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Garden State Coalition of Schools
Elisabeth Ginsburg, Executive Director
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9-22-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Budget Basics: How Large Is the New Jersey Budget, Really? A series that details the fundamentals of New Jersey's budget, as well as its current budget woes How large is the New Jersey budget, really? Overview The Appropriation Act approved for fiscal year 2018 is $34.7 billion. But the state spends a lot more...'

Education Week--K-12 Policy at Play as Two States Pick Governors This Year This year's N.J., Va. contests presage 2018 election battles There are 36 governor seats up for grabs next year and—based on the K-12 issues animating the 2017 contests nearing their climax in New Jersey and Virginia—testing, teacher shortages, and funding formulas are likely to remain hot topics on the campaign trail...'

Education Week-- Your One-Stop Shop for ESSA Info on Teachers, Testing, Money, and More For teachers, parents, principals, and others, the Every Student Succeeds Act is no longer on the horizon. Now it's in their schools. Yes, ESSA has officially taken effect this school year. All but four states have turned in their plans for the education law's implementation to the federal government—and some states' plans have already gotten approved by the U.S. Department of Education. But there's a decent chance you're still gathering information and learning about ESSA...'

9-21-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Poll: Tuition-Free Community College — Smart Move or Dumb Mistake? Under the ‘Murphy plan,’ students get a free ride at NJ’s two-year schools. Guadagno says the middle class will wind up footing the bill Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy announced earlier this week that, if he wins the election this fall, his goal is to make community college tuition-free across New Jersey. The proposal was part of a broader policy platform aimed at improving the state economy by boosting opportunities for women, minorities, and the disabled. But the campaign of Republican candidate Kim Guadagno also weighed in, questioning how state taxpayers would be able to take on the added financial burden...'

NJ Spotlight--Op-Ed: Newark’s Long Road to Local Control of Schools — Where Will It Lead? Even as Newark may be poised to resume local control, it's not clear how many schools will be returned and whether state operation actually has built greater local capacity to govern them Newark’s long, twisting, and arduous road to local control of its schools may be nearing its end — or maybe not. On September 13, the state Board of Education adopted a resolution to initiate the return to full local control. Under that resolution, the state Department of Education is to collaborate with the Newark Public Schools to develop a “full transition plan,” which will “establish the framework for the return to local control of the district” and the “effective date of the return.”...'

Philadelphia Inquirer (Via Associated Pres)--Editorial: THE TRUE COST OF CHARTER SCHOOLS Two studies were released last week that at first glance have nothing to do with each other. The first was a report by Research for Action, a Philadelphia educational research firm, that measured the fiscal impact of charter schools on six school districts around the state, including Philadelphia’s. RFA’s model accounts for variables like rates of charter growth, size of districts, and short- and long-term impact. The bottom line: the burgeoning charter system, which now numbers more than 130,000 students (70,000 in Philadelphia) has hit districts around the state hard. In Philadelphia, the report found, charters cost the district $8,000 per student initially and $4,000 each subsequent year, even after five years. This is the first time fiscal impact has been measured so rigorously, though the news that charters have been costly is not altogether surprising...'

Education Week--Here's What the Latest Push to Repeal Obamacare Could Mean for Schools Educators who thought Congress would leave schools alone and not pass a big health care overhaul any time soon might want to reconsider...'

9-20-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Budget Basics: How New Jersey Spends Your Money A series that details the fundamentals of New Jersey's budget, as well as its current budget woes Where does the state get its money?...'

Jersey Journal--Weehawken wired for success as 'Future-Ready' school district The Weehawken school district is well prepared for the future of education -- and it has the certifications to prove it. The small North Hudson school district became the first in Hudson County to have all its schools -- Weehawken High School, Daniel Webster and Theodore Roosevelt -- recognized as "Future-Ready" by Future Ready Schools-New Jersey for its commitment to digital education...'

NY Times--9 Back-to-School Tips for Parents and Students Between the social-media-fueled pressure, college admissions madness and bullying culture, schools today can be a minefield. We collected some education-themed Op-Eds to help guide families as they settle into the new year...'

Education Week--Q&A: One-on-One with U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has faced some big challenges in her more-than six months in office—setbacks in Congress on her school choice proposals, difficulty staffing her department, protestors greeting her at every turn, not to mention the political stickiness of serving a controversial president...'

9-19-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Murphy Calls for Free Tuition at Community College, but at What Price? Guadagno dings rival for panoply of expensive proposals, saying they’ll hit the middle class, not just millionaires and hedge-fund managers Staying on an economic message that has been the bread-and-butter of his campaign, Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Phil Murphy set a goal yesterday for New Jersey to begin offering tuition-free community college...'

Star Ledger--Phil Murphy: I'll bring tuition-free community college to N.J. UPDATE: While Murphy initially said his tuition-free plan would cost as much as $400 million, a Murphy spokesman later clarified that the most it would cost would be $200 million. TRENTON -- Democratic nominee for governor Phil Murphy on Monday formally announced a plan to offer tuition-free community college to all New Jerseyans. "We simply do not have the workforce that we need," said Murphy, standing on the sidewalk of the Trenton Junior College & School of Industrial Arts and flanked by U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J. "We can and we must open the doors of opportunity, wide, for all residents."...'

Associated Press (via Seattle Times)--Common Core used widely, despite continuing debate WASHINGTON (AP) — Most of the states that first endorsed the Common Core academic standards are still using them in some form, despite continued debate over whether they are improving student performance in reading and math...'

Education Week-- State School Chiefs Offer 'Playbook' on Improving Teacher Preparation Schools chiefs from more than a dozen states have compiled a new "playbook" on how to improve teacher preparation, which includes advice for states on reforming teacher licensure, evaluating preparation programs, and using data to follow teacher education graduates. It also points out states that are models for this work...'

9-18-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Local Control of Camden Schools Not on a Fast Track Mayor, superintendent say schools have improved since state took over the district but obstacles to autonomy remain Just days after the Christie administration moved to end state control of Newark public schools, the purpose — if not the mood — was altogether different in Camden on Friday...'

Star Ledger--Why does N.J.'s top teachers union hate Senate President Steve Sweeney so much? TRENTON -- For the last eight years, one of the biggest -- and bloodiest -- rivalries in Garden State politics has pitted Republican Gov. Chris Christie against the New Jersey Education Association. But this year, as Christie heads out the door, the state's largest teachers union is waging a dramatic battle against a different foe: Democratic state Senate President Stephen Sweeney...'

Star Ledger--Newark's back in control of its schools. Will it put kids first?    Editorial
Everyone is happy to see Newark finally regain control of its schools, more than 20 years after the state took over. It's a win for democracy and a recognition that kids in this city are making real progress...'

Education Week--Betsy DeVos Waiting for 'Right Time,' Circumstances for a Choice Initiative U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, who has spent decades advocating for private school vouchers and charter schools, came to Washington with one item at the top of her agenda: to push for a new federal school choice initiative...'

9-15-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Budget Basics: How New Jersey Spends Your Money A series that details the fundamentals of New Jersey's budget, as well as its current budget woes This is the second in a 10-part series outlining New Jersey’s fiscal fundamentals. The goal is to demystify some of the state’s financial challenges, and put them in context of the broader issues New Jersey faces. This series is also intended as a way to underscore the importance of state government in a year that will see a new governor and a new Legislature chosen by voters. Where does the state spend its money?...'

Star Ledger--'States cannot run school districts': 10 reactions to historic Newark moment NEWARK — For Newark residents, Wednesday was a day 22 years in the making. The state board's vote to begin the transition of power over the city's school district from the state to a local school board was a triumph for the hundreds of activists and politicians who have spent the last several years calling for an end to state oversight...'

9-14-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Brave New World for Newark Schools as State Cedes Control With one struggle ended, politicians, educators, advocates, and parents look to new challenges Yesterday marked the beginning of the end of New Jersey’s control of Newark’s public school system, as the state Board of Education voted unanimously to start the process for the state to cede its direct oversight after more than two decades...'

Star Ledger--After more than 20 years, state takeover of Newark schools is over NEWARK -- A new chapter is beginning for the state's largest public school system. The state Board of Education voted Wednesday to end its takeover of the Newark school district and begin the transition to return control to the locally-elected school board after 22 years. "Today it ends," said Sen. Teresa Ruiz, D-Essex. "And local control returns. And what does that mean? It means a lot of work."...'

Education Week--Coding, Robotics, Makerspaces Poised to Grow in Schools, Report Says Coding and robotics highlighted in report

Coding and the rise of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) learning are the trends to watch in K-12 educational technology this year, and schools may be expanding robotics programs and makerspaces, which are physical environments for hands-on learning, predicts a recent report from the New Media Consortium and the Consortium for School Networking. For the NMC/CoSN Horizon Report, researchers consulted with 61 education and technology experts to predict the five-year impact of emerging technologies in K-12 schools. The annual report identifies six trends driving technology adoption, six challenges facing schools and districts, and six upcoming technological developments in schools...'

9-13-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Tax Facts: Getting Beyond All the Talk About New Jersey’s Taxes More taxes, no new taxes, higher taxes, marijuana taxes, corporate taxes, tax relief, and even a new tax structure — it’s definitely an election year in the Garden State...'

NJ Spotlight--Budget Basics: How New Jersey Spends Your Money A series that details the fundamentals of New Jersey's budget, as well as its current budget woes...'

StarLedger--1 of these 21 teachers will be new N.J. 'Teacher of the Year' TRENTON -- One teacher from every county has been selected to compete to become New Jersey's next Teacher of the Year. The teachers of the year for each county, announced Tuesday by the state Department of Education, were selected by panels of administrators, teachers and parents...'

NY Times--After More Than 20 Years, Newark to Regain Control of Its Schools NEWARK — In 1995, when Marques-Aquil Lewis was in elementary school, the State of New Jersey seized control of the public schools here after a judge warned that “nepotism, cronyism and the like” had precipitated “abysmal” student performances and “failure on a very large scale.”...'

Education Week--How Virtual Reality Is Helping Train New Teachers Coming out of preservice training, many soon-to-be teachers register the same complaint: They didn't get enough practice managing a classroom. Researchers at New York's University at Buffalo, in conjunction with a local public charter school and a digital-media company, are working to help ease that transition using virtual reality...'

9-12-17 Education in the News
The Atlantic--A Simple Way to Bring Down College-Application Costs Allowing students to report their own standardized-test scores could ease some of the financial burden of the process. Shira Zar-Kessler spends a lot of time helping teenagers make schedules. As a college counselor at Match High School in Boston, she makes sure her students, many of whom will be the first in their family to go to college, take the SAT a couple of times, fill out the FAFSA, and submit their applications punctually...'

Education Week--Let Teachers Lead, and Other Ideas for Making Evaluations More Useful After a performance evaluation, many teachers are simply handed a rubric with their scores, given a brief explanation for each one, and asked if they have questions, according to the Southern Regional Educational Board, a 16-state coalition that works to advance public education. While that may comply with state regulations, it's not necessarily going to lead to better teaching...'

9-11-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Latest Teacher Evaluations Show Progress in ‘Effective’ Educators AchieveNJ also notes that too many high ratings might mean missed opportunities for ‘coaching’ and ‘training’ Back in 2012, the overwhelming passage of New Jersey’s new teacher tenure law was, in part, based on the notion that the new system would do a better job of culling out the weakest teachers, helping the struggling ones, and rewarding the strongest educators...'

NJ Spotlight--State Hosts Suicide Prevention Conference to Reduce Stigma, Save Lives Nonprofit organizations also at work on the ground in schools, camps, clubs Once upon a time, not long ago, suicide was treated like a dirty word: something not to be mentioned in polite society, certainly not around children. That attitude has started to change in recent years, as experts have recognized that friends and family members, healthcare providers, nursing-home operators, school staff, and others need to know the signs of suicidal thoughts to help save lives...'

Star Ledger--11 of the newest and newi-ish schools in New Jersey The arrival of September brings a new school for students across New Jersey. While most students will be heading to schools that have been around for years, there are schools that have been renovated, rehabbed and ones that are new...'

The Atlantic-- Why Teachers Need Their Freedom Educators must remain engaged and autonomous in order to do their jobs well and avoid burnout. My co-teacher and I met in the parking lot before school and stared into my car trunk at the costumes and props we had gathered over the weekend. We were giddy with excitement and nervous because neither of us had tried anything like this before. We also taught in the kind of school where one wrong move in the classroom could lead to disastrous results because of our students’ intense behavioral and learning needs...'

Education Week--People Are Putting Less Faith in Four-Year College Degrees, Poll Finds Americans are increasingly doubting the value of a four-year college degree, according to an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released Thursday...'

9-8-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Interactive Map: How Cuts to Federal Funds Will Hurt NJ's School Districts A reduction in federal funds would be felt by all districts; some would bear up, but others would be devastated Federal dollars fund less than 3 percent of the average New Jersey public school budget, but large cuts to federal education aid would still hurt districts, devastating some...'

NY Times—Education by the Numbers Statistics show just how profound the inequalities in America’s education system have become. There are as many American public school educations as there are students. One shared factor that affects a vast number of them, however, is race. Its impact drives the four narrative features in this week’s Education Issue. But numbers can tell their own stories too. The statistics here suggest how much has changed — and not changed — in the more than 60 years since the Supreme Court’s ruling in Brown v. Board of Education was supposed to make education equally accessible to all Americans...'

Education Week--Students' Scores Inch Up on ACT Exam Students performed slightly better on the ACT this year than they did last year, and Hispanic students notched a special victory: Their level of college-readiness rose even as more of them took the exam...'

9-7-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Business Leaders Say Find Fixes for NJ’s Financial Woes Before It’s Too Late Pointing to recent lack of substantive legislation, members of business community argue that high taxes and underfunded pension system aren’t taking a summer break...'

Star Ledger--New Jersey's 20 most expensive private schools LAWRENCEVILLE — Most people don't often think about the cost of their public schools until it comes time to pay their property taxes. Parents of private school students are reminded whenever it's time to cut a tuition check, and there are some pretty expensive schools in New Jersey, where for years the Lawrenceville School had the highest tuition in the country...'

Trenton Times—Why all parents need to know the dangers of #Roastme    Editorial
You may not have heard of the latest and one of the cruelest forms of cyberbullying taking aim at middle schoolers as the new semester begins, but chances are you will soon enough...'

NY Times--Who Benefits From the Expansion of A.P. Classes? Millions of federal and state dollars are spent each year on increasing the number of Advanced Placement classes in low-income majority black and Latino high schools. Is this a benefit to the students or a payday for the testing company?...'

NY Times--It’s 10 P.M. Do You Know What Apps Your Children Are Using? Alexander Graham Bell didn’t expect his telephone to be widely used for prank calls. And Steve Jobs was chary of children using his iThings. But social media apps are appendages for tweens and teens. It’s one way they earn social currency. Below, a guide to what parents will (or should) be anxiously monitoring during this busy back-to-school season...'

Washington Post-- Democrats list 29 ways they say Betsy DeVos is hurting public education As kids head back to school for the 2017-2018 school year, the Democratic National Committee is issuing an unusual memo listing 29 ways that it says Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is harming public education...'

9-6-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Unsafe Lead Levels Found in Drinking Water at 400 NJ Schools Results confirm lead leaching from old fixtures and pipes is extensive problem facing state’s district and charter schools Nearly 400 schools reported finding lead in at least one drinking-water outlet in their buildings, according to data compiled by the state Department of Education from mandatory testing of all districts...'

NJ Spotlight--At First Day of School, Newark Also Celebrates Soon-to-End State Control Mayor Baraka and state-appointed superintendent Cerf both acknowledge significant gains district has made in past few years In the shadows of one of the city’s most successful high schools, the beginning of the end of New Jersey’s long-contentious oversight of Newark public schools unofficially started yesterday. Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and state-appointed superintendent Chris Cerf together hosted a small gathering outside Newark’s Technology High School to both open the school year for the district and to mark what in all likelihood will be the last such opening under state control...'

Star Ledger--These 43 N.J. school districts have fewer than 200 students New Jersey has more than 1.3 million students in its K-12 public schools. Some attend schools in large districts -- Newark has more than 35,000 kids in schools. But the vast majority of N.J.'s students go to school in much smaller districts...'

New York Times-- Will the Trump Era Transform the School Lunch? ATLANTA — On a sweltering morning in July, Sonny Perdue, the newly minted secretary of agriculture, strode across the stage of a convention hall here packed with 7,000 members of the School Nutrition Association, who had gathered for their annual conference. After reminiscing about the cinnamon rolls baked by the lunchroom ladies of his youth, he delivered a rousing defense of school food-service workers who were unhappy with some of the sweeping changes made by the Obama administration...'

The Atlantic--Americans Have Given Up on Public Schools. That’s a Mistake. The current debate over public education underestimates its value—and forgets its purpose. Public schools have always occupied prime space in the excitable American imagination. For decades, if not centuries, politicians have made hay of their supposed failures and extortions. In 2004, Rod Paige, then George W. Bush’s secretary of education, called the country’s leading teachers union a “terrorist organization.”...'

Education Week--The Nation's Teaching Force Is Still Mostly White and Female Teachers tend to be white, female, and have nearly a decade and a half of experience in the classroom, according to new data released Monday by the federal government...'

9-5-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Back-to-School Special: Policy, Politics, and the Upcoming Elections Education always plays a big part in New Jersey politics, but this year it’s going to be an even more critical factor thanks to the gubernatorial race The line between education policy and education politics is often a blurry one in New Jersey, and that is never truer than at the start of a new school year...'

Jersey Journal--Kids should learn to read and write cursive    Quigley
My father had beautiful handwriting. Elegant and precise. His letters were swooping, artistically curved, and a pleasure to look at. His numbers were small, perfectly shaped and unmistakable. I guess that was required of the man responsible for the general ledger when banks still kept their records in pen and ink. My mother's penmanship was what you'd expect of a grade school teacher. Simple, spare and clear. Somehow the good handwriting gene skipped my generation...'

The Record--5 big changes for the 2017-18 school year Across New Jersey, 1.4 million public school students are returning to classrooms this week, and they — and their parents — can expect more to change than just a grade level or teacher...'

Press of Atlantic City--New Jersey's ESSA plan approved, but educators still wary over PARCC To much applause, New Jersey last month became one of only a handful of states to have its Every Student Succeeds Act education plan — the replacement for the No Child Left Behind Act — approved by the U.S. Department of Education...'

NY Times--Silicon Valley Courts Brand-Name Teachers, Raising Ethics Issues MAPLETON, N.D. — One of the tech-savviest teachers in the United States teaches third grade here at Mapleton Elementary, a public school with about 100 students in the sparsely populated plains west of Fargo. Her name is Kayla Delzer. Her third graders adore her. She teaches them to post daily on the class Twitter and Instagram accounts she set up. She remodeled her classroom based on Starbucks. And she uses apps like Seesaw, a student portfolio platform where teachers and parents may view and comment on a child’s schoolwork...'

9-1-17 Education in the News
The Record--Your child is a bully — now what? There is lots of advice aimed at the parents of children who are bullied. What about advice to parents of children who are the bullies? What should a parent do if they learn their child is the one doing the bullying?...'

Washington Post--Who was — and wasn’t — invited to Betsy DeVos’s education roundtable An office manager was invited. So were politicians, ministers and school administrators. But it’s more interesting who wasn’t invited to the education roundtable that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos attended in Tallahassee on Wednesday with the Baptist minister who convened the event. The event was convened by the Rev. R.B. Holmes, leader of the Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in the Florida capital and a prominent advocate of school choice in the state. DeVos is a longtime proponent of school choice too, saying once that traditional public education in the United States was a “dead end.”...'

8-31-17 Education in the News
Philadelphia Inquirer--Are charter schools contributing to segregation? What New Jersey can tell us The Red Bank Charter School is one of several New Jersey charter schools that have been accused of having a “segregative effect” on their school districts.

The Red Bank Charter School, one of New Jersey’s longest-running, occupies an old home joined with a former elementary school building. Its brightly decorated classrooms are filled with a mix of faces: white, Hispanic, and black students, dressed in navy blue and khaki. “What makes the school special is, we are integrated. That’s hard to do,” said Meredith Pennotti, the charter school’s principal. Critics see it differently...'

Education Week--State Superintendent Salaries: How Much Do They Make? State superintendents in recent years have been given increased responsibilities, but in many cases their salaries have not kept pace...'

8-30-17 Education in the News
The Atlantic-- What the Public Wants From Schools An annual poll on national perceptions of education reveals an emphasis on services beyond traditional learning, such as mental-health support and career education. When it comes to judging a school’s quality, what matters most? A new poll suggests the American public puts a premium on offerings outside of traditional academics, including career-focused education, developing students’ interpersonal skills, and providing after-school programs and mental-health care...'
8-29-17 Education in the News
Star Ledger--See how this city school district was able to cut suspensions in half CAMDEN -- When misbehaving students receive punishments other than out-of-school suspensions, that means they spend more time in classrooms learning. At Camden City schools during the last school year, students spent an extra 6,642 days sitting at their desks instead of out on suspensions, compared to previous school years. That's according to numbers from the district, which announced Thursday that its district-wide effort to reduce the number of suspensions is working...'

Education Week--More Americans Give Top Grades to Public Schools Americans' support for public schools has risen in the last year—across the country and across the political spectrum—but the public also wants schools to go beyond academics to provide more career and student health supports, according to the 49th annual education poll by Phi Delta Kappa International...'

Education Week--New Federal Rule Could Force States to Lower Graduation Rates Under ESSA, some states face prospect of having to lower graduation numbers A little-noticed change in the country's main federal education law could force many states to lower their high school graduation rates, a politically explosive move no state would relish. Indiana is the first state to be caught in the crosshairs of the law's new language, but other states are likely to be affected soon...'

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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