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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.
8-26-16 Education in the News
Philadelphia Inquirer--State-by-state look at ACT test-takers and composite score (AP) - A state-by-state look at the percent of high school graduates taking the ACT exam and the average composite score, according to the testing company's annual report released Wednesday...'

The Press of Atlantic City-- Muncie school district scrambles for teachers in new year MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) — Some schools in parts of Indiana are having trouble finding enough teachers as the new school year begins. Muncie Community Schools officials say the district lost 53 teachers, about 11 percent of its staff, between May and Aug. 9. It hired back 13 but is still looking for three guidance counselors...' The Star Press (http://tspne.ws/2bS0h3p ) reports that last summer, the Indiana Department of Education reported a nearly 63 percent drop in the number of licenses issued to first-time teachers...'

NY Times-- How Cuts to Public Universities Have Driven Students Out of State Declines in state support for public universities have helped reshape the geography of college admissions, forcing many students to attend universities far from home, where they pay higher, out-of-state tuition. An analysis of migration patterns among college freshmen shows the states students leave each year and where they go...'

Education Week-- Dwindling Interest Seen in SAT Subject Tests A lot of attention has been heaped on the fact that more and more students are taking the SAT or ACT. But little notice has been given to an opposite trend: the quiet slipping away of the SAT Subject Tests. Once known as the SAT IIs, and, before that, the SAT Achievement Tests, these single-subject, multiple-choice exams were long a staple of many high school students' college applications, especially to the country's more selective set of institutions. But an examination of reports from the College Board, which owns and administers the tests, shows a steep decline in the number of students taking them, especially in the past five years...'

8-25-16 Education in the News
Star Ledger--For Newark schools, strange bedfellows could help put state control to rest NEWARK — As a controversial former education commissioner under Gov. Chris Christie, Christopher Cerf was viewed with some skepticism in Newark after being named by the governor as the latest in a string of state-appointed superintendents to run New Jersey's largest school district while it remained under state control. Among those skeptics was Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, a former teacher and school principal who had worked in the district before and after the state took control in 1995 with the intention of improving chronic poor performance by students as well incompetence and corruption among district officials...'

Star Ledger--Christie's 'catastrophic' funding plan also kills preschool    Editorial
There are very few unchallenged successes in New Jersey's long effort to improve school performance, but preschool is one of them.

Calling our state-funded preschools "baby-sitting" programs, as Gov. Christie has done, is just plain ignorant. The fact is, New Jersey is among the top states in national rankings of preschool quality, and research shows the results are lasting...'

NY Times--As Students Return to School, Debate About the Amount of Homework Rages How much homework is enough? My daughter, Maya, who is entering second grade, was asked to complete homework six days a week during the summer. For a while, we tried gamely to keep up. But one day she turned to me and said, “I hate reading.” I put the assignment aside. That was my abrupt introduction to the debate over homework that is bubbling up as students across the United States head back to school...'

Education Week-- Two-Thirds of U.S. 11th Graders Now Taking ACT, While Scores Drop Slightly While the number of students taking the ACT rose significantly again this year, overall average test scores have taken a dip, according to a new report from the Iowa City, Iowa-based testing company. The decline in scores is not unexpected, say company representatives, because more states began requiring all 11th graders take the test over the last year—so a more diverse group of students is now receiving results...'

8-24-16 Education in the News
Star Ledger--Christie dogged by protests at forum on property tax 'Fairness Formula' for schools BORDENTOWN CITY — Gov. Chris Christie's sixth public appearance to promote his plan to redistribute state aid to schools was again met with strenuous protests on Tuesday. And the governor said those protests only proved there needs to be change. Even before he appeared before the 150 people crowded into the Hope Hose Humane Fire Company 1, more than 100 people, many of them teachers, ringed the firehouse protesting the governor's call for a fixed $6,599 in state aide per student. Inside the firehouse, Christie said he relished their onslaught and promised: "The day of reckoning has come."..'

Philadelphia Inquirer--School district takeovers leave communities voiceless Fourth of seven parts. In at least 20 states, lawmakers have stripped locally elected school board members of their power in impoverished, mostly minority communities, leaving parents without a voice - or a vote - in their children's education, according to a News21 state-by-state analysis of school takeovers...'

Philadelphia Inquirer--Christie school funding plan gets skeptical reception at South Jersey forum Gov. Christie got pushback Tuesday during a forum in Burlington County on his pitch to revamp New Jersey's school funding system, as he faced questions on how poor districts would absorb the cuts his proposal would necessitate. "You can't get blood from a stone," Sue Altman, an education consultant who recently moved to Camden, told the governor in Bordentown City. She questioned how Camden residents could compensate for the loss of most of their school district's state aid under Christie's plan, which the governor is promoting as a tax-relief measure. As Christie began to praise charter and Renaissance schools in Camden, Altman cut in. "Gov. Christie," she said, prompting Christie to toss the microphone at her. Charter schools serve a "different demographic" of student, she continued...'

8-23-16 Education in the News
Star Ledger--Newark schools chief calls Christie's new aid proposal 'catastrophic' NEWARK — The superintendent appointed by Gov. Chris Christie to run Newark's state-controlled school district said a 60-percent cut in aid projected under a new funding formula proposed by the governor would be "catastrophic" for the district. "I don't mind saying explicitly that a reduction in our budget of 60 percent would be catastrophic," said Superintendent Christopher Cerf, a former state education commissioner under Christie, who appointed Cerf to run the state's largest district last year...'

Star Ledger--After 21 years, local control poised to return to Newark schools next fall NEWARK — Complete local control of the Newark schools should be fully restored by the 2017-18 school year, according to a report released Monday afternoon by the Newark Education Success Board -- the 9-member panel co-created by Gov. Chris Christie and Mayor Ras Baraka last year to help guide the transition back to local control. The group's 45-page report, "Pathway to Local Control," includes an assessment of the district's current operations, and hundreds of recommendations for continued reform efforts it should implement in the lead up to, and immediately after, the state hands over the reigns to the locally-elected school advisory board and its to-be-determined choice for a superintendent...'

Star Ledger--These 4 N.J. teachers just won $10K, White House honor Four New Jersey teachers are being honored by the White House for keeping the country "on the cutting-edge" of science, mathematics and technology. The Obama administration on Monday announced the winners of the annual Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. Two teachers from grades K-6 and two teachers from grades 7-12 were honored in each state...'

The Record--Judge blocks Obama's order on transgender bathroom access A federal judge in Texas has blocked the Obama administration’s order that requires public schools to let transgender students use the bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their chosen gender identity. In a temporary injunction signed Sunday, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor ruled that the federal education law known as Title IX “is not ambiguous” about sex being defined as “the biological and anatomical differences between male and female students as determined at their birth.”..'

Education Week-- Help Wanted: Teacher-Shortage Hot Spots Teacher shortages became a major story in some states last school year, and they have continued to make headlines across the country this summer, with districts struggling to fill hundreds of openings as classes begin...'

8-22-16 Education in the News
Star Ledger--Why public pre-K programs could die under Christie plan TRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie once compared New Jersey's state-funded pre-kindergarten program to government babysitting. Now, he's proposing a divisive school funding proposal that threatens to destroy it. Christie in June introduced a major school funding overhaul that calls for redistributing the state's $9.1 billion in direct school aid equally per student. If that plan, which takes money from urban districts and gives to many suburban districts, gets approved, Christie would not protect the $653 million currently spent on full-day preschool for three and four years olds, he said earlier this month...'

The Record--Cost of potential allergy lifesaver EpiPen is skyrocketing As parents check off items on the back-to-school list, many are suffering sticker shock at the price increase for EpiPens, potentially lifesaving devices that counter an allergic reaction — and that now cost more than $600. Several factors have contributed to the pinch patients are feeling: There is no generic equivalent for EpiPens, the only competitor was taken off the market last year, and changes to high-deductible insurance plans mean much higher out-of-pocket costs for many, experts say...'

Philadelphia Inquirer--N.J. bill would require naloxone in high schools A New Jersey assemblyman plans to introduce legislation to require high schools to carry naloxone, which can reverse the effects of a heroin overdose. School nurses would administer the opioid antidote under the proposal from Atlantic County Democrat Vincent Mazzeo. Mazzeo said Friday that he did not propose the measure in response to students overdosing in school. He said the state needs to be "proactive" in preventing heroin deaths. "It's a very good tool in saving lives," Mazzeo said of naloxone, noting that emergency medical technicians and police carry it. Gov. Christie has backed initiatives to increase the availability of naloxone, known as Narcan and other trade names, in the state, including training and equipping police and first responders to administer the antidote, and providing immunity to first responders who administer it. Mazzeo's proposal, which would apply to both public and private high schools, would provide immunity to school nurses and other school employees...'

8-19-16 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Some Improvement Seen in Camden Schools: Blip or New Beginning? Camden charters and Renaissance schools — the first in New Jersey — show signs of promise, but test scores at district schools remain mired at the bottom As Camden’s schools prepare to begin a fourth year under state control, their superintendent argues that a spate of reforms has begun to improve one of New Jersey’s poorest and lowest-performing districts. “By almost every measure, our schools are better today than they were three years ago,” Superintendent Paymon Rouhanifard said in an interview...'

Philadelphia Inquirer--Bancroft Neurohealth secures $107M bond deal for move to Mount Laurel Bancroft Neurohealth secures $107M bond deal for move to Mount Laurel But it is only part of the tax-exempt organization's growth strategy, which also entails expanding its services and its reach into the community. Toni Pergolin, Bancroft's chief executive, described the new school, which will be more than three times bigger than the current building, as a potential "destination for the autism community."..'

8-18-16 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Op-Ed: In Education Olympics Politicians Promise Much but Fail at First Hurdle As the U.S. falls behind in the quality of education, politicians are doing little to get it on track, certainly not when it comes to preschool As we celebrate Team USA’s success setting world records and earning medals at the 2016 summer Olympics, we cannot escape the fact America has fallen off a world-class pace in education...'
8-17-16 Education in the News
Star Ledger--These 10 states take the most college freshmen from N.J., report says New Jersey exported more than 30,000 college freshmen in 2014, with at least one student attending a traditional four-year college in every state except Alaska and Wyoming, according to a new Chronicle of Higher Education database...'

NY Times--Taking Summer School to Get Ahead, Not Catch Up GILL, Mass. — Chase Pellegrini de Paur didn’t flunk math, and he is not trying to hone his study skills. The 15-year-old honor-roll student nevertheless spent six weeks this summer studying geometry at the prestigious Northfield Mount Hermon boarding school here. The goal was either to get credit for the class, which would let him skip ahead to higher-level courses earlier in his high school career, particularly Advanced Placement ones, or to take the course again in the fall and, already familiar with the underlying theorems, be all but guaranteed a top grade. “It’s a win-win,” said Chase, a rising sophomore at New Canaan High School in Connecticut. As the competition to get into the most selective colleges intensifies, high-achieving students are attending academic summer schools to turbocharge grade-point averages or load up on the A.P. courses seen as gateways to top-tier schools...'

Education Week-- Michigan to Take Aggressive Action, Close Failing Schools Michigan’s School Reform Office plans to make aggressive moves this coming school year to rid the state of failing schools—putting chronically low-performing schools on notice that they might be closed by next June. The number of schools expected to be shuttered isn’t known, said Natasha Baker, the director of the State School Reform Office. In 2014, more than 100 Michigan were ranked in the bottom 5 percent, but Baker cautioned against assuming that the state would close that many schools. She said that even the most aggressive school reformers have never attempted to close that many schools at one time...'

8-16-16 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--‘Other’ School-Funding Plan Promises Fast Relief, but Does It Have a Chance? Two Essex County legislators try again with a school-funding proposal, knowing the odds against it are high As two high-profile plans to remake New Jersey’s school funding have yet to move in the Legislature, backers of a third proposal that would bring more immediate change are trying to get renewed attention. State Assemblywoman Mila Jasey and Assemblyman John McKeon, both Essex County Democrats, have sponsored a bill they said would bring immediate relief to potentially more than 140 districts that are both underfunded by the state and that tax their residents at well more than the average rates...'

NJ Spotlight--Opinion: It’s Past Time for Comprehensive Approach to Protect Children from Lead There is a sense that lead exposure is an issue that has been resolved. But while significant improvements have been made, they are not enough If articles and reports on lead exposure and drinking water has dwindled? Think back to the Flint, MI, debacle and how it resounded across the country and struck a chord here in New Jersey...'

Star Ledger--Liberal white moms drive testing opt-out movement, study says The typical "opt-out" activist is a highly-educated, white and politically liberal mother from a family earning significantly more than the national average, according to a new national study by Columbia University. And nearly 45 percent of people who support the movement are teachers or educators, the online survey found. The results come from a survey of nearly 1,650 people from 47 states conducted between January and March. Respondents were recruited online through links on the webpages and social media channels of groups that support students skipping standardized testing...'

Cherry Hill Gazette--Bill would put opiate antidote in NJ high schools Addiction awareness advocate Patty DiRenzo passes out cards in Camden to educate people about New Jersey's "Good Samaritan" law. The law allows drug users who witness an overdose to call 911 without fear or being arrested. Phaedra Trethan Nurses and other designated faculty would carry a heroin and opiate antidote in all New Jersey schools if an Atlantic County legislator's bill becomes law...'

8-15-16 Education in the News
Asbury Park Press--School funding: Will Christie plan hurt NJ? Gov. Chris Christie has been touting his controversial new school-funding proposal as a "Fairness Formula," a mechanism for treating every New Jersey public school student exactly the same. What is clearer to education policymakers: His plan would set the Garden State apart from much of the nation. Some contend it would put New Jersey in reverse...'

The Record--N.J.’s school-funding puzzle: Study shows aid isn’t a cure-all, but defenders see progress The 31 school districts that receive billions of dollars in extra court-ordered state education aid each year have not narrowed the gap with the rest of the state when it comes to test scores and college attendance, according to a Record analysis, but defenders of the system caution that those numbers don’t tell the full story about gains the schools have made and the daunting obstacles they face. In fact, they say, conditions for the state’s poorest children would be much more dire without the money...'

Star Ledger--How one school is giving students a head start at becoming teachers MONROE TWP. — Students with big dreams of standing in front of a classroom and helping shape the minds of the next generation now have a better chance at making that happen. Administrators from Rowan University and Williamstown High School are teaming up, starting this fall, to offer high school students a more direct path to becoming a teacher...'

Education Week-- Testing Opt-Out Advocates Are White, Well-Educated, and Well-Off, Survey Says A new survey of those involved in the assessment opt-out movement finds that typical participants are white, well-educated, and well-off, and very worried about the use of standardized test scores in teacher evaluations. "Who Opts Out and Why? Results From a National Survey on Opting Out of Standardized Tests" was published earlier this week by Oren Pizmony-Levy, an assistant professor at Teachers College, Columbia University, and Teachers College research associate Nancy Green Saraisky...'

Philadelphia Inquirer—Op-Ed-- Commentary: Can Real World and Education World get along? I live in two worlds. In one of them, Education World, there are angry and divisive battles over our public schools. But in the other one, known colloquially as the Real World, there's an enormous degree of consensus about them...'

8-11-16 Education in the News
NY Times--Earlier Date for College Financial Aid Filing As college-bound students prepare for a new school year, they should be aware of a new date that’s important for future financial aid: Oct. 1. That’s the new, earlier date after which students can file the Fafsa, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The infamous form is used to calculate how much students and their families must contribute to the cost of college, and how much help they will get in the form of grants, scholarships and loans. Students seeking financial aid must file the form, used by most states and colleges as the gateway to financial aid, each year...'

Washington Post--Bipartisan group of state lawmakers calls for big changes to improve U.S. public schools What will it take for U.S. schools to improve — not incrementally, but dramatically? That’s the question that a bipartisan group of state lawmakers from around the country set out to answer two years ago, when they embarked on a study of the world’s highest-performing school systems. They compiled their answers in a report released Tuesday at the annual summit of the National Conference of State Legislatures. “The bad news is most state education systems are falling dangerously behind the world in a number of international comparisons,” says the report. “The good news is, by studying these other high-performing systems, we are discovering what seems to work.”..'

8-10-16 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Profile: Giving More to Children in Struggling Newark Neighborhoods Twenty years after founding Project Re-Direct in Newark to give more opportunities to underserved children, Sharon Berry is adding a high-tech element Who she is: Sharon Berry is the founder and unsalaried president of Project Re-Direct Youth and Family Services, which this year marks its 20th anniversary helping children in struggling Newark neighborhoods to accelerate their education, enhance their social skills, and build their physical and mental health...'

The Press of Atlantic City--Did You Know? A School's Design Can Improve Academic Success (StatePoint) In recent years, policymakers have focused on how to improve student performance, scrutinizing factors like school day start times and the nutritional value of school-provided meals. However, the basic design and configuration of schools and classrooms can also have a major impact on student success, and this fact is now getting its due attention. The classroom environment can impact a child’s academic progress by as much as 25 percent in one year, according to a UK study at the University of Salford...'

The Record--Pharma companies get tax breaks to locate in N.J. Allergan Sales, the U.S. subsidiary of the Ireland-based pharmaceutical giant, was approved Tuesday for state tax breaks of $58.2 million over 10 years to consolidate its four New Jersey locations into one site in Madison. Also Tuesday, a Westchester County-based drug testing company was approved for a $3.7 million state tax break to relocate to Paramus. The state Economic Development Authority approved Allergan's application for Grow NJ tax breaks that it said would keep 1,019 workers in the state, and add 300 full-time jobs. Allergan has operations in Parsippany, Jersey City, Rockaway and Bridgewater. It wants to consolidate those operations, and is considering two sites: a 431,500-square-foot site in Madison, or a 344,280-square-foot location in Lansdale, Pa...'

NY Times--Facebook Helps Develop Software That Puts Students in Charge of Their Lesson Plans Facebook is out to upend the traditional student-teacher relationship. On Tuesday, Facebook and Summit Public Schools, a nonprofit charter school network with headquarters in Silicon Valley, announced that nearly 120 schools planned this fall to introduce a free student-directed learning system developed jointly by the social network and the charter schools...'

8-9-16 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Senate President’s Failure to Act On Pension Amendment Enrages Public Unions Sweeney says voters will be more likely to approve the question once the dispute about transportation funding is resolved New Jersey’s teachers are promising to have a long memory after Senate President Stephen Sweeney didn’t clear the way yesterday to put a proposed constitutional amendment to boost the public-employee pension before voters this fall. Yesterday was the final deadline to get the issue on the ballot this year...'

NJ Spotlight--State Allows Newark to Measure Academic Achievements in New Ways Inching toward restoration of local control of schools, Newark receives waiver from standard QSACs The Christie administration took some big steps in the past week to return the state-run Newark public schools to local control, in ways both seen and unseen. One notable step was the State Board of Education’s vote last Wednesday to return incremental authority to the local community over certain personnel powers. It was the third of five major categories now moved to local hands, continuing Gov. Chris Christie’s pledge to move away from the state’s 22-year control of the state’s largest school district. Less noticed, and maybe more notable, was the administration’s actions on the two remaining — and most critical — categories: instruction and governance...'

Star Ledger--How N.J. high school graduation requirements compare to 6 other states TRENTON — New Jersey last week chose the PARCC exams as its graduation test for the Class of 2021, but passing the math and English tests isn't all students will need to do to graduate. The state, which had an 89.7 percent graduation rate in 2015, also requires students to complete a minimum list of credits for graduation, including four courses in English and three years in math among others. New Jersey's graduation standards are more rigorous than many states, a majority of which don't have a graduation test. However, it's requirements aren't entirely different than some of its peer states in the Northeast. Here is a look at how many courses neighboring states require in math and English and whether they have graduation exams, according to the Education Commission of the States, a non-profit organization that tracks state policy...'

Washington Post--Teacher: I’ll ask a pilot how to fly a plane, not a CEO. Why won’t policymakers listen to educators? Back when the No Child Left Behind K-12 education law was being written some 15 years ago, the authors laid out an entire new accountability system for all public schools in the country without asking a single teacher for help. Since then, many teachers still feel that education policymakers pay them lip service at best and don’t really care — or trust — what they think about how to improve schools for all children. Here’s a post that speaks to this problem, by Ashley Lamb-Sinclair, the 2016 Kentucky Teacher of the Year...'

8-8-16 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Court Challenge Likely for New HS Graduation Requirements Tied to PARCC Testing New rules supposed to take effect in 2021 but critics, including ACLU, charge they violate state law The Christie administration withstood months, if not years, of debate to finally see the State Board of Education yesterday approve new high school graduation requirements tied to the state’s PARCC testing. Now, long before the requirements become fully effective, the next argument may be in a courtroom...'

Star Ledger--Are kids taking too many tests? Feds launch $9M contest for new ideas WASHINGTON — New Jersey and other states will be eligible for $9 million in federal funding to study how to improve or reduce the number of standardized tests students take each year, White House officials announced Friday. The "Enhanced Assessment Grants" competition is the second step in the Obama administration's efforts to limit testing in public schools in response to parents and teachers who say standardized exams are taking up too much of the school year...'

The Record--Christie touts public school funding proposal in Upper Saddle River Governor Christie continued his public pitch for support of a controversial school-funding plan Friday, lobbying a small group of business leaders in Upper Saddle River to pressure Democrats to put the measure up for a vote. Speaking for more than an hour at Triangle Manufacturing off Rt. 17, Christie warned that the window is closing on property tax relief in New Jersey, and his plan for flat funding for all public school students is the only substantive way to cut tax bills...'

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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
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