educators have a unique opportunity to participate in shaping public education in New Jersey. Under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the new federal education law passed late last year to replace the notorious No Child Left Behind (NCLB), critical decisions about our schools have been returned to the state and local districts. With that increased control comes a federal requirement to engage education stakeholders in the process of creating state and local plans...'

Star Ledger--POLL: Should elementary schools stop giving homework? WOODBRIDGE — Two New Jersey elementary schools are putting less emphasis on homework this year, and some schools in other states have eliminated homework completely. Proponents of reducing homework say the assignments should be more meaningful and less stressful. But supporters of homework believe it's a critical part of a child's education...'

Star Ledger--Here's the plan to expand N.J.'s largest vocational high school

The Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders unanimously agreed Tuesday night to expand Passaic County Technical Institute despite opposition from local school officials who said the expansion would hurt their own budgets. The state awarded the Wayne school a $15 million grant last year, which the county matched on Tuesday when freeholders issued $30 million in bonds. The money will be used to build PCTI's STEM Academy.

9-14-16 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Consent Order Brings Teachers, Administration to Benefits Table NJEA has refused to meet, saying unfilled seat on health benefits commission tips balance of power in favor of Christie Following a lengthy dispute over the summer that culminated in a court order earlier this week, state representatives and members of the New Jersey Education Association are finally set to meet face to face about potential changes to retiree healthcare plans in New Jersey...'

Star Ledger--Play time, family dinner more important than homework, N.J. school says WOODBRIDGE — A New Jersey elementary school is de-emphasizing homework this school year and telling parents their children should spend more time playing, doing household chores and eating dinner with their families. Robert Mascenik School #26 in Woodbridge Township is testing the importance of homework by giving fewer traditional assignments, principal Judith Martino wrote in a message to parents. The goal is to make school work at home a more meaningful experience and not an exercise in compliance, Martino wrote. Studies have shown that there is no link between homework and academic achievement for elementary school students, she added...'

Education Week--ESSA Raises K-12 Stakes in 2016 State-Level Elections The stakes for K-12 policy in this year's state-level elections couldn't be clearer: Whoever voters pick in the legislative and gubernatorial races will have significant new leverage in shaping states' education agendas in the years ahead. The reason is the new federal Every Student Succeeds Act, which gives state governments sweeping authority to design, among other things, teacher evaluations and school accountability systems, topics that political observers expect to dominate policymakers' 2017 legislative seasons. Observers wouldn't necessarily know that, however, by hanging out on the campaign trails this year...'

The Press of Atlantic City--State tells A.C. to withhold teachers' opt-out pay The state Department of Education has told the Atlantic City school district not to pay teachers who opted out of the district health insurance benefits the stipend agreed to in their expired contract. Many teachers will immediately lose thousands of dollars through a provision that allows them to be paid half the cost of their health insurance benefits if they opt out of the district plan and have coverage through a spouse...'

9-13-16 Education in the News
Star Ledger-- Sweeney moves to cut Christie out of N.J. school aid talks .TRENTON — After months of promoting dueling plans to revise New Jersey's school funding formula, Senate President Stephen Sweeney could be limiting Gov. Chris Christie's influence over discussions about school aid. Sweeney (D-Gloucester) and Sen. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex) on Monday introduced a plan to study school funding without Christie's approval. Additionally, the plan would not allow the governor to appoint members to the panel charged with suggesting school aid revisions, the lawmakers said. That marks a departure from the Democrats' previous plan, which would have allowed the Republican governor to pick half of the members on the proposed task force. Christie's office declined to comment on the Democrats' new plan until it is passed by the Legislature...'

Star Ledger--Christie, NJEA agree to meet about changes in health care for TRENTON — In a victory of sorts for the New Jersey Education Association, the teachers union and Gov. Chris Christie's administration agreed to hold an information-only meeting on proposed changes to retiree health care. The administration took the teachers union to court to compel members who sit on the School Employees' Health Benefits Commission to attend commission meetings. They have boycotted recent meetings to block the administration from forcing a vote to move retirees onto Medicare Advantage...'

NJ Spotlight--Senate Committee ‘Green Lights’ Sweeney’s School-Funding Plan A plan that would circumvent Gov. Chris Christie on future school-aid funding cleared its first hurdle Monday, after the state Senate Education Committee approved a resolution by Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) to create a six-member commission to revise the state education aid formula. This is the second idea for a commission introduced by Sweeney, and this one bypasses Christie because it is a resolution, rather than full legislation. ..'

The Record--Tenafly proposes later high schools start time TENAFLY – Tenafly district leaders may allow high school students to stay in bed a little longer by moving the school start time to as late as 8:30 a.m.. “Our academics are known for their rigor,” said Tenafly High School principal James Morrison. “We want to make it less stressful.”..'

9-12-16 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Sweeney to Bypass Christie to Set Up School-Funding Commission Senate president hopes to work with Republicans in the Legislature to create a bipartisan commission by resolution Ever since Senate President Steve Sweeney first proposed his legislative bill for fixing New Jersey’s school funding morass, there was the obvious question as to whether Gov. Chris Christie would ever sign it if it passed. After all, Christie has his own radically different proposal that he has been championing around the state. Now, it may not matter...'

Star Ledger--15 years after 9/11: Honor the lost by combating hate, ignorance    Opinion
Sunday marks 15 years since hijacked airplanes crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City; the Pentagon in Washington, DC; and a field in rural Pennsylvania. The United States Capitol building was the intended target of that final plane, but the heroic actions of passengers and crew members aboard the flight prevented its hijackers from accomplishing their goal. For many of us, the memories of that day will never fade and the emotions always will be difficult to manage on this anniversary. So, we continue to honor the lives and memories of the thousands who perished on Sept. 11, 2001, through remembrance, through contemplation or prayer, and, we hope, through our actions...

Philadelphia Inquirer--Chesco students plot course to later school starts, more shut-eye Like many high school students, Matthew Daniels has a schedule so jam-packed - classes, clubs, sports, job - that he rarely hits the sack before midnight. Then it's up at 6 to start all over, with six hours or less of shut-eye. School begins at 7:35. "Some of my friends don't go to bed until 1 or 2," said Daniels, a senior at Unionville-Chadds Ford High School, where he is also class president. Daniels is among a group of students from various Chester County schools studying ways that districts can delay their start times - an adjustment even knottier than it sounds. It has, however, proved possible...'

Washington Post-- A new way to honor high schools, without looking at test scores Tests taken. Test scores. Graduation rates. These are the central data points for most high school rankings. But now there is something new — and very different. Everybody knows about U.S. News & World Report’s famous college rankings, but they also rank high schools, based largely on standardized test scores as well as graduation rates. Washington Post education writer Jay Mathews does his long-standing “Challenge Index” rankings based not on test scores themselves but on a percentage of students in a school who took Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or Advanced International Certificate of Education tests. But now there is a high school honors list that has a different set of priorities...'

9-9-16 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Anger Over EpiPen ‘Price Gouging’ Sparks Calls for Wider Pharma Cost Inquiry The EpiPen is not the only medication whose cost has spiked, leading lawmakers to examine ways to keep life-saving medicines affordable Outrage over major price hikes in the cost of the EpiPen, a lifesaving device used to reverse serious allergic reactions, has prompted New Jersey lawmakers to call for further scrutiny of this particular medicine and a legislative review of the rising prices of a number of critical drugs...'...'

Jersey Journal--Jersey City schools face threat of changes in state funding Jersey City's public schools started the school year today as the district faces two serious funding challenges. Gov. Chris Christie and state Sen. President Stephen Sweeney over the summer revealed competing plans to alter the way the state funds its public schools and each plan could lead to dramatic funding changes for Jersey City's 28,000-student school district. The district gets nearly three-quarters of its funding from the state. Christie's plan would leave the district short about $217 million, or 38 percent of the district's $570 million operating budget. Sweeney's plan would lead to more gradual changes that may include eliminating an aid program that brought in $114 million to the district from the state this year...'

The Record--Teachers push for curriculum on 9/11 attacks Students in this year’s incoming high school freshman class were not yet born on Sept. 11, 2001. Unlike so many adults who lived in North Jersey 15 years ago, they do not have a vivid and visceral memory or a personal tragedy tied to that day. They never looked out the car window and saw the skyline with the Twin Towers. They don’t remember the news reports, chaos, fear, crumbling buildings and days of smoke. They don’t remember friends and family overwhelmed by a stunned sadness for weeks and months afterward. “They have a general sense that this happened, but it’s a historical event to them — it’s something that feels very far away,” said Noah Rauch, director of education programs at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. “They have a sense that the world changed, but they have no sense of what the pre-9/11 world looked like in a way that they knew what that shift actually meant.” Educators also know that their students Google — and that can send them down a road of misinformation and conspiracy theories. But in New Jersey, for a variety of reasons, there’s a good chance they won’t learn what really happened that day in school. ..'

NY Times--Crux of Connecticut Judge’s Grim Ruling: Schools Are Broken When a Connecticut judge threw out the state’s school financing system as unconstitutional this week, his unsparing 90-page ruling read and resonated like a cry from the heart on the failings of American public education. Judge Thomas G. Moukawsher of State Superior Court in Hartford was scathing: He criticized “uselessly perfect teacher evaluations” that found “virtually every teacher in the state” proficient or exemplary, while a third of students in many of the poorest communities cannot read even at basic levels. He attacked a task force charged with setting meaningful high school graduation requirements for how its “biggest thought on how to fix the problem turned out to be another task force,” and called it “a kind of a spoof.”...'

Washington Post-- U.S. to track religious discrimination in schools as anti-Muslim sentiment grows GERMANTOWN, MD- Hannah Shraim, who graduated in June from Northwest High School says she felt discrimination for being a Muslim during her High School years. (Photos by Amanda Voisard) The U.S. Education Department announced it will begin collecting data this year about allegations of discrimination or bullying of students based on their religion, bringing new attention to what educators and advocates call a growing problem in public schools, particularly for Muslim students...'

9-8-16 Education in the News
Star Ledger--'Amazing' Montclair district opposes French charter school TRENTON — Montclair doesn't want a charter school, Montclair doesn't need a charter school and the state shouldn't force Montclair to have a charter school, local residents and school officials say. That's the message the district superintendent, school board president and parents brought to the state Board of Education on Wednesday, the latest salvo in an ongoing campaign to kill a French-language charter school proposed in the affluent town with a reputation for good schools. "Montclair is not a failing school district," interim Superintendent Ronald Bolandi said as a group of parents watched in approval. "Montclair is a wonderful school system. Parents support it... that's not the case in many times when charter schools are approved."...'

Star Ledger--Christie: Private schools will get state money for security CALDWELL — Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday signed into a law a bill that give private schools state funding for security costs. Speaking at Grover Cleveland Middle School on Tuesday morning, the governor signed into law the "Secure Schools for All Children Act," which establishes a state aid for security services and equipment at private schools at a cost of up to $75 per student enrolled. "If parents choose to send their children to a parochial or private school in New Jersey, there's no reason for them to be concerned about their children's safety," said Christie...'

New York Times--The Title: Parent Coordinator. The Job: Whatever Needs to Be Done As the parent coordinator at the Community Action School on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Karla Fittipaldi said she usually works at least 10-hour days. Credit Ángel Franco/The New York Times Event planners. Choreographers. Designated hand-holders. Fonts of information. Lice-checkers in chief. These are among the many roles parent coordinators play in New York City’s public schools, and as the city’s 1.1 million schoolchildren return to class on Thursday, their busy season is about to begin. “The kids are excited,” Caren Austen, the parent coordinator at East Side Middle School, on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, said of the first day for new sixth graders. “The parents look shellshocked.” The job of the parent coordinator was introduced by the Bloomberg administration 13 years ago, and today, every public elementary and middle school, as well as some high schools, has one. They are often parents of public-school students themselves...'

9-7-16 Education in the News
The Record-- As 1.4M students return to school, N.J. education faces a year of profound change Students shuffled nervously through the doors at Smith Middle School in Ramsey Tuesday morning, trying to spot familiar faces and find their homerooms on their first day back to school. “Do you know where you’re going? I have no idea,” one blonde-ponytailed girl asked another. The girl’s reply seemed to reflect how many kids were feeling Tuesday morning. “This is going to be interesting,” she said, half-smiling. Across New Jersey, 1.4 million public school students are returning to classrooms this week in what will be a year of change, with new graduation measures, a new education commissioner and a roiling debate among Trenton lawmakers over the way schools are funded...'

Star Ledger--Armed, retired cops in N.J. schools? Not yet, says Christie CALDWELL — Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday conditionally vetoed a bill that would have put armed retired police officers in public and private schools and colleges to provide security. The governor said he's not against having special police officers designated inside New Jersey's schools, but said he wanted changes made that reflected the special nature of an educational environment...'

TRENTON TIMES-- Senate leader Sweeney touts statewide pre-K in Trenton TRENTON — Senate President Stephen Sweeney visited Trenton's Grant Elementary School on Tuesday to tout his plan to expand the state's pre-kindergarten system, one day ahead of children returning to classrooms. Sweeney (D-Glocester), who is involved in a high-profile battle with Governor Christie over the state's current school funding formula, touted his plan to expand the state's pre-K system. "We're trying to expand pre-K throughout the state," Sweeney said. "The goal is to get all school districts to provide pre-K."..'

The Record--Christie uses back-to-school bill-signing to draw attention to school funding proposal Governor Christie is beginning a new school year battling an old adversary on multiple fronts. Christie used a back-to-school bill-signing event on Tuesday in Caldwell to draw attention to his plan to overhaul public school funding and once again attack the New Jersey Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union, which has vowed to fight his “Fairness Formula.” The two sides go into the courtroom Wednesday in a separate, but no less heated, dispute over health benefits...'

NJ SPOTLIGHT-- Agenda: Hespe Makes His Swan Song as Commissioner Back-to-school meeting dives into fiscal rules, puts off some other more controversial topics Date: Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016 Time: 10 a.m. Where: New Jersey Department of Education, 1st-floor conference room, 100 River View Plaza, Trenton Hespe departure: State Education Commissioner David Hespe is expected to attend his final State Board meeting in office, after announcing last week that he would be leaving by the end of the month. He is to be replaced by assistant commissioner Kimberley Harrington. Otherwise, the board is dealing with mostly procedural matters at its first meeting of the new school year, with new rules for charter schools and for superintendent pay put off for at least another month...'

9-6-16 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Final Year of Christie Administration Could See Big Education Battles School funding and state controls for Newark and other cities, PARCC graduation requirements and superintendent caps — It could be a bumpy ride Over the course of Gov. Christie’s administration, each year in New Jersey education policy and political intrigue seems to surpass the last...'

Star Ledger--Here's how millennials are keeping N.J. school enrollment flat Millennials: the subjects of countless think pieces about how the generation is leaving its mark on everything from politics to real estate to workplace culture. Now, their footprint is becoming visible in New Jersey's public schools, where experts say their tendency to delay marriage and parenthood is having a measurable impact on school enrollment...'

Star Ledger-- N.J. education commissioner Hespe calls it quits TRENTON — State Education Commissioner David Hespe announced his resignation Friday morning after 30 months on the job. Kimberley Harrington, the assistant commissioner and chief academic officer, will become acting education commissioner at the end of September, according to a statement released by Gov. Chris Christie's office. She will become the fifth education commissioner in seven years...'

Philadelphia Inquirer--Camden schools make house calls to students on verge of dropping out .For 13 Camden kids, help with school and family life arrived in an unexpected place last fall: at home, during visits with district administrators and even the superintendent. The visits were part of a pilot program aimed at treating the root causes of problems that interfere in the lives of Camden's students and prevent them from succeeding. Spending time with the struggling students, school officials encountered more easily solvable problems, such as a student who could not get to school safely, to complicated issues such as a child who needed to move to a safer home...'

Press of Atlantic City--Newark schools reopen, not water fountains, after lead scare NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Schools are reopening in New Jersey's largest school district, but water fountains remain offline after last spring's lead scare. Officials say bottled water will be distributed for the next month at Newark's 30 schools. The district expects to reopen water fountains by October...'

9-1-16 Education in the News
Star Ledger--N.J. triples weight of PARCC results in teacher evaluations TRENTON — The results of controversial standardized tests that many New Jersey students have yet to pass will carry three times as much weight in some teacher's evaluations this school year, the state announced Wednesday. Teachers in grades 4-7 whose students participate in the PARCC math tests or in grades 4-8 whose students take PARCC English exams will have 30 percent of their rating based on students' performance on the tests, an increase from 10 percent, Deputy Education Commissioner Peter Shulman said in a memo to schools...'

The Record--State appeals court says N.J. may deny access to public records Government agencies in New Jersey may deny access to public records by saying they can “neither confirm nor deny” their existence, a state appeals court ruled Wednesday. New Jersey is now the second state to adopt as law what one veteran media lawyer called “a broad and damaging secrecy tool” first used by the U.S. government during the Cold War to protect its national security interests. The other state, Indiana, has authorized “neither confirm nor deny” responses through a statute, not a court ruling...'

Philadelphia Inquirer--Judge orders teachers union to court over benefit talks TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - Gov. Chris Christie and New Jersey's biggest teacher's union are again headed to a courtroom to settle differences after a judge ruled Wednesday the labor group must explain why it skipped meetings to help determine health insurance coverage and rates for public school teachers and retirees. Judge Mary Jacobson granted the New Jersey attorney general's request to require representatives from the New Jersey Education Association to explain why it missed at least two meetings this summer...'

Philadelphia Inquirer--New fund would direct millions to Camden's Renaissance schools George Norcross, the longtime Democratic power broker of South Jersey and chairman of Cooper University Health Care, on Wednesday announced the launch of a $28.5 million fund that will pay for construction and renovation of Camden's Renaissance schools. Norcross, also an insurance executive, said he would raise $5.7 million from local organizations and individuals, including $1 million from his family, and that the rest of the money will come from 4-1 matching by national philanthropic foundations. The local fund is being established by the nonprofit Charter School Growth Fund, a national venture capital fund that invests in charter schools...'

2015-16 Announcement Archives
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The Special Education Task Force Report was released  in November 2015. GSCS, a Task Force member,  is looking forward to discussion on this important topic.  See below for links to the report.




Garden State Coalition of Schools
160 W. State Street, Trenton New Jersey 08608