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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.
7-29-16 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--NJ Student Loan Agency to Staff: Don’t Tell Borrowers About Help Unless They Ask
Annie Waldman, ProPublica    July 29, 2016
It’s yet another obstacle for borrowers from the country’s largest state-based college loan program Some restaurants have secret menus, special items that you can only get if you know to ask. New Jersey’s student loan program has secret options, too — borrowers may be able to get help from the agency, but only if they know to ask...'

Star Ledger--You're 'getting shafted every year' on school funding, Christie tells town FAIR LAWN — Gov. Chris Christie resumed a statewide tour promoting his proposed school funding overhaul Thursday, telling residents of Fair Lawn they are "getting shafted every year, over and over again." In a public forum at the Fair Lawn Senior Center, the governor said his proposed Fairness Formula would give Fair Lawn an 814 percent increase in school aid, enough that the borough could lower the average property tax bill by $2,223 over three years. "You deserve better than what you are getting," Christie said. "I want folks in Fair Lawn who want to stay in Fair Lawn to be able to afford to stay in Fair Lawn."..'

The Record--Christie hopeful current N.J. Supreme Court more likely to back education plan . Gov. Christie said Thursday he was hopeful that the current crop of New Jersey Supreme Court justices would support his plan to overhaul how the state pays for public schools. “This is a whole new court we have before us,” said Christie, speaking at the Fair Lawn Senior Center Thursday, noting that he has appointed four of the seven people on the court...'

7-28-16 Education in the News
Star Ledger--Meet the Rutgers professor banning the use of technology in class NEWARK — If you are taking Professor Stuart Green's criminal law lecture class at Rutgers School of Law next semester, don't even think about whipping out your laptop, phone or tablet. Green is dialing back the clock and requiring students to take handwritten notes – with old-fashioned pen and paper -- in his classes on the Newark campus. Laptops and other devices are banned...'

The Record--Christie to push school funding plan in Fair Lawn today Governor Christie plans to promote his school funding formula at a forum in Fair Lawn Thursday. Earlier this month, Christie cancelled a planned visit to Fair Lawn in order to campaign with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in Virginia. Christie expects to discuss his school formula at the Fair Lawn Senior Center at 11 a.m. at 11-05 Gardiner Road, the latest of several stops he has made to tout his plan...'

Education Week-- U.S. Issues Federal Guidelines to Prevent Discrimination Against Students With ADHD The U.S. Department of Education has issued guidelines aimed at preventing schools from discriminating against the growing numbers of students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. In a letter to school districts and a “know your rights” document to be posted on its website Tuesday, the department said schools must obey existing civil rights law to identify students with the disorder and provide them with accommodations to help them learn. The guidelines come in response to years of complaints from parents who say that their children have been denied needed services and that schools have failed to protect them from bullying...'

7-27-16 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight—Op-Ed--J’s Early Intervention System Remains Robust and Ready to Help Hotline service helps parents, caregivers get answers and help early on, often a critical consideration when dealing with young children For tens of thousands of New Jersey children facing developmental disabilities and their families, the difference between a healthy, happy life could be a phone call...'

NJ Spotlight--How Can New Jersey, Other States Rescue Underfunded Pension Systems? NJ Senate President Sweeney says officials need to be honest with the public and state workers about the problem State public-employee pension systems across the country are facing a combined $1 trillion in debt, and many states, including New Jersey, aren’t getting much help on the investment side these days thanks to stubbornly low interest rates. Medical breakthroughs are also testing the math of pension systems as retired workers are now living much longer...'

7-26-16 Education in the News
The Atlantic-- Students' Broken Moral Compasses The pressures of national academic standards have pushed character education out of the classroom. A few months ago, I presented the following scenario to my junior English students: Your boyfriend or girlfriend has committed a felony, during which other people were badly harmed. Should you or should you not turn him or her into the police? The class immediately erupted with commentary. It was obvious, they said, that loyalty was paramount—not a single student said they’d “snitch.” They were unequivocally unconcerned about who was harmed in this hypothetical scenario. This troubled me...'

Education Week--Data Looms Large in Quest for New School-Quality Indicator States look hard at what's required to meet ESSA's mandate States scrambling to come up with more nuanced ways to measure school quality under the new federal K-12 law are running smack into an old problem: how to make sure they have the right data. The Every Student Succeeds Act requires that states—in addition to using English-language proficiency, graduation rates, and scores on statewide achievement tests—add at least one new indicator of school quality or student success, such as school climate, chronic absenteeism, discipline, or college and career readiness...'

7-25-16 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Long, Winding Road for Sweeney’s and Christie’s Education-Funding Plans Getting either to the Legislature, never mind passed, is proving to be a tough challenge Since Gov. Chris Christie and state Sen. Steve Sweeney proposed competing plans for remaking school funding in New Jersey, it’s been more talk than action. Both Christie and Sweeney have gone on public campaigns to muster support for their proposals, each winning their share of endorsements for what are radically different paths...'

Star Ledger—NJ Towns Where Property Taxes Hurt the Most Property taxes are generally considered a regressive form of taxation, which means that it accounts for a greater share of a low-income person’s pay that a high-income earner’s...'

Philadelphia Inquirer--Career in teaching? College students turning away in droves Danielle Arnold-Schwartz, a teacher in the Lower Merion School District, considers education her calling. Yet, when her 16-year-old daughter began mulling the same career path, she advised her to choose a second major, just in case. The profession, Arnold-Schwartz warned, has been undermined by skin-and-bones school budgets, testing overkill, increasingly rigorous teacher evaluations, and dimming public respect, among a raft of relatively recent negatives...'

7-22-16 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Interactive Map: New Jersey in Midst of New Baby Bust Lingering economic problems and young women delaying motherhood have been suggested as reasons for the decline in the number of children Summer is a time children enjoy playing, relaxing, and hanging out with friends, but New Jersey children have fewer kids to hang out with now than their older brothers and sisters did a few years ago. According to figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, New Jersey had almost 2.01 million children under age 18 in 2014, the most recent year for which data is available. That's nearly 4 percent lower than in the early 2000s, when the state had about 2.09 million children. The declines are in just about every age group, with the biggest drop in the under-3 set, whose numbers dwindled 5.4 percent compared to 2006...'

Star Ledger--Sweeney, urban mayors unite against Christie's school funding plan TRENTON — State Senate President Stephen Sweeney knows that tax relief can be enticing. So enticing, in fact, that Sweeney said he's heard from Democratic mayors who support Republican Gov. Chris Christie's proposed school funding overhaul rather than Sweeney's own plan. "It's just so attractive," Sweeney (D-Gloucester) said of Christie's proposal to lower property taxes for 75 percent of school districts. But the flip side of the governor's plan would be the slashing of state aid to the state's urban and low-income communities, and Sweeney convened a group of mayors and school superintendents Thursday who outline the negative consequences of the governor's plan...'

7-21-16 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Ballot Question on Pension Payments Gets Dragged into TTF Wrangle Deadline nears for putting new pension payments on November ballot, but impasse between Christie and Sweeney on transportation funding gets in the way A statewide ballot question that would require increasing payments into New Jersey's grossly underfunded public-employee pension system has now been dragged into the debate over renewing the state Transportation Trust Fund. Senate President Stephen Sweeney fears the state won't be able to fund the bigger payments if the sales tax is also cut this year, which is part of Gov. Chris Christie's solution for the TTF...'

Providence Journal--R.I. education chief defends decision to drop test for 10th graders PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Education Commissioner Ken Wagner defended his decision to drop a standardized test from 10th grade, a move that received mixed reviews from educators who worry that it will undermine holding students and teachers accountable for their performances. On Friday, Wagner announced that 10th graders no longer have to take the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), a test that still will be given in grades three through nine. High school students, however, will have to take a math test, either algebra 1 or geometry. The move reflects widespread concern, Wagner said, that students were being overtested and that a standardized test shouldn't be a barrier to graduation. It is also a response to Governor Raimondo's commitment to provide free SAT and PSAT tests to all students in the hopes that more will consider applying to college...'

7-20-16 Education in the News
NPR National Public Radio via NJ Spotlight--Children in High-Poverty Freehold Borough Stranded on ‘Education Island’ New Jersey community is surrounded by wealthy neighbors, while many who live there are below poverty line New Jersey’s Freehold Borough is a classic example of an educational “island district,” where the property tax base and thus available school funding is sharply different from that of a surrounding town. While 32 percent of the borough’s residents have incomes putting them below the poverty line, only 5 percent of those in Freehold Township do. A report by nonprofit EdBuild, a think tank specializing in school finance, found 180 similar districts around the country. New Jersey has several because of a 19th century law allowing town centers to incorporate as boroughs...'

Star Ledger--Senate Dems on tour to promote their version of a school spending reform plan NEWARK — As part of an ongoing tour to tout their plan to reform education spending in New Jersey, Senate President Steve Sweeney and Senator M. Teresa Ruiz hosted a roundtable Tuesday in one of the cities that would be hardest hit by the competing spending overhaul proposed by Gov. Chris Christie last month. As part of a series of meetings to promote the "Formula for Success" plan, Sweeney (D-Gloucester) and Ruiz (D-Essex), the chair of the Senate Education Committee, met with members of the NJ Association of School Administrators and officials from 15 school districts in Essex, Hudson, Passaic, Union, and Bergen Counties at the Rutgers-Newark campus...'

Education Week--Should ESSA Jettison Proficiency Rates in School Accountability? More than 40 testing researchers and education officials have signed onto a letter to Education Secretary John B. King Jr., calling for the Education Department to move away from using proficiency rates as the key measure of school accountability under the Every Student Succeeds Act. The researchers, led by Morgan Polikoff, an associate education professor at the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education, argue the Education Department should allow to use more nuanced methods to evaluate schools' effectiveness...'

7-19-16 Education in the News
Star Ledger--Proposed N.J. law would ban prior restraint of student newspapers State legislators have re-introduced a bill that would prohibit school districts and public universities from authorizing prior restraint of school-sponsored media. The legislation is backed by Tom McHale, an English teacher at Hunterdon Central Regional High School in Raritan Township in Hunterdon County. McHale resigned as adviser of the award-winning school newspaper The Lamp in 2013 after trying, but failing, to get the board to amend its policy that requires the administration's review of The Lamp's content prior to publication. He had held the post for a decade...'
7-18-16 Education in the News
Times of Trenton--Has public school teaching become devalued in the public eye? New Jersey's teachers are a bunch of whiners - grabby self-promoters with cushy jobs and carefree summers. Or ... Our state's teachers are dedicated professionals who endure long hours, unruly students and insufficient pay to educate the leaders of tomorrow...'

The Press of Atlantic City--Christie sees fairness in education plan; advocates disagree TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey's school-funding formula is hailed by education advocates as a national model for providing resources to poorer districts. But it's also led to backlash from residents around the state paying the country's highest property taxes, which fund education.

7-15-16 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--No Fast Fixes for New Jersey’s Deeply Flawed School Funding Is your district getting all the aid that’s coming to it, or is it one of many that’s being shortchanged? No one is happy with the way New Jersey funds its schools, thanks in part to a state aid system that has become badly distorted in recent years. Some districts, are awarded more aid than they should be under the state formula, while others are consistently shortchanged. Many experts say the system is unfair and outdated — and that now is the time to redress its shortcomings...'

Star Ledger--Trenton, Princeton agree Christie's school funding formula unfair TRENTON — Mayors, school board representatives and superintendents from Trenton, Princeton and Ewing all agreed Thursday that the state's current school funding formula was adequate — provided the state fully implement and fund it. Then they went on to agree that Gov. Chris Christie's new formula concerned them. "One size does not fit all," State Sen. Shirley Turner (D-Mercer) said when referencing Gov. Christie's plan...'

Washington Post--Why the movement to privatize public education is a very bad idea Samuel E. Abrams is the director of the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. He has written a new book, “Education and the Commercial Mindset,” that details how and why market forces have come to rise in public education and become important in corporate school reform. Renowned progressive educator Deborah Meier wrote an interesting review of the book on her blog. She wrote in part: This is a book that you should rush out and buy/read. The author, Samuel E. Abrams, is currently the director of the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education, Teachers College, Columbia. When I first saw the title and the source, I did not think it would be a book I would be enthusiastic about...'

7-14-16 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--New Jersey Schools Must Test Every Faucet and Drinking Fountain for Lead Emergency regulations passed by state Board of Education take effect immediately After years -- maybe decades -- of questions on whether students were drinking lead-contaminated water, New Jersey has moved quickly to put in place new requirements for testing every faucet and drinking fountain of every school...'

Star Ledger--N.J. loses longtime leader in Holocaust, 9/11 education TRENTON — The veteran educator who led New Jersey's efforts to teach students about the Holocaust and 9/11 has died, according to the state Department of Education...'

Star Ledger--N.J. sets deadline for testing school water for lead TRENTON — New Jersey school districts that have yet to test their drinking water for lead will be required to do so within one year under new state regulations going into effect this week. The testing rules, passed by the state Board of Education on Wednesday, will also require all school districts to test their water used for drinking and cooking at least once every six years...'

7-13-16 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Agenda: Lead Testing Gets Regulatory Fast Track State board to move on several state initiatives, including Abigail’s Law Date: Wednesday, July 12, 2016 Time: 10 a.m. Where: New Jersey Department of Education, 1st-floor conference room, 100 River View Plaza, Trenton RELATED LINKS School’s not out for board: The summer months can be slower for the State Board of Education, but the monthly meeting today -- and again in August -- will take up some pressing issues...'

Star Ledger--Another state drops PARCC for high school students Illinois has become the latest state to distance itself from the controversial PARCC exams used in New Jersey schools. The Illinois State Board of Education on Monday announced the state will no longer administer the tests in its high schools. High school juniors will instead take the SAT, which will be paid for by the state...'

Star Ledger/NJ Spotlight--10 most common languages of N.J.'s polyglot student population Spanish is the undisputed leader, but kids in New Jersey's schools speak everything from Arabic to Portuguese and Chinese to Telugu New Jersey has almost 2 million foreign-born residents, about 22 percent of the state's population. More than 90,000 of them are school-aged, which has broad implications for the state's schools...'

NY Times--Public Schools? To Kansas Conservatives, They’re ‘Government Schools’

Free State High School in Lawrence, Kan., a public school. Kansas has for years been the stage for a messy school funding fight that has shaken the Legislature and reached the State Supreme Court. Credit Mike Yoder/The Lawrence Journal-World, via Associated Press LEAWOOD, Kansas — Erica Massman, a moderate Kansas Republican, refers to the building where her daughter attends fourth grade as a public school. Ms. Massman’s mother, whose politics tilt further to the right, calls it something else: a government school. “My mother, who is a Tea Party person, started saying ‘government schools’ all the time,” said Ms. Massman, recalling when she first heard the phrase around 2010. “I remember thinking, ‘Wow.’” Kansas has for years been the stage for a messy school funding fight...'

7-12-16 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Sweeney Calls State House Summit on School-Funding Plan, But Where is NJEA? Christie cancels suburban town hall meeting on his school-funding scheme to be at Trump’s side When it comes to the theater of school funding, Gov. Chris Christie has opted for two approaches, promoting his plan for equal funding either in big venues or intimate kitchen-table conversations, always with a receptive audience. State Senate President Steve Sweeney has gone for a roundtable feel, pulling together educators and experts for a more academic discussion around the room...'

Trenton Times--Sad state when few in N.J. want to teach    Editorial
It was one of the most depressing headlines we've read lately – and also one of the scariest. "Who wants to be a teacher? Not many in N.J., study says." The accompanying story, summarizing findings from the ACT college entrance exam organization, noted that the number of high school students who want to become teachers is diminishing dramatically, both nationwide and in the Garden State. Just 4 percent of nearly 2 million high school seniors who took the ACT last year said they hoped to enter the teaching field. New Jersey's numbers were similar...'

Star Ledger--Christie school aid plan 'the antithesis of fairness,' group says TRENTON — Representatives of New Jersey's major education organizations slammed Gov. Chris Christie's proposal to overhaul school funding on Monday and pledged to support an opposing plan from State Senate President Stephen Sweeney. At at forum in Trenton, the New Jersey School Boards Association, New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association, New Jersey PTA and several other groups advocated for Sweeney's plan, which he says would give every district 100 percent of the aid owed under the state's funding formula...'

7-11-16 Education in the News
The Record--Christie cancels Fair Lawn forum to campaign with Trump Governor Christie has canceled a Monday forum in Fair Lawn where he was expected to promote his new school-funding plan to instead campaign with Donald Trump. Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks confirmed that Christie will travel with the presumptive Republican nominee on Monday. Trump is scheduled to make a “speech on veterans reform” in Virginia Beach, Va...'

Star Ledger--How Christie's school funding plan could affect your property taxes TRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie's proposed school funding overhaul could produce property tax relief from as much as $4,500 for the average homeowner in Glen Ridge to a little as $5 on average in Mount Ephraim, according to state data. Across New Jersey, 368 towns would see property tax reductions including 90 municipalities that would experience at least $2,000 in average household savings, according to an analysis released by the governor's office. The relief from New Jersey's highest-in-the-nation property taxes would be widespread and substantial according to the state's calculations: A $4,262 reduction for the average homeowner in Mountain Lakes, $3,339 in Montclair and $3,268 in Mendham Township, all without any reduction in local services...'

NJ Spotlight--At NJ Spotlight Roundtable, Competing Visions of How to Fix Public-Pension System Heated discussion leaves little room for common ground; former governor says situation may need federal intervention It’s been well over a year since the New Jersey Supreme Court invalidated a key component of a bipartisan state benefits-reform law, throwing new doubt on the future of the $71 billion public-employee pension system. Yet a dispute between Gov. Chris Christie and Democratic legislative leaders about what to do in response has now dragged on into this summer...'

7-7-16 Education in the News
Star Ledger--N.J. Dems visit Edison to promote school funding reform EDISON — While some school districts in New Jersey receive as much as 150 percent in school formula aid, others — like New Brunswick, Woodbridge and Edison — only receive 85 percent, according to state Senate Democrats. State Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) doesn't believe the current formula is fair to all school districts and he is pushing for reform...'

The Record--Christie to resume push for new school funding plan in Fair Lawn Governor Christie plans to resume his push for a new school funding formula with a forum in Fair Lawn on Monday. The event will be at the Fair Lawn Senior Center at 11-05 Gardiner Road at 11 a.m. where doors will open at 10 a.m., Christie’s office announced Wednesday. Christie last month began touting a plan to replace New Jersey’s formula for funding public education. The funding method, subject to a series of landmark Supreme Court rulings, has been in place for decades. Since 2008, the state has not fully funded the current formula...'

7-6-16 Education in the News
After her son was killed, Marcia DeOliveira-Longinetti was able to get the remaining balance of his federal student loans written off. But the New Jersey state agency that had also lent her son money told her, “Your request does not meet the threshold for loan forgiveness.” Amid a haze of grief after her son’s unsolved murder last year, Marcia DeOliveira-Longinetti faced an endless list of tasks — helping the police gain access to Kevin’s phone and email; canceling his subscriptions, credit cards and bank accounts; and arranging his burial in New Jersey. And then there were the college loans. When Ms. DeOliveira-Longinetti called about his federal loans, an administrator offered condolences and assured her the balance would be written off...'
7-5-16 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Who Wins, Who Loses After Christie Wields His Line-Item Veto Pen? Millionaires and retired public workers wind up in the win column, but current public workers, businesses, and homeowners rack up a loss With overall spending going up by less than 3 percent, there isn’t much extra money to spread around in the new, $34.5 billion state budget that Gov. Chris Christie signed into law late last week...'

Star Ledger--'Devil is in the details' of Christie school aid plan UNION COUNTY — When Gov. Chris Christie revealed his "Fairness Formula" education plan that would allocate $6,559 per student in every school district, Rahway Superintendent Patricia Camp learned her school district would get an 18 percent increase in school funding. But Camp is reluctant to accept the numbers at face value. "So Christie's proposal would get us an additional $4 to $5 million in state aid," Camp said. "But how much of that would we get to use for the students versus having to give back for property taxes? The devil's in the details, as always."..'

Star Ledger--N.J. schools get first look at 2016 PARCC results TRENTON — New Jersey schools on Thursday received their first opportunity to see whether student scores improved this year on the controversial PARCC exams. The state Department of Education released preliminary student scores from this spring's math and English tests for schools and teachers to review, spokesman David Saenz said...'

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.

RELATED LINKS

FINAL REPORT OF THE NEW JERSEY TASK FORCE ON IMPROVING SPECIAL EDUCATION FOR PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS

LETTER TO LEGISLATURE, GOV. CHRISTIE AND STATE OFFICIALS

Garden State Coalition of Schools
160 W. State Street, Trenton New Jersey 08608
609-394-2828