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The Buzz

12-15-14 Education Issues in the News
NJ Spotlight - Court Hears Arguments in Bacon v. NJDOE, Rural Equivalent of Abbott Ruling…Underfunding rural school districts cost them preschool programs, and much more, suit asserts 'State Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson held oral arguments on Bacon v. N.J. Department of Education, the long-running complaint that has been the rural version of the Abbott v. Burke equity rulings for the state’s urban districts....Jacobson did not give a timeframe for when her ruling would be issued.'

Education Week - State Leaders Confront Full Plate of K-12 Issues...Curtain to Rise on 2015 Sessions

Press of Atlantic City - A.C. alternative high school / Painful change

12-12-14 Senate Judiciary Committe Unanimous in Confirming David Hespe NJ Education Commissioner
GSCS Note: David Hespe is not only extremely knowledgeable of NJ’s education needs and complex policy issues, he also cares deeply about the educational well-being of all New Jersey’s public school children. GSCS says “welcome and glad to have you back” Dave.

NJTV Michael Aron - Senate Confirms Education Commissioner Hespe

NJSpotlight - At Senate Confirmation Hearing, Hespe Takes Some Tough Questions…

Politickernj - Senate Judiciary confirms acting commissioner Hespe for DOE position

The Record - Acting N.J. Education Commissioner David Hespe supported in vote by state Senate panel

12- 9and10-14 Education in the News
Star Ledger - Schools can earn automatic partial escape from state control under a new proposal ‘…The bill (S1895) allows districts that score 80 percent or higher in any of the five categories of New Jersey's Quality Single Accountability Continuum to immediately be released from state control in that area. Districts would remain under state control in other QSAC areas until also fulfilling 80 percent of those requirements…’

Press of Atlantic City - State revises high school graduation assessments

Newjerseynewsroom.com - Education in New Jersey: Separate and Unequal?

12-8-14 Education Issues in the News
The Record - Editorial - Gaining ground

NJ Spotlight - With Confirmation Hearing After Lengthy Delay, Hespe Finally Gets His Day…On the job nine months, education chief is almost certain to be confirmed – but here are three tough questions he’s likely to be asked

NewJerseynewsroom.com - Lesniak Calls For Investigation of Special Education Violations In Public Schools

12-4-14 Education: Some Good News
NJ Spotlight - Higher-Performing Schools May Escape Tangle of State-Monitoring Red Tape…Proposed waivers would give districts break from mandated periodic reviews if they maintain specific standards ‘And the head of the Garden State Coalition of Schools, which represents mostly suburban districts, also cited the relief waiver process would bring. “Since his efforts leading the Education Transformation Task Force, Dave Hespe has shared the GSCS focus that time on task for quality education can be more well spent at the district level when schools have proved they can meet high performance metrics,” said Lynne Strickland, the coalition’s director. “This regulatory initiative by the DOE will be very welcome by local schools, and will free up needed staff time for not only schools but for Department personnel work as well.”'

NJ Spotlight - Report Contains Good News About New Jersey’s Graduating Class of 2014…Overall graduation rates are up slightly, as are those for African-American and Hispanic students

12-3-14 DOE Comm'r Hespe and State Board Announce Equivalency Waiver Process to Extend QSAC Regulatory Timeline for High-Performing Districts
A long-time GSCS goal to relieve districts of heavy QSAC monitoring rules has been realized. While underscoring that the goals of quality education remain tantamount for all districts, GSCS appreciates the insight and execution of the DOE Commissioner Hespe, and the State Board, to relieve districts of requirements when they are meeting performance metrics at a high level.

GSCS on Twitter earlier today re QSAC Equivalency Waivers for High Performing Districts - lynne strickland þ@lynnestricklan1 7h7 hours ago [approx.11:45 a.m.]Educ Commr just announced QSAC equivalency waiver process for high performing districts at state board of ed mtg...Charles Sampson @FRHSDSup • 7h 7 hours ago #QSAC may have waiver as per Commissioner at state bd of ed mtg today. Garden State Coalition spent time testifying. Good news #njed #edchat...Charles Sampson þ@FRHSDSup 7h7 hours ago...Folks are listening in the Legislature & #NJDOE about #QSAC. Waiver for high performing districts would be huge improvement. #njed #edchat

GSCS before Senate Education Committee in March 2014: GSCS President Charles Sampson “…an extension of the QSAC timelines beyond three years, particularly for school districts already designated as high performing and a thorough examination that builds upon the recommendations of the 2011-2012 Education Task Force would be advantageous to schools across the state…”and, GSCS resident-Elect Jorden Schiff “…Although this is important work, it does consume many hours of local staff’s time and the county office’s time, as well. I am concerned that the frequency, every three years, is not necessary for “High Performing Districts…” To read fuller excerpts of their testimonies, click below on More…

Star Ledger - State to offer QSAC waivers to high-performing districts...'In an effort to eliminate burdensome regulations, New Jersey is making its high-performing school districts eligible for a streamlined state review, the Department of Education announced Wednesday. Schools that satisfy 80-100 percent of the quality performance indicators...'

12-3-14 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight - Unveiled for Iconic High School in Camden…Announcement of $50M initiative provides photo-op for Gov. Christie, but governor takes no questions about turnaround on building upgrade 'Of a total of $8 billion initially authorized for urban districts through the Abbott decision, SDA officials said yesterday that just $205 million is left and not yet committed. The Camden work will come out of that total, they said...'
12-2-14 State Board Meets Tomorrow...Cerf Writes Op-Ed on Myth and Reality re Newark Schools
NJ Spotlight - Update on PARCC Testing…‘Snapshot’ of Class of 2014 on Agenda Tomorrow…Board will also review guidelines for state’s oversight of four large urban school districts

NJ Spotlight - Op-Ed: Dispelling Five ‘Falsehoods’ About Newark’s School System…Despite narrative of failure, former state education chief says Newark has met with success on numerous fronts

12-1-14 Two Year Requirement to Meet Acheive NJ's Teacher Evaluation Requirements Comes Due in 2015
NJ Spotlight - Day of Judgment Draws Near for New Jersey's New Teacher-Evaluation System…Amid debate during first year of implementation, key juncture will be reached soon when teachers get their individual ratings 'When asked if he envisioned changes, Shulman said: “We are committed to continued improvement, so I would absolutely hope we are making some changes and continuing to improve the system.” '
11-26-14 Response to Teacher Evaluations Process To Date
NJ Spotlight - NJ Teacher Evaluations Are: a) Mostly a Success b) Still Need Work c) Both…How was the first year of New Jersey’s new teacher evaluation system? Depends on whom you ask...'Wright (Patricia Wright, Executive Director NJ Principals and Supervisors Association) said her association recently completed a survey of its members after the first year and found some improvement in the second year. “I think the numbers are getting more positive in terms of what they feel about (the system),” she said. “But there are still real capacity and time issues.”
11-25-14 Education Issues in the News
Star Ledger – Why is this N.J. high school eliminating mid-terms and finals

NJ Spotlight - Arbitrators Rule Against Newark’s Anderson in Two More Tenure Cases…Superintendent taken to task for using two years of teacher evaluations when only one is allowed

11-24-14 Opinion Pieces - Education and Related Issues in the News
NJ Spotlight - Opinion: Self-Selection of Public Schools, New Jersey’s Double Standard Upper-middle-class families vote for school choice with their feet, while poor families are pilloried for trying to get the best for their kids ‘Press of Atlantic City Editorial -Municipal consolidation / No magic bullet?...For years, state lawmakers and pundits - including editorial writers - have maintained that consolidating New Jersey's municipalities is the key to cutting the state's high property taxes. The state just has too much government, the story goes… Whatever that answer is or, indeed, whether it exists, let’s agree that parents should be able to make school choices for their children, and that their right to do so shouldn’t rest on their ability to afford granite countertops.

Press of Atlantic City Editorial -Municipal consolidation / No magic bullet?...‘For years, state lawmakers and pundits - including editorial writers - have maintained that consolidating New Jersey's municipalities is the key to cutting the state's high property taxes. The state just has too much government, the story goes. Now a study by Rutgers University's Bloustein Local Government Research Center calls that into question… Perhaps the most interesting questions raised by the Bloustein study are: Why hasn't more local-government research like this been done to inform the property-tax debate? And how many other public-policy truisms may be nothing more than a "folk hypothesis"?

11-21-14 Digital Transition Focus: GSCS President Sampson Goes to Washington
Our GSCS President, Charles Sampson, Superintendent of Freehold Regional School District was humbled to be invited to join the inaugural ConnectED to the Future summit, which gathered 100 district superintendents from across the country in Washington DC on November 19 to collaborate and learn from one another as leaders in education’s digital transition. As part of the experience, Mr. Sampson reflected on the importance of the digital transition for students: 'This transition promises to shatter some of the pedagogical norms of the past. These norms have too often dragged on the potential of students to engage with their learning through collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, and communication. As we push the boundaries of teaching and learning beyond the traditional schoolhouse, this network of district leaders who are each grappling with this transition will only embolden our work here in the Freehold Regional High School District and to our member districts within the Garden State Coalition of Schools...'(click on More below to read full statement)

NJ Spotlight - NJ School Chiefs Rub Elbows with Obama, Top Education Officials at White House…Eight superintendents among 100 nationwide selected to attend summit on learning and technology ‘Freehold Regional Superintendent (and GSCS President) Charles Sampson said it was a one-of-a-kind opportunity to be in the same room as Obama, Duncan and others talking about education… In addition to Perry (Haddonfield) and Sampson, the other six New Jersey school superintendents attending the White House event were from Elizabeth, Freehold Township, Pascack Regional, West Morris, Somerville and Summit. (GSCS note: With 8 superintendents selected by the federal officials, New Jersey had the largest contingent in the group, followed by California with 6.)...Still, Sampson said it was a valuable chance to hear directly from national leaders. He said regional summits are planned for the coming months, and attending superintendents were each given assignments to flesh out their own plans. “It was a phenomenal experience,” Sampson said. “The whole essence of bringing together 100 folks who had demonstrated some sort of excellence in this area, I think all of us had a feeling of excitement coming out of it. It was really inspiring.” In addition to Perry and Sampson, the other six New Jersey school superintendents attending the White House event were from Elizabeth, Freehold Township, Pascack Regional, West Morris, Somerville and Summit.

11-20-14 Education Issues in the News
NJ Spotlight - Q&A: Prominent School Superintendent Joins Exodus to Greener Pastures…James Crisfield leaves helm of Millburn schools and heads to Pennsylvania rather than accept 25% salary cut...'James Crisfield, the superintendent of Millburn’s public schools, was among the last class of New Jersey school leaders to seal his contract before Gov. Chris Christie imposed strict salary caps on superintendent pay.In the four years since, the caps have been as controversial as anything on Christie’s education agenda, with some saying it gave the system a needed jolt, while others claim it has led to an exodus of talented leaders.And now, Crisfield has bolstered the arguments of the latter camp, announcing this week that he taken the superintendent post in the Wissahickon School District in Montgomery County, Pa., near Philadelphia -- in large part due to the salary constraints he faced in New Jersey once his contract expired...

NJ Spotlight - At Newark School Striving for Turnaround, a 12-Year-Old’s Fragile Success...Grateful for Grandma, longing for Mom, a boy pours his heart into studying

11-19-14 Education Issues in the News
NJ Spotlight – NJ Public School Teachers Assess Garden State’s Smallest Scholars…Schools wrap up pilot round of kindergarten-entry assessments (KEA), start to compile data ...While debates have raged as to the value and amount of testing that will come this spring with the state’s new online exams, little fanfare greeted the state-sponsored assessments that took place over the past two months in New Jersey’s youngest grades.

Press of Atlantic City - A.C. school board hears ideas to cut costs

11-17-14 Education and Reated Issues in the News
NJ Spotlight - Size Doesn’t Matter -- Study of NJ Municipal Government Costs Concludes…Rutgers analysts question ‘conventional wisdom’ that consolidation of state’s 565 municipalities would produce property tax savings...‘Even if two towns that merged achieved a 5 percent savings on the two-thirds of their budgets hat are not fixed costs, those savings would amount to just 0.88 percent on a typical property tax bill, which would translate into an annual savings of $66.27 for a homeowner paying $7,500 in property taxes, the Rutgers experts calculated. That is because municipal taxes represent just 28.5 percent of the average property tax bill. School taxes make up 52.2 percent of overall property taxes, county taxes another 18 percent, and special assessments the remaining 1.3 percent…’

Press of Atlantic City - "That will destroy us": A.C. schools may need to slash budget ‘…The Update Report of Governor’s Advisory Commission on New Jersey Gaming, Sports and Entertainment released Thursday recommended that per-student costs in the district be reduced from a reported $25,676 to the statewide average of about $18,000. Haye said the projected cost per student for the current 2014-15 school year is $19,773, but that does not include pensions and social security, food service, debt service and capital outlay…’

Press of Atlantic City - School choice program is hit with an enrollment freeze

11-14-14 Education Issues in the News
Star Ledger - N.J. Senate panel clears bill to have state study starting school day later

NJ Spotlight - Backlash by Kids, Parents Among Obstacles to Later Start to Classes…As Senate panel OKs study, one school chief describes how short-lived change in his district impacted after-school jobs and sports teams

Burlington County Times - Allergy med bill for New Jersey schools advances

11-13-14 Congratulations to Former State Board of Education President Maud Dahme
NJ Spotlight - Student Essay Helps Holocaust Educator Earn Place in NJ Hall of Fame…After tirelessly taking her story to adults and children across New Jersey, Maud Dahme to be honored as ‘unsung hero’ in her home state...Isaiah Elia (NJ student from Glassboro) instead nominated Maud Dahme, a Holocaust survivor who travels to schools across the state to make sure students learn not just her story but understand the heritage of hatred and the heroism it can evoke.

“Her dedication to spreading awareness of the Holocaust has resulted in Holocaust education being required in all school districts,” Isaiah wrote. “I chose this nominee because of her devotion to educating younger generations about this crucial time in world history and her belief in the equality of all people.”

11-12-14 Education Issues in the News
NJ Spotlight - Teachers Add Critical Voice to State's Newly Named Testing Commission…While skeptics worry Christie appointees will rubber-stamp state policy, two named to panel express optimism that dissident voices will be heard

Press of Atlantic City - Education report finds South Jersey families struggling

11-11-14 Teacher Distribution...Chistie's Education Panel...How Schools Scored on Tests
Education Week - Ed. Dept. Directs States to Improve Teacher Distribution

The Record - Christie appoints members of panel to study school tests

Star Ledger - - New Jersey school test results: How did your school score?

11-10-14 Feds Grant DOE Waiver Request For One Year More...Teacher Tenure Case
Star Ledger -Newark forced to rehire tenured teacher despite new state law

NJ Spotlight - New Jersey Receives One-Year Extension of ‘No Child Left Behind Act’ Waiver…But feds say state must fine-tune its system for intervening in certain low-achieving schools

The Record - NJ’s waiver on education law extended another year

11-7-14 Education Issues in the News
Education Week - Teachers a Key Source of Common-Core Curricula, Study Finds

Education Post - New Jersey Website and Videos Explain Common Core

Press of Atlantic City - The focus is on testing as teachers meet in A.C.

NJ Spotlight - Votes Show School Districts Reluctant to Approve Spending Above Tax Caps

11-6-14 Education Issues in the News
The Record - Reading and math scores dip slightly on N.J. standardized tests

NJ Spotlight - School Report Card Shows New Jersey’s Grades Holding Steady

NJ Spotlight - After the PowerPoint, Newark’s Superintendent Candid about Challenges…Anderson talks about competition from charter schools, time spent getting to know teachers and students’ families

11-5-14 Post-Election and Education Issues - In the News
Post-Election Analysis: State Sends Three New Members to Congress, Christie Helps Secure Victories for Republican Governors (Courtesy of Princeton Public Affairs Group)

Education Week - Republicans Will Control Senate in the 114th Congress

Star Ledger - More N.J. school districts voting in November, but campaigns take a backseat on the ballot

11-4-14 Education Issues in the News
NJ Spotlight - Agenda: NJ Test Scores, Newark Super To Take Center Stage…Newark superintendent Anderson to speak on progress in her district, board to present 2013-2014 student performance report

NJ Spotlight - Administration Moves to Make Sure All Seats Filled for PARCC Tests…Hespe memo suggests that opt-out movement for online testing would be a violation of state and federal regulations

South Jersey Times - PARCC standardized test creates 'perfect storm' for N.J. guidance counselors

Thank you for joining us at the 10-29-14 GSCS Open Meeting at NJSBA Fall Workshop in Atlantic City!
GSCS' audience of approximately 85 school board members,school administrators, and parents from across the state were treated to lively presentations and in-depth conversations with NJ state legislators Assemblyman David Rible (Assembly Education Committee member; Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee member Assembly Republican Conference Leader; R/Dist. 30)and, Assemblyman Troy Singleton Assembly Education Committee member; Assembly Budget Committee member; D/Dist. 7. A range of topics were discussed, including school funding, special education issues, charter schools, school testing and more.

GSCS was pleased that special guest Commissioner Dave Hespe was also able to not only drop in to say hello but also took the time to sit down with all of us and talk on audience-indicated points of interest that focused on Common Core, PARRC implementation and testing, as well as state aid and special education funding issues.

Rounding out the program was GSCS President Chuck Sampson's presentation on the GSCS organization's key Focal Points for 2014-15.

GSCS Thanks all our guest for their time and thoughtful interaction that engaged our meeting attendees from start to finish! We also are thank the NJ School Boards Association for the kind welcome expressed by Executive Director Larry Feinsod and President John Bulina - thank you NJSBA.

10-29-14 Education Issues in the News.docx
ETS Education Research Update …Dear Colleague:…The October 2014 edition of ETS Education Research Update is now available. This issue contains ETS-authored or ETS-published research citations that have appeared recently in ETS-produced and independent publications. It also includes access to our database, ETS ReSEARCHER, which contains a comprehensive record of our research publications since 1947

NJ Spotlight - Profile: A Hispanic Mentor for All Students Across New Jersey…Ivonne Díaz-Claisse’s encounter with her own mentor, and her passion for reaching students, are changing young lives across the state

Times of Trenton - 'We have to do better' - Trenton school officials seek reversal of low test score trend

NJ Spotlight - Newark Teachers Union Takes Its Grievances to State Assembly Committee…Representative tells education panel that Superintendent Cami Anderson has not followed state rules for teacher evaluations

10-24-14 Education Issues in the News
NJ Spotlight - Legislature Drifts Toward Allowing Virtual Learning When Snow Shuts Schools…Pre-planned online classes taken from home could count toward current mandate of 180 days in classroom

The Record - Common Core, PARCC conference available online… Panelists included N.J. School Boards Association (NJSBA) Educator-in-Residence Vincent De Lucia, Senate President Steve Sweeney, Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) representative Amy Fratz, and more. (Governor Thomas Kean led off the conference with a 30 minute speech on the need for standards in education; Commissioner David Hespe delivered closing remarks.)

Education Week Announces Free Webinar 10-29-14: Mastering the Most Challenging Standards With Rigorous Instruction

10-23-14 Education Issues in the News
NJ Spotlight - Schools Told to Look at Sports, Other Student Activities for Problems…Memo sent to all NJ districts in wake of Sayreville High School scandal offers guidance on resources available for dealing with bullying, hazing

NJ Spotlight - Five New Charter Schools Get Preliminary OK from State Officials…Two approvals are in Plainfield; proposed all-boys charter in Trenton rejected because state law prohibits enrollment based on race or gender

Star Ledger - John P. Holland Charter School in Paterson placed on probation… The school violated state law by having two paid employees on its five-member board, state officials said. ..Acting State Education Commissioner David Hespe said the school needed to replace the two board members

10-22-14 Education Issues in the News
NJ Spotlight - State’s Top Democrats Take Stock of Education Reforms in the Offing…Sweeney, Prieto say they mostly support Common Core and related testing, but predict big adjustments ahead for NJ schools

NJ Spotlight - Opinion: NJ’s Teachers Union: Implosion, Irrelevance, or Evolution?...The NJEA’s shift on charter schools is emblematic of its struggles with shifting situation in education -- in the state and beyond

NJ Spotlight - Arbitrator Rules Newark Teacher Must Be Rehired, Given Back Pay…Decision says schools Superintendent Cami Anderson was premature in citing dismissal guidelines in state’s new tenure law

10-20-14 Re: Charter Legislation S2319
NJ Spotlight - Fine Print: Charter-School Bill Chock Full of Details -- Some New, Some Familiar… Ruiz’s legislation notable for setting up second authorizing body as well as calling for performance contracts and NJ residency mandate
10-17-14 Charter School Bill, S2319-Ruiz, Heard In Senate Education Committee
Excerpt from GSCS testimony “… neither charter school funding issues nor local input emerge in the bill. However, both issues are a rub in communities across New Jersey and require resolution. The [funding] issue has dogged the acceptance of charter schools in New Jersey over the years and will continue to unless addressed. It requires an in-depth analysis and discussion by policymakers…Re: Local Input – Because of the competing policy tugs and funding needs of charters and traditional schools within districts, communities are too often pitted against one another in the same towns and the same cities. A reasonable and calm arena for open information exchange, idea and concerns needs to be provided in the earlier stages of the approval process. Being heard and responded to meaningfully, realistically and openly is constructive and can allow for course correction as necessary.

NJ Spotlight - Long-Discussed Charter-School Reform Bill Finally Gets Legislative Hearing…But debate is likely to take months, as hurdles ahead include Christie administration content with status quo for reviewing, approving new charters

10-15-14 Hearings Scheduled for Special Education Task Force
· October 16, 6-8 p.m., Learning Resource Center-South, 107 Gilbreth Parkway, Mullica Hill · October 23, 5-7 p.m., Learning Resource Center-North, 7 Glenwood Avenue, East Orange

· October 27, 6-8 p.m., Learning Resource Center-South, N.A. Bleshman Regional Day School, 333 E. Ridgewood Ave., Paramus

· October 29, 6-8 p.m., Learning Resource Center-Central, 200 Riverview Plaza, Trenton

Click here on More for NJ Spotlight article about the hearings

10-14-14 Recent Education Issues in the News
Burlington County Times - Delanco warns parents whose kids refuse to take NJ tests...a band of parents are pushing back against the state-mandated standardized PARCC tests, arguing the tests don’t benefit their kids. But the Board of Education remains steadfast.

NJ Spotlight - NJ Tries to Address Questions, Diploma....Minimum score on SAT, appeals process to demonstrate proficiency will be among possible paths to graduation...For all the debate over the New Jersey’s planned use of -- including a minimum SAT score and an already existing but little-used appeals process – will actually work.

NJ Spotlight - Sayreville High School Case Spotlights NJ's Landmark Anti-Bullying Law..Alarms sounded after revelation of allegations that young football players were abused by older teammates

Star Ledger - Sayreville students react to hazing controversy following player arrest - Sayreville high school students return to school after learning football program cancelled

NJ Spotlight - Fine Print: Bill Would Study Possible NJ Spotlight - Benefits of Later Start Times for Schools...Sen. Richard Codey to ask for study of school schedules and impact of sleep deprivation on learning

10-8-14 Education Isssues in the News
10-6-14 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight - Ed Department's Structure Undergoes Some Fine-Tuning But No Major Overhaul…Acting Commissioner David Hespe moves to fill several vacancies and adds new position, but refrains from drastic changes

Star Ledger 10-3-Guest Editorial -The real education problem is the Common Core test, not the standards: Opinion….’If we want our children to be able to compete on a global level, we should challenge them.Students may find school work more challenging under new guidelines for the controversial Common Core Standards.’

10-2-14 High School Graduation Requirements in the News
NJ Spotlight - Administration Wants to Be Clear About PARCC’s Role in High-School Graduation…State officials look to lay out their position on new online tests, while NJ’s largest teachers union voices its displeasure ‘In addition, he said that a new commission created by Gov. Chris Christie to study the impact of new and previous testing on all facets of public education would also have a prominent role in determining next steps.'

Press of Atlantic City - New state PARCC tests will be option in graduation requirements starting next year

10-1-14 State Board of Education Meeting Today: PARRC on the Agenda...Blue Ribbon Schools Announce
NJ Spotlight - NJ Education Officials Unveil Test Requirements for High-Schoolers to Graduate...While plan offers options in lieu of passing PARCC exams, critics say plan breaks promise to delay mandate

NJ Spotlight - 11 Schools in New Jersey Win Coveted Federal ‘Blue Ribbon’ Designation..This year’s recipients include eight public schools, two private schools and one charter

9-29-14 Introduced: Assembly Concurrent Resolution 195 (ACR195)
ACR195 Jasey (D-27); Wolfe (R-10)'Urges Commissioner of Education to suspend regulations on school district superintendent maximum salary amount for certain contract terms, and not to readopt at sunset'

Since this Assembly resolution was just introduced yesterday its text is not yet available. This concurrent resolution is a positive statement in that it is bi-partisan by its nature and the effort does show movement and understanding its importance to the well-being of quality education.

9-30-14 State Board of Education Meeting Tomorrow
NJ Spotlight - Agenda: NJ's Teacher of the Year Will Get Day in the Sun as Board Honors Winner...State Board of Education will announce recipient for 2014, discuss familiar topics of testing and teacher quality 'Common Core resolution: The board is also expected to give final approval of a resolution to restate its support for New Jersey’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards...Assistant state commissioner Bari Erlichson will give the board a presentation on absenteeism in the public schools, as derived from the state’s increasing data collection...Student testing: Erlichson is also expected to update the board on the latest developments in the state’s preparations for its new online testing...'
9-30-14 Reactions to Urban Hope Act Bill Passed by Assembly Yesterday Afternoon
NJ Spotlight - Explainer: Getting Inside the Urban Hope Act -- and ‘Renaissance Schools’ … Opening the way for charter networks to gain a toehold in the city, new law could transform education in Camden

NJEA, CEA react to passage of Urban Hope amendments by State Assembly “Let us move ahead to provide stability and equity in public schools”

JERSEY CAN letter re: Assembly Passage of Urban Hope Act, September 29 2014 ‘S2264 will help renaissance schools grow and better serve students, ultimately giving more families access to high-quality schools.

9-29-14 Just In: The Assembly Passed the Urban Hope Act Today, Following Senate's Approval Last Weel
9-29-14 Teachers Put Plan Forth to Improve Teacher Effectiveness...National Survey Shows Superintendents Approve Common Assessments Consortia
NJSpotlight - NJEA, Other Education Groups Push Own Proposals for Teacher Improvements...‘Taking Back the Profession’ report includes call for new tier of ‘teacher leaders’ and more mentoring...‘Taking Back the Profession’ report includes call for new tier of ‘teacher leaders’ and more mentoring
9-26-14 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight - New Jersey Students Will Be Spending More Time Taking New Online Tests...Latest PARCC update indicates that tests could take as much as 10 hours spread over a half-dozen days

Star Ledger Editorial - End the squabbling in Newark schools: Editorial ...For the sake of the kids, both sides need to settle down and start over. 'In the latest kerfuffle over Newark schools, the advisory board has voted to stop payment on Superintendent Cami Anderson's salary...'

9-25-14 NJ 'School Board Notes' Survey Results re Common Corre
NJ School Boards Association Survey Results: Common Core Misunderstandings(As published in the NJSBA ‘School Board Notes’) '…When asked about specific misconceptions that their communities have, 74 percent of respondents said their community members or board members believe the standards dictate curriculum – when in truth, the Common Core sets standards on what students should know at various grade levels. Curriculum is developed by local districts. Along with that, nearly 65 percent of survey participants said their community believes the Common Core standards were devised by the federal government (in actuality, states signed up voluntarily); 57 percent think the standards were written without teacher input (in fact, teachers were involved in writing the standards); and just over 25 percent think standards are new to New Jersey (whereas, the state has used standards-based education for about 20 years.)'
9-25-14 Education and Related Issues in the News
NJ Spotlight - Newark School Board Votes to Block Superintendent Anderson’s Pay...Members flex their newfound fiscal muscle, but embattled state-appointed school chief still holds the purse strings 'Under the transition plan for the district finished in August and signed by board president Rashon Hasan, Anderson explicitly holds the ultimate veto powers in case of any disagreement with the board...'

The Record - Christie returns to Camden to tout gains 'The governor made three stops during his trip Wednesday. He spoke briefly near a park, chatted up a kindergarten classroom and addressed a high school football team...'

9-24-14 Education and Related Issues in the News
Star Ledger - Giving N.J.'s poor kids a leg up in school: Q&A ‘People are willing to put up with inequality of outcomes as long as there is something close to equal opportunity. When the school bell rings at 3 p.m., wealthy American kids move on to tutorials, music lessons, and unpaid internships. They spend thousands of extra hours with supportive adults. Low-income kids can’t match that, and it’s a key reason the achievement gap is growing at an alarming rate. Eric Schwarz is working to even the playing field…’

Star Ledger – Rural NJ school districts need more funding, lawsuit against DOE states ‘A fight for better funding in 16 rural New Jersey school districts— known as "Bacon districts" — has led to a lawsuit filed by the Education Law Center against the New Jersey Department of Education'

NJ Spotlight - New School-Funding Case Turns Spotlight on State’s Rural Districts…’According to complaint, 16 poor school systems are being underfunded by nearly $20 million’

Press of Atlantic City-Opinion - Another tax amnesty / Whatever works ‘…It is also worth noting that, as NJSpotlight.com reported, governors all over the country - Republican and Democratic - have been resorting to tax amnesties…’

NJ Spotlight - Debates in Camden Continue -- But Is Anybody Listening to the Community? ‘Urban Hope Act comes up for final vote next week, could open way to further charter-school expansion in that city’

9-22-14 Urban Hope Act Vote Today...To Better Understand Common Core...Commentary - Broaden Education Reform Efforts
Education Week - Getting Beyond One 'Right Way' of K-12 Reform… ‘Why don't we get education changing the way successful systems change?’

NJ Spotlight - Expanded Urban Hope Act Set to Come Before State Legislature Today…Reworked legislation opens way for large networks of charter schools in Camden

NJ Spotlight - An NJ Spotlight Webinar: Understanding the Basics of the Common Core…’There are plenty of questions about the Common Core standards -- NJ Spotlight goes to the experts to supply some answers’

9-17-14 Common Core Happenings
Press of Atlantic City - Common Core State Standards moving ahead in area schools “…But as new standardized tests and teacher evaluations were linked to the standards, and as another presidential election looms, the Common Core has become more than just a set of basic expectations for knowledge and skills students should have when they graduate from high school.Today, they are a political rallying point of opposition for a multitude of special-interest groups that claim that they are the first step toward a national government-run curriculum, will generate an increase in standardized tests and/or unfairly link teacher performance to the results of just one test. while about 40 states support them...”
9-17-14 Hearing on Superintendent Salary Caps Sets Opens Conversation for Compromise
NJ Spotlight - Talks Sought on Easing Much-Debated Caps on Superintendent Salaries...Legislative and legal actions have failed to sway Christie administration, so lawmakers may try joint nonbinding resolution

(excerpt from GSCS testimony) "GSCS thanks the Joint Committee on Public Schools for holding this hearing. It has been years since these salary caps have been mandated, a salary ‘reset’ clearly has occurred and it is more than time to move ahead in a positive direction and promote respect for the position of chief school administrator. Our students, parents and staff know that the need and respect for quality education leadership is tantamount to the delivery of quality education. We appreciate Assemblyman Wolfe's and the Committee’s consideration of and potential for advocacy regarding this important matter.

(Excerpt from Michele Lenhard testimony/GSCS Vice President and Ridgewood School Board member) “The role of the Board of Education comes into the picture by providing accountability for local constituents. The only employee we directly hire and manage is the Superintendent. The give and take of this relationship is critical for success as goals are established for the district, budgets are set, and a Chief School Administrator is hired and evaluated. The salary caps severely limits a board’s ability to attract and retain quality leadership. How can you set an upper benchmark for a salary without even considering cost of living adjustments, rising healthcare costs, and experience levels of candidates? A few key points which highlight why capping a superintendents salary is unnecessary: A Redundant Cap; Executive County Superintendent Oversight; Stability of Leadership; Costly (e.g., Interims); Flexibility of Local Control…Key qualities of a good superintendent: Educational mentor, communicator, community leader, CEO of a multi million dollar enterprise, manager of personnel, interpreter of State regulations, parental coach, advocate and as previously stated, educational leader…” See attached for full testimony.

9-16-14 Controversial Caps On Superintendent Salaries Under Discussion -- Again
NJ Spotlight - 'Today’s meeting of Joint Committee on the Public Schools will consider next steps when -- or if – pay limits for top administrators expire in 2016...The hearing today was called by state Assemblyman David Wolfe (R-Ocean). His affiliation is worth noting, given that he’s a member of the minority party, which has been among those balking at changes to the limits. Christie and his administration have also not budged...“I think we are all hoping for bipartisan support, and this hearing may help in building a foundation for that,” said Michael Vrancik, chief lobbyist for the New Jersey School Board’s Association...Others slated to testify are members of the New Jersey Association of School Administrators, representing superintendents, the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association, and the Garden State Coalition of Schools.'
FYI - Superintendent Salary Caps on Joint Committee of the Public Schools Agenda This Tuesday
The Joint Committee of the Public Schools is holding a hearing on superintendent salary caps this Tuesday, 9-16-14, in Committee Room 11 at 10:00 a.m. in the State House Annex...The public may address comments and questions to Amy Tibbetts, Executive Director, at 609-847-3365; or by e-mail at Atibbetts@njleg.org.
9-15-14 Education in the News
Star Ledger – In Hoboken, a fight over racial balance in charters: Moran… “Our district schools don’t look like our communities,” says Carlos Perez, head of the New Jersey Charter School Association. “What we should be asking is why families are leaving, and what we can do to attract them back to public education.” Hoboken’s answer is to go after Hola. It might find that working to improve its own offerings would be more effective.

NJ Spotlight- Teachers Union Heads Get First-Hand Look at NJ School-Reform Hot Spots…Two national leaders visits Camden and Newark districts, tout organized labor’s relevance in local debates over state initiatives

9-12-14 Star Ledger - Superintendent Salary Cap Is A Terrible Idea
Star Ledger - The superintendent salary cap is a terrible idea. Repeal it: Editorial… ‘Minnesota lawmakers ended up lifting a similar salary cap because their state's districts struggled to recruit good candidates. New Jersey should do so, too. Our superintendent cap is set to expire in 2016, at which point it could be renewed. But lawmakers such as Sen. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex), are pushing legislation to end it. The state Senate Education Committee has advanced her bill, but the Assembly hasn't acted. Why not? ... The measure would still have to get past the governor, of course, who's shown no sign of reversing himself. But if Christie wants to stop chasing talent from New Jersey schools, he should.
9-11-14 Education Issues in the News
NJ Spotlight - NJEA Spent Nearly $60M on Campaigns and Lobbying in Past 15 Years…New election finance report reveals teachers union spent more than twice as much as its nearest rival ‘The political spending by the New Jersey Education Association is no secret anymore, with the latest numbers -- in the tens of millions -- continuing to astound. A new report by the state’s election finance commission tallied more than $57 million spent by the teachers union on political campaigns and lobbying in the past decade and a half -- more than double its nearest rival…’
9-10-14 Education in the News - Camden Schools; Newark Protest in Afternoon Today
Courier Post -Christie touts revitalization of Camden schools in Renaissance program It's not often Camden is described as a model for cities, but Gov. Chris Christie did just that Tuesday. "Unlike other places in our state, this is one that has truly come together," Christie said after visiting with students from the Octavius V. Catto Community School. "Because in this city, the interests of the children have been placed first."

NJ Spotlight - On Visit to Camden Schools, Christie Takes Jabs at Protesters in Newark...Governor says ‘the interests of the children have really been placed first’ during debate in Newark over reforms ‘Four years ago this month, Newark was the centerpiece of Gov. Chris Christie’s education agenda…Flash forward, and Christie has unofficially moved his reform campaign almost 100 miles south down the New Jersey Turnpike, where the friendlier city of Camden has now become the centerpiece of his education plans, displaying less of the rancor while facing challenges similar those faced by its northern cousin…’

Star Ledger - 150 activists block city intersection to protest One Newark 'About 150 activists blocked a busy Newark intersection this morning in the second straight day of protesting against Newark Public Schools' controversial school overhaul plan. The protesters, include[e] students, parents and community activists...Paul Karr, the communications director for NJ Communities United, which helped organize the protests along with the Newark Students Union, said their efforts have attracted widespread attention. “We are connected to a broader national movement protecting public education,” he said. “Here in Newark, we feel obligated to make our voices heard..."'

9-8-14 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight - Grassroots Camden Group Appeals Trenton’s Decision to Allow New Charters...Save Camden Schools signals first pushback that administration has encountered since district takeover “I don’t speak for the whole city, but there are a lot of parents who welcome what is going on . . . I don’t see how anyone can block new schools in a city that desperately needs them.” Barclay said he understands that any state takeover is going to come with its dissenters. “That is one of the great things about America: they have every right to say and do what they want,” he said. “But something has got to change in our schools.”
9-7-14 Education in the News - Common Core
Star Ledger - Common Core controversy continues in N.J. and across nation…As the school year begins, the battle over the Common Core State Standards heats up
9-5-14 Education Issue in the News - Newark Opening Day Open Enrollment Approach
Politickernj - With statewide eyes on Newark's schools, Superintendent Anderson says first day of One Newark plan "going great" ..."There are always issues that arise, but for the most part, we're seeing a pretty typical back-to-school day," said Acting Education Commissioner David Hespe. "As the change process continues, I think people will get more and more comfortable that not only is this the right thing to do for the children of Newark, but it's being implemented well. The superintendent has her vision...and I think so far she's implementing it very well."..."The Acting Commissioner is here to show his support and offer the resources of the administration for Newark on day one," said Kevin Roberts, spokesman for Gov. Christie..."

NJ Spotlight - Back to School Means First-Day Jitters for Anderson, ‘One Newark’ Plan 'As school buses start rolling in Newark, critics of state-appointed superintendent are quick to point out that some are nearly empty'

Star Ledger -Newark's public schools open with promise, confusion and complaints 'Thousands of Newark students headed back to school yesterday in a district that has undergone sweeping and controversial changes.As the district's reorganization plan made its debut, some Newark parents tested new routes to schools in new locations. Some families grumbled...'

9-4-14 Education Issues in the News
NJ Spotlight - Education Chief Kicks Off Campaign to Explain Common Core…StandardsStatewide effort aims to address community concerns about tougher academic benchmarks. If you haven’t heard enough already, get ready to hear a lot more about the Common Core State Standards, via the Christie administration…Acting Education Commissioner David Hespe said yesterday that his department hopes to go school-by-school with a statewide community outreach campaign to promote and explain the much-disputed standards.

Star Ledger - Anderson touts Newark's transportation, security plan for new school year “…From our perspective there is nothing more important than getting community voices heard and getting community input into the plan,” said Ross Danis, president of the Newark Trust for Education and co-chair of the committee. “We spent hours this summer reviewing street by street hub by hub the placement of crossing guards…” But frustration among some parents and activists about the implementation of the One Newark plan still boils.

The Record

9-2-14 School Year Officially Underway - Underlying Issues
Related Urban Issues Have Impact on New Jersey Education

8-31-14 Star Ledger – Tom Moran - The confessions of a worried Cami Anderson supporter: Moran “…That is a wrenching change, no doubt. But the people of Newark have rendered their verdict by fighting to enroll their kids. More than 10,000 put their names on waiting lists. And when Anderson gave all families a chance to choose this year, they picked charter schools by an overwhelming margin.The heat comes mostly from unions, and from conspiracy theorists who see charter schools as a dark plot by Wall Street to somehow suck money out of the public system. Please. The hedge fund crowd can make much more money at their regular jobs, thank you. And all the charters are non-profits anyway…This is big test for Anderson. If the start of school is chaotic, she’ll deserve a share of the blame. But so will the unions, and the mayor, and the councilman, and the conspiracy theorists.”

9-1-14 NY Times - Camden Turns Around With New Police Force ”…There are other signs of life. The county has put millions into park improvements. The state has paid to knock down some abandoned houses. Charter schools are rising, and a ShopRite, the city’s first new supermarket in three decades, is to begin construction next year…”

9-2-14 NJ Spotlight -

Pivotal Questions Await Answers as School Bells Ring in New Jersey...Controversial reforms – and whether Christie will run for president – among major issues as kids and teachers return to classrooms It’s not easy to list the top issues affecting New Jersey students, educators and taxpayers as the school year begins. There are just so many to choose from...

New Law Aims to Make Every High-School Student a Potential Lifesaver...All public and charter schools must offer CPR, defibrillator training "Laurie Heavener is one of the most vocal advocates for a new state law requiring high-school students to be taught cardiopulmonary resuscitation for a simple reason: She wouldn’t be alive if a trained student hadn’t been there when she had a heart attack...." .

Agenda: Common Core State Standards Top State Education Board’s Slate...In first meeting of new school year, board will delve deeply into benchmark standards for math and language arts Date: Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014 10:100 a.m.

2014-15 Announcement Archives
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Pre 2012 Announcement Archives
10-29-14 Education Issues in the News
ETS Education Research Update …Dear Colleague:…The October 2014 edition of ETS Education Research Update is now available. This issue contains ETS-authored or ETS-published research citations that have appeared recently in ETS-produced and independent publications. It also includes access to our database, ETS ReSEARCHER, which contains a comprehensive record of our research publications since 1947

NJ Spotlight - Profile: A Hispanic Mentor for All Students Across New Jersey…Ivonne Díaz-Claisse’s encounter with her own mentor, and her passion for reaching students, are changing young lives across the state

Times of Trenton - 'We have to do better' - Trenton school officials seek reversal of low test score trend

NJ Spotlight - Newark Teachers Union Takes Its Grievances to State Assembly Committee…Representative tells education panel that Superintendent Cami Anderson has not followed state rules for teacher evaluations

10-30-14 Common Core, Schol Security - In the News
Press of Atlantic City - New Jersey education chief pushes Common Core

NJ Spotlight - Fine Print: School Security Report Shows Increased Protections, Higher Costs….School boards association report outlines changes and recommendations for schools post-Sandy Hook

12-16-14 Judge Decision Negative on Rural Districts Suit
NJ Spotlight - Superior Court Judge Rules Against Rural Districts in School-Funding Suit…Setback in Bacon v. NJDOE only temporary, plaintiff's lawyers say, but decision frees state to focus on upcoming school budget In a closely watched case, a Superior Court judge yesterday ruled against 16 rural school districts seeking relief in the wake of the Gov. Chris Christie’s cuts to school funding that they maintained left them unable to fulfill the state's constitutional mandate for a “thorough and efficient” education. State Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson, in an oral ruling from the bench as assignment judge for the Mercer County court, yesterday dismissed the districts’ motion for a summary judgment in the long-running case known as Bacon v. NJ Department of Education, according to the districts’ lawyers...'Jacobson in oral arguments last week raised concerns about the districts’ reliance on 2009 assessments of their schools’ needs in making their case, ones that she said could be outdated by now...'

For GSCS 2014-2015 Meeting Dates Calendar, go to 'Coming Up' on this homepage banner/side right.

 

Next GSCS Board of Trustees Meeting is December 10, 2014 at 3:30 p.m. at the East Brunswick Board of Education

Update: The Special Education Task Force, of which GSCS is a member, continues its hard work. Four pubic hearings have been held around the state, and the task force is now entering the 'drafting' stages of its process. A final report is due by the end of December 2014.

 

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