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5-26-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Some Unexpected Drama for Staid, State Board of Education Naming two new members to the panel kicks up some legislative dust as Senators want to interview replacements Usually an uneventful process, the appointment of members to the state Board of Education has taken on some political drama under Gov. Chris Christie, who has named a majority of the panel in his seven years. Now, a new twist — and some mystery — has arisen in the governor’s last year, as his latest round of appointments has drawn renewed attention to the board and has set in motion a political dance with the Senate’s Democratic leadership...'

Jersey Journal--Taxpayer-funded teachers union gigs at center of legal dispute JERSEY CITY -- A conservative watchdog and the Jersey City teachers union are set to face off in court tomorrow over the school district's policy allowing two employees to work full-time for their union on the taxpayers' dime...'

Associated Press/Washington Post (via Philadelphia Inquirer)--Analysis: Five startling things Betsy DeVos told Congress Education Secretary Betsy DeVos (left), accompanied by Education Department Budget Service Director Erica Navarro, looks over her notes Wednesday on Capitol Hill. Does this sound familiar? Betsy DeVos went to Capitol Hill to testify before U.S. lawmakers. She didn't answer a lot of direct questions and engaged in some contentious debates with some members. That happened in January when she went before the Senate Education Committee for her confirmation hearing, during which she said schools needed guns to protect against grizzly bears. This time, though, she didn't talk about guns, but she did say that states should have the right to decide whether private schools that accept publicly funded voucher students should be allowed to discriminate against students for whatever reason they want...'

Education Week--Can a Career Tech Ed. School Be Too Popular? Elite Career-Tech-Ed. Programs Worry About Limiting Access Highlands, N.J. On a chilly spring morning, 18 teenagers clamber aboard a 65-foot research vessel and become marine scientists. In big blue nets, they haul in an array of sparkling, spiny, wiggly sea creatures. They identify each one, carefully measure it, and toss it back into the water. The data they collect will help state officials monitor ocean life and oversee commercial fishing licenses. It's the chance of a lifetime, but it's also a regular part of students' experience at their elite public high school, the Marine Academy of Science and Technology. It's a full-time career-and-technical-education program offered by a countywide vocational district...'

5-25-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--10.5% Returns for NJ Public Pension System, Big Turnaround from Last Year Investment council maintains strategy, continues to cut back hedge funds, waits to see if Legislature will take up governor’s Lottery proposal With financial returns on state investments now rising to over 10 percent for the current fiscal year, the panel that sets investment policy for New Jersey’s beleaguered public-employee pension system has opted to stick with its current investing strategy...'

NJ Spotlight--Newark Parents’ LIFO Challenge Back in Court on Appeal Summarily dismissed last month, the appeal turns on the plaintiffs’ allegation that judge didn’t give ‘adequate consideration to harm … being done’ A month after a state judge dismissed a challenge to the law for what she said was a lack of evidence, the plaintiffs taking on the last-in-first-out seniority rules for teachers in Newark yesterday filed to appeal the decision...'

Star Ledger--How to get your kid a seat in one of N.J.'s hardest-to-get-into high schools

This story is part of "N.J.'s hardest-to-get-into high schools," an NJ Advance Media special report on the rise of specialized public high schools for top students around the state. Long before they start dreaming about applying to college, many New Jersey middle school students are striving to get into some of the state's best high schools. Over the last few decades, the number of county-run specialized high schools for high-achieving students has spiked in New Jersey. Nearly every county in the state now offers specialized programs and schools run by the country vocational-technical school districts...'

Associated Press (via Philadelphia Inquirer) DeVos won’t say whether she’d withhold federal funds from private schools that discriminate WASHINGTON — Education Secretary Betsy DeVos refused to say Wednesday whether she would block private schools that discriminate against LGBT students from receiving federal dollars, explaining that she believes states should have the flexibility to design voucher programs and that parents should be able to choose schools that best fit their children's needs. DeVos returned frequently to the theme of what she called a need for more local control in her first appearance before Congress since her rocky confirmation hearing in January...'

Education Week--DeVos, Democrats Wage War Over Budget Cuts, Students' Rights Under Vouchers Democrats sparred with U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos about the budget proposal from President Donald Trump that would direct $1.4 billion to expand school choice and sharply questioning her commitment to protecting students with federal vouchers from discrimination during a House subcommittee hearing Tuesday. Meanwhile, Republicans questioned the education secretary more gently, focusing on special education and applauding the fiscal 2018 budget plan's emphasis on new resources for school choice...'

5-24-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--How Democratic, Republican Candidates Say They'd Ease NJ’s Fiscal Crisis School funding and tax phase-outs, pension benefits and closing loopholes — here’s a look at where this year’s gubernatorial hopefuls stake their claims As might be expected, the Democratic and Republican candidates in this year’s gubernatorial primaries have very different views about how to solve the state’s biggest fiscal dilemmas. What might be less expected, however, are the differences and disagreements among candidates of the same party...'

Star Ledger--The uncomfortable truth about race in N.J.'s top high schools ROCKAWAY -- Daniel Zhao walked into the summer orientation program at his new high school four years ago and said he was immediately struck by the faces looking backing at him. Nearly all of them were Asian, like him. "I noticed, definitely, from the very first day. It was overwhelmingly Indian and Chinese," said Zhao, the oldest son of Chinese immigrants...'

Washington Post (via Philadelphia Inquirer)--Are charter schools widening racial divides?
Max Becherer / For The Washington Post   Updated: May 23, 2017 — 9:27 AM EDT

VACHERIE, La. — At the new public charter school in this Mississippi River town, nearly all students are African-American. Parents seem unconcerned about that. They just hope their children will get a better education. "I wanted my girls to soar higher," said Alfreda Cooper, who is black and has two daughters at Greater Grace Charter Academy. Three hours up the road, students at Delta Charter School in Concordia Parish are overwhelmingly white, even though the surrounding community is far more mixed...'

Education Week--rump Budget Would Slash Education Dept. Spending, Boost School Choice President Donald Trump's full budget proposal for the U.S. Department of Education, released on Tuesday, includes big shifts in funding priorities and makes cuts to spending for teacher development, after-school enrichment, and career and technical education, while ramping up investments in school choice. A $1 billion cash infusion for Title I's services for needy children would be earmarked as grants designed to promote public school choice, instead of going out by traditional formulas to school districts. These would be called Furthering Options for Children to Unlock Success (FOCUS) grants, according to a summary of the department's budget, that would provide money to school districts using weighted student funding formulas and open enrollment policies...'

5-23-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Garden State Children Continue to Show Social Welfare Gains But advocates argue repeal of Obamacare will damage kids, especially poor black and Hispanic ones, who still lag behind white children New Jersey children continue to make progress on health and other social-welfare indicators, according to a new report by child advocates. They challenged their colleagues to use the data to fight potential cuts to federal funding and healthcare programs...'

Star Ledger--Inside the high-pressure world of N.J.'s hardest-to-get-into high schools SCOTCH PLAINS -- Walk into Union County Magnet High School in Scotch Plains and one of the first rooms you see off the lobby is the new "maker space." The school gutted its old multi-media room and filled it with 3-D printers, robotics equipment and tens of thousands of dollars in high-tech machinery for its engineering students to play with. Across the courtyard, students in the neighboring Academy for Information Technology are hunkered down over a bank of computers in a student-run "Hack Shack," where they take turns teaching each other everything from the latest Java coding tricks to the best way to crimp an ethernet cord...'

Jersey Journal--Bill would divert Jersey City abatement revenue to schools JERSEY CITY -- The public-school district would receive revenue from tax-abated properties under a measure up for initial approval by the City Council this week. Jersey City has faced growing criticism over its aggressive use of tax abatements, which provide no funding for its 28,000-student school district...'

The Record--N.J. authorities say parents should resist urge to show up at schools in a crisis It has become part of being a parent. Automated texts and phone calls inform of a threat to a child’s school, maybe a lockdown or an evacuation. When a child is in danger — perceived or real — a parent’s instincts tend to kick in: Get there. Get him out. Keep him safe. “It triggers whatever base reaction is there and has the danger of trumping reason [and] the better response,” said Mark Hatton, a Ridgewood psychologist...'

NPR--Why It's So Hard To Know Whether School Choice Is Working Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has been a passionate proponent of expanding school choice, including private school vouchers and charter schools, and she has the clear backing of President Trump. But does the research justify her enthusiasm?...'

Education Week--In Some States, ESSA Means More Powers for Local School Boards The Every Student Succeeds Act hands states plenty of flexibility to define school success, figure out new ways to intervene in their worst-performing schools, and set academic priorities for schools. But some states have decided to punt these sorts of decisions back to local school boards in the coming years...'

5-22-17 Education in the News
Philadelphia Inquirer--Meet the students graduating from high school and college at the same time These Gloucester County students didn’t set out to earn a college degree at the same time as their high school diploma. Not at first, anyway. They started out taking a few credits -- maybe a high school course that counted for college credit, or an elective college course that wasn’t offered at the high school. As they racked up the credits, they began to realize how close they were to an extraordinary goal: Graduating from high school and community college at the same time...'

Associated Press (via Press of Atlantic City)--New Jersey School Boards Association elects new president WEST WINDSOR, N.J. (AP) — The New Jersey School Boards Association has a new leader. Daniel Sinclair was elected to a two-year term as the association's president during its semi-annual meeting held Saturday at Mercer County Community College in West Windsor...'

NY Times--It Was Hard This Year to Keep Politics Out of High School Yearbooks A high school yearbook is a keepsake. Like an Instagram filter, it’s meant to bathe recent memories in the warm, soft-focus glow of nostalgia. As an object, it evokes affection and community; you hope to show it to your children and grandchildren someday. A yearbook isn’t supposed to be divisive. So how to commemorate a school year that coincided with a meltdown in decorum in American politics?...'

NY Times--Bringing the Dream of an Elite College to Rural Students SAMPSON COUNTY, N.C. — The first time Nyreke Peters met the new college adviser at his rural high school, he was skeptical. Other adults at Hobbton High School spoke with the same Southern accent and shared an easygoing familiarity that came from having gone to the same schools and having spent their lives in the same county. The adviser, Emily Hadley, was a determined recent college graduate from New Hampshire who seemed bizarrely interested in his future and pressed him to think beyond the confines of the sweet potato and hog farms...'

Education Week--Children Must Be Taught to Collaborate, Studies Say Researchers explore group work in class At its best, collaboration in the classroom can help students think more deeply and creatively about a subject and develop more empathy for others' perspectives. At its worst, group tasks can deteriorate into awkward silences, arguments—or frustration for the one child who ends up doing everyone else's work. Now, as the teaching technique gains new prominence in state standards, researchers and educators are working to understand how to help students gain the skills needed to learn and work in groups...'

5-19-17 Education in the News
Washington Post (via Philadelphia Inquirer)-- Trump's first full education budget: Deep cuts to public school programs in pursuit of school choice Funding for college work-study programs would be cut in half, public-service loan forgiveness would end and hundreds of millions of dollars that public schools could use for mental health, advanced coursework and other services would vanish under a Trump administration plan to cut $10.6 billion from federal education initiatives, according to budget documents obtained by the Washington Post. The administration would channel part of the savings into its top priority: school choice. It seeks to spend about $400 million to expand charter schools and vouchers for private and religious schools, and another $1 billion to push public schools to adopt choice-friendly policies...'

Education Week--70,000 Students With Disabilities Secluded, Restrained in School But Rates Can Vary Widely From District to District One out of every 100 special education students was restrained by school personnel or secluded in school from his or her peers in the 2013-14 school year, presumably to quell behavior that teachers considered disruptive or dangerous...'

5-18-17 Education in the News
Star Ledger--The 50 school districts that spend the most per student in N.J. Education is not cheap. There are teacher salaries and benefits, classroom support, books and supplies, administrative salaries and building construction and maintenance. New Jersey school districts last year spent on average $20,385 per student to educate their students. Statewide, per-pupil costs ranged from a high of $60,129 in one small district, to $10,181 for a Jersey City charter school with 310 students...'

Paterson Press--Former state education chief takes job in Paterson The state is paying the tab for David Hespe's $94-an-hour, part-time post, while the superintendent's position remains uncertain. New Jersey’s former education commissioner, David Hespe, started working this month in the Paterson school district as a $94-per-hour, part-time special assistant, officials said. The state Education Department said Hespe would provide the Paterson district with “technical assistance,” but officials did not elaborate on what specific duties the former commissioner would perform...'

Education Week--Trump Budget Reported to Use Title I, Research Aid to Push Choice President Donald Trump's full education budget proposal for fiscal 2018 would make notable cuts to the U.S. Department of Education, and leverage existing programs for disadvantaged students and K-12 innovation to promote school choice, the Washington Post reported Wednesday. Trump's full education funding blueprint would cut $9.2 billion, or 13.6 percent, from the Education Department's current $68 billion budget, said the report, based on still-unreleased budget documents. Also, the spending plan calls for the creation of a new, $1 billion federal grant program under Title I to allow students to take federal, state, and local dollars to their public school of choice. That money would be added to the $15.9 billion Title I receives this budget year, fiscal 2017— that current funding is not "portable" to public schools of choice and goes out by formula...'

5-17-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--This Year’s Budget Blunder: Projected $527M Shortfall Paying off Homestead tax-relief credits next fiscal year, tapping Clean Energy Fund cited as ways administration plans on finding revenue to close expected gap Gov. Chris Christie’s administration is once again scrambling to close a projected budget shortfall in the final weeks of the state’s fiscal year, this time a $527 million gap that will be fixed in part by shifting the pain to municipal governments...'

Education Week--How Trump's Altered the Landscape for Education Advocates Education advocates in Washington might not always be on the same page when it comes to policy, but there’s at least one thing the vast majority agree on: The Trump administration—buttressed by a Republican Congress—is unlike anything they’ve ever had to contend with before...'

Education Week--Can Teacher Residencies Help With Shortages? Scholars at AERA take up the topic There are two ways to prevent a teacher shortage in American schools: Widen the pipeline into the profession, or plug the leaky bucket of young teachers leaving the field. At the American Educational Research Association meeting here last month, academic researchers debated ways to use comprehensive teacher residencies to both recruit and retain teachers...'

5-16-17 Education in the News
Associated Press (via Philadelphia Inquirer)--Fidget spinners, the hit toy that spun out of nowhere NEW YORK (AP) - Stores can't keep them in stock. Parents are scrambling to find them. And some schools have banned them. Fidget spinners, the hit toy that spun out of nowhere The mania for fidget spinners - the 3-inch twirling gadgets taking over classrooms and cubicles - is unlike many other toy crazes. They're not made by a major company, timed for the holiday season, or promoted in TV commercials. They're more easily found at gas stations or 7-Eleven than at big toy chains. "It just took off," says Richard Gottlieb, a consultant at Global Toy Experts in New York...'

Education Week-- Most Americans Don't Know Much About School Choice. But Many Like It. Most Americans admit they don't know that much about charter schools and school vouchers, but many support these policies anyway, according to a new survey by AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Although earlier surveys have found similar results (here's one I wrote about in 2014 by PDK/Gallup), these findings are particularly interesting now, given how much attention school choice has received under President Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos...'

5-15-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Democratic Hopefuls Dismiss Scheme to Funnel Lottery Profits into Pensions Legislative leaders, unions also argue that Christie’s Lottery plan will go nowhere if it requires more givebacks from public-employee unions Gov. Chris Christie’s administration has finally detailed how he plans to have the New Jersey Lottery help ease some of the financial burden on the state’s beleaguered public-employee pension system...'

Star Ledger--What you need to know about Christie plan to slash N.J. pension debt with lottery cash TRENTON -- Gov. Chris Christie's administration on Thursday released long-awaited details of its proposal to use state lottery proceeds to boost the government worker pension fund. In a briefing with reporters, the state treasurer emphasized the impact of the proposal, saying it said would take some of the burden off the state budget to come up with more and more money each year and will do more for improve the shaky pension fund than merely contributing the full amount recommended by actuaries...'

Star Ledger--N.J. lawmaker: School funding reform must include pre-K expansion    Opinion
New Jersey has been a national leader in providing high-quality preschool education. Nineteen years after the New Jersey Supreme Court required that all 3- and 4-year-olds in the highest-poverty school districts receive it -- including those in my home city of Newark -- we are regarded as a model for producing lasting results...'

Associated Press (via Philadelphia Inquirer)-- Changes in Medicaid distributions worry school districts For school districts still getting their financial footing after the Great Recession, the Medicaid changes being advanced as part of the health care overhaul are sounding familiar alarms. Administrators say programming and services even beyond those that receive funding from the state-federal health care program could be at risk should Congress follow through with plans to change the way Medicaid is distributed...'

Associated Press (via Press of Atlantic City) Group of wealthy school choice backers donate in New Jersey TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A loose-knit group that includes some of the country's wealthiest people has underwritten the political push for school choice around the country over the last two decades, including in New Jersey...'

NY Times--How Google Took Over the Classroom The tech giant is transforming public education with low-cost laptops and free apps. But schools may be giving Google more than they are getting. CHICAGO — The sixth graders at Newton Bateman, a public elementary school here with a classic red brick facade, know the Google drill...'

NY Times--500 Students in a One-Room School: Fallout of New Jersey’s Funding Woes A view of conjoined elementary school classrooms at the Freehold Learning Center in Freehold, N.J. The district does not have the money to move students into traditional closed classrooms. Credit Bryan Anselm for The New York Times FREEHOLD BOROUGH, N.J. — At an elementary school in Freehold, over 500 students share a vast, open space where bookshelves, whiteboards, storage cubbies and other pieces of furniture are the only boundaries between classrooms...'

NPR--The Promise And Peril Of School Vouchers Wendy Robinson wants to make one thing very clear. As the long-serving superintendent of Fort Wayne public schools, Indiana's largest district, she is not afraid of competition from private schools. "We've been talking choice in this community and in this school system for almost 40 years," Robinson says...'

5-12-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Opinion: A New Jersey Voter’s Guide to State Tax Policy The focus of New Jersey’s tax policy should be to avoid being notably uncompetitive, particularly within our region Every four years, like a scene from “Groundhog Day,” candidates for New Jersey governor serve up a warmed-over menu of policy platitudes. My favorites concern taxes. No issue that touches so many people invites more political obfuscation, misrepresentation, and outright nonsense. Here are a few observations to help you make sense of it all:...'

Star Ledger--In school funding fight, the man to back is Sweeney    Editorial
The school funding fight is quickly coming to a head, with Senate President Stephen Sweeney threatening to shut down state government next month.

He's saying he'll block a budget that doesn't fix the inequities in the formula the Legislature uses to fund schools - raising the ante for his pending showdown with Speaker Vincent Prieto, the most powerful man in the Assembly...'

The Record--Christie administration details plan to use lottery to shore up pensions Gov. Chris Christie's administration revealed details Thursday of its one-of-a-kind plan to use the state lottery to shore up its financially troubled public employee pension system. Lawmakers, unions and the news media have been eager to learn the details of his plan ever since he outlined it during his budget speech in February...'

The Atlantic--Broken Technology Hurts Democracy … and fixing both begins in American schools. American democracy is in crisis. Part of that crisis has to do with technology. But there’s another, often overlooked, factor at play...'

5-11-17 Education in the News
The Record--State legislators rail against governor, applaud 'grass-roots' campaign for fair school funding CLIFTON – Legislators called to a public forum Wednesday night railed against Gov. Chris Christie and criticized the New Jersey Department of Education over the state’s school funding policies. The 34th Legislative District representatives – Senator Nia Gill, Assemblywoman Sheila Oliver and Assemblyman Thomas Giblin, all Democrats – said they were compelled to participate in the meeting after Clifton taxpayers, students and district officials barraged their offices with emails, letters and postcards demanding action. The collective message from Cliftonites was simple: the city’s school system had been underfunded $50 million per year since 2008 or a total of nearly half a billion dollars...'

Education Week--ESSA, School Choice Firing Up State Legislatures Spurred on by new flexibility under the Every Student Succeeds Act and revenue shortfalls, and amid one-party control in most states, legislators this year tackled longstanding questions over who should be in charge of education policy, how to better spend K-12 dollars, and what school success should look like. In state after state, lawmakers sought to overhaul school funding formulas, rearrange accountability systems, and expand school choice options like vouchers, education savings accounts, and the charter school sector...'

5-10-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Leading GOP Candidates for Governor Come Out Swinging, Pull No Punches At first of two Republican debates, Guadagno and Ciattarelli stake out their territories, try to flesh out their visions The two major Republican candidates for governor didn’t pull punches as they sparred during their first of two debates, disagreeing often and making sure to say they disagree with the unpopular Gov. Chris Christie...'

Star Ledger--The battle over teacher seniority in N.J. has just begun    Editorial
The Newark parents who sued, arguing that forcing school districts to prioritize seniority over teacher talent hurts their kids, just lost their case in court. That's a real blow to students, who don't have a special interest union.

But make no mistake: this fight is far from over. Their families can appeal, of course, and while it may be a long shot to argue that the state constitution should decide this, the issue is in no way settled - because changing the policy itself is essential...'

The Record--School district refuses to fund growth of charter run by Bergen County firm iLearn School expansion opposed by Clifton district Already under fire for alleged fraud in Union County, a Bergen County nonprofit that manages a rapidly growing chain of charter schools is now facing a rebellion closer to home. The Clifton Board of Education has put the state Department of Education on notice that it will not budget an additional $2 million to cover the cost of sending more students to a charter managed by iLearn Schools...'

Education Week--Trump Orders Hard Look at Federal Reach on K-12 Policy Commission to identify threats to local control The order directs DeVos to review, tweak, and even repeal regulations and guidance issued by the U.S. Department of Education recently, as well as identify places where the federal government has overstepped its legal authority. Recently, "too many in Washington have advanced top-down mandates that take away autonomy and limit the options available to educators, administrators, and parents," said Rob Goad, a senior Education Department aide, on a call with reporters last month. The executive order puts "an end to this overreach, ensuring that states and localities are free to make educational decisions," he added...'

5-9-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Leading GOP Candidates for Governor Come Out Swinging, Pull No Punches At first of two Republican debates, Guadagno and Ciattarelli stake out their territories, try to flesh out their visions The two major Republican candidates for governor didn’t pull punches as they sparred during their first of two debates, disagreeing often and making sure to say they disagree with the unpopular Gov. Chris Christie...'

Star Ledger--The battle over teacher seniority in N.J. has just begun    Editorial
The Newark parents who sued, arguing that forcing school districts to prioritize seniority over teacher talent hurts their kids, just lost their case in court. That's a real blow to students, who don't have a special interest union.

But make no mistake: this fight is far from over. Their families can appeal, of course, and while it may be a long shot to argue that the state constitution should decide this, the issue is in no way settled - because changing the policy itself is essential...'

The Record--School district refuses to fund growth of charter run by Bergen County firm iLearn School expansion opposed by Clifton district Already under fire for alleged fraud in Union County, a Bergen County nonprofit that manages a rapidly growing chain of charter schools is now facing a rebellion closer to home...'

Education Week--Trump Orders Hard Look at Federal Reach on K-12 Policy Commission to identify threats to local control The order directs DeVos to review, tweak, and even repeal regulations and guidance issued by the U.S. Department of Education recently, as well as identify places where the federal government has overstepped its legal authority...'

5-8-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Top Dem wants $125M more for N.J. schools in new plan TRENTON -- Setting the stage for a potential clash between New Jersey's two most powerful Democratic state lawmakers, Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto won't back Senate President Stephen Sweeney's school funding proposal and has developed his own plan to pursue in the state Legislature, he said Saturday. Prieto (D-Hudson), in an exclusive interview with NJ Advance Media, called the proposal from Sweeney (D-Gloucester) unrealistic and for the first time unveiled details of his plan to address school aid, a complicated and controversial topic that has long vexed state lawmakers...'

NY Times--A Little-Noticed Target in the House Health Bill: Special Education WASHINGTON — While House Republicans lined up votes Wednesday for a Thursday showdown over their bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Vickie Glenn sat in her Murphysboro, Ill., office and prayed for it to fail. Ms. Glenn, a Medicaid coordinator for Tri-County Special Education, an Illinois cooperative that helps more than 20 school districts deliver special education services to students, was worried about an issue that few in Congress were discussing: how the new American Health Care Act, with its deep cuts to Medicaid, would affect her 2,500 students...'

Education Week-- Amazon, Apple, Google, and Microsoft Battle for K-12 Market, and Loyalties of Educators Dominant Players Revamp School Options for Digital Devices, Operating Systems, and Most Recently, Procurement If there’s a common thread that unites the rival technology giants Apple, Google, and Microsoft in the education market, it’s this: They’re big. The three major tech companies—along with Amazon, a relatively new player on the scene—go head-to-head in vying for big chunks of school business, most notably in sales of devices and operating systems, and they try to forge their own paths in others. At the same time, all of them are best known for their work outside education, through their sales to consumers, businesses, or both...'

5-5-17 Education in the News
NPR--Pre-K: Decades Worth Of Studies, One Strong Message Some of the nation's top researchers who've spent their careers studying early childhood education recently got together in Washington with one goal in mind: to cut through the fog of studies and the endless debates over the benefits of preschool. They came away with one clear, strong message: Kids who attend public preschool programs are better prepared for kindergarten than kids who don't. The findings come in a report "The Current State of Scientific Knowledge on Pre-Kindergarten Effects," and the authors include big names from the early childhood world: Deborah Phillips of Georgetown University, Mark W. Lipsey of Vanderbilt, Kenneth Dodge of Duke, Ron Haskins of the Brookings Institution and others...'

Education Week--Health Care Bill's Changes to Medicaid Alarm School Advocacy Groups The American Health Care Act, which passed the House Thursday, makes changes to Medicaid spending that has some education organizations up in arms. As we reported in March on an earlier version of the AHCA, the change to health care law bases state allocations of Medicaid money in part on how many people are in particular populations. Supporters of the change see it as way for states to be more creative with how they use dollars for Medicaid. But groups such as the AASA, the School Superintendents Association, the National School Boards Association, the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund, and the two national teachers' unions are saying the bill would harm children...'

5-4-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--New Jersey’s Court System Continues to Drive Education Policy Yesterday’s dismissal of the Newark ‘LIFO’ case and recent decisions continue to show how the court is a force in education in Garden State For all the attention on the State House in driving education policy, New Jersey’s courts yesterday continued to show their long and storied influence on some of the hottest public school issues. In the more prominent case, state Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson abruptly dismissed a closely watched lawsuit contesting the state’s infamous teacher seniority rules...'

Associated Press (via Philadelphia Inquirer)--Trump pushes school choice, making good on campaign promise WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump on Wednesday asked Congress to work with him on extending school choice programs nationwide to benefit millions of students, including low-income African-American and Hispanic children. While Trump gave no specifics on what legislation he is proposing, the statement was the clearest indication yet that he intends to follow through on his campaign promise to fund a $20 billion school choice program...'

Press of Atlantic City--Netflix series '13 Reasons Why' sparks local, national conversations about suicide Hannah Baker’s death in “13 Reasons Why” is expected; from the get-go it’s made clear that the blue-eyed, curly-haired teen takes her own life. But the actual apex of Hannah slitting her writs in the bathtub — hyperventilating as she digs the razor deep into her arm until she bleeds to death and is found by her parents — has elicited some mixed reviews...'

The Atlantic--The Case for the Rebel Disruptive students may not be the easiest to have in class, but perhaps defiance should be encouraged. It tends to be common knowledge that Albert Einstein was bad at school, but less known is that he was also bad in school. Einstein not only received failing grades—a problem for which he was often summoned to the headmaster’s office—but he also had a bad attitude. He sat in the back of the class smirking at the teacher; he was disrespectful and disruptive; he questioned everything; and, when he was faced with the ultimatum to straighten up or drop out, he dropped out. That’s right: Albert Einstein was a dropout. And yet, he grew up to become one of the greatest thinkers in human history...'

Education Week--Is the High School Graduation Rate Inflated? No, Study Says Watered-down graduation requirements, mistaken calculations, and push-outs of unsuccessful students may have falsely boosted high school graduation rates in a few states, but are not widespread enough to have inflated the national graduation rate, which is at an all-time high of 83.2 percent, according to a study released Wednesday. The eighth edition of the annual "Building A Grad Nation" report took on the skepticism that surrounded President Barack Obama's October announcement of the national graduation-rate milestone...'

5-3-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Democrats to Christie: No Progress on School-Aid Reform, No Budget No more debates about fine points of various plans, the Democrats want real movement on funding formula The debate over school funding in New Jersey took a new turn yesterday, when Senate Democratic leaders laid down their own ultimatum: They will not move a fiscal 2018 state budget without significant progress toward their long-discussed proposals for revising state aid for schools...'

Star Ledger--N.J. Dems will hold up state budget if school aid isn't fixed, leaders say TRENTON -- The Democratic lawmakers who control New Jersey's state Senate won't pass a budget this year unless it includes their plans for increasing funding for public schools, they announced Tuesday. Flanked on the steps of the Statehouse by parents and school officials, Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) said problems with school funding can't be fixed in one year but the state must begin making progress now...'

Arizona Republic--Roberts: Arizona legislator says kids shouldn't have to go to school Rep. Paul Mosley just became a hero to kids everywhere. The Lake Havasu City Republican wants to repeal the law requiring them to go to school. No really, he does...'

Education Week--Teachers Customize Professional Development Through Microcredentials Personalized learning is a buzzword in education, but teachers' own learning often comes in a one-size-fits-all package via a crowded room or a years-old PowerPoint. Enter microcredentials, a form of professional development in which teachers work to prove mastery of single competencies. They're designed to be tailored to what a teacher needs or wants to know, from classroom management to analyzing student data...'

5-2-17 Education in the News
Associated Press (via Philadelphia Inquirer)--Hey kids, salt stays and grains go in school meals LEESBURG, Va. (AP) - Schools won't have to cut more salt from meals just yet and some will be able to serve kids fewer whole grains, under changes to federal nutrition standards announced Monday. The move by President Donald Trump's Agriculture Department partially rolls back rules championed by former first lady Michelle Obama as part of her healthy eating initiative. Separately, the Food and Drug Administration said on Monday it would delay - for one year - Obama administration rules that will require calorie labels on menus and prepared food displays. The rule was scheduled to go into effect later this week...'

Washington Post--Educators and school psychologists raise alarms about ‘13 Reasons Why’ Educators and school mental health professionals across the country are warning parents about the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why,” saying the show’s graphic depiction of a teenager’s suicide could contribute to a “contagion effect” among students with mental illness and linking it to self-harm and suicide threats among young people. The show has prompted a major response from educators and administrators, who have spoken at PTA meetings, sent messages home and even cautioned certain groups of students about whether to watch it at all...'

The Nation--The Path to HigherEducation With an Intellectual Disability The number of degree-granting institutions with options for these students is growing. CLEMSON, South Carolina—Like many college students pestered by nosy relatives, Sydney Davis, a sophomore, is not exactly forthcoming when her boyfriend comes up in conversation. The couple has been together two years, Davis says with the exasperated tone of a young adult clearly trying to change the subject. Davis’s friend, Annsley James, a sophomore wearing a windbreaker with her sorority’s letters on it, sits on the opposite side of the room giggling. It’s a scene that takes place across college campuses: two friends exchange knowing glances during history lectures, at basketball games, in line at the dining hall. But unlike the majority of young adults pursuing higher education in the United States, James, Davis, and their classmates are doing so with intellectual disabilities...'

Education Week--Budget Deal for 2017 Includes Increases for Title I, Special Education Federal lawmakers have agreed to relatively small spending increases for Title I programs to districts and for special education, as part of a budget deal covering the rest of fiscal 2017 through the end of September. Title I spending on disadvantaged students would rise by $100 million up to $15.5 billion from fiscal 2016 to fiscal 2017, along with $450 million in new money that was already slated to be shifted over from the now-defunct School Improvement Grants program...'

5-1-17 Education in the News
Star Ledger--State asked to stop charter school from opening amid allegations of fraud Education officials in a Union County city are calling on the state to stop the opening of a charter school with ties to the North Jersey Turkish community, claiming the school’s application included “forged and fraudulent” petitions purporting to show community involvement and support...'

Philadelphia Inquirer--Good kids, bad decisions: Why Camden schools are suspending fewer students Camden one of many districts trying alternatives to suspensions Camden High principal Alex Jones can point to a few stories that make him believe his school’s new approach toward suspensions is making a difference, like one recent day when a teacher told him about a ninth-grade student who was acting out in class. A year ago, the student’s behavior might have triggered an automatic visit to the office, possibly angering the student further. Had the student yelled or thrown something, he might have faced a two-day suspension or worse...'

Philadelphia Inquirer--Philly region a welcoming place for female school superintendents Bridget O’Connell’s first day as superintendent of the Palisades School District in upper Bucks County, she got a lot of questions about the kids – not the 1,700 students she would be overseeing as the top administrator, but the four children at home who know her as Mom. “’Wow, you’re a superintendent and you have four kids?’” O’Connell recalled well-wishers asking. She added wearily, “That always seems to be the question: How do you do it?" Retro moments aside, the Philadelphia region has moved faster than Pennsylvania -- and indeed the nation -- in growing the roster of female school superintendents. Of the 61 districts in Montgomery, Bucks, Chester, and Delaware Counties, 21 – or 34.4 percent – are run by women. The statewide percentage is 28.8. Across the river, in Camden, Burlington, and Gloucester Counties, they're in charge in 36 percent of the 113 districts, compared with 31.4 percent for all of New Jersey...'

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NJSBA FALL WORKSHOP 2012, Tuesday October 23, 2012 2:30pm - 4:00pm @ Room: 404

Special Session 2:30pm: Inside Look: Insights from NJ’s Governmental Relations Directors

…The governmental relations directors from around New Jersey work directly with legislators on education issues that impact local schools. Join us for an informative conversation and an inside look into the perspective of the governmental relations directors. The discussion will be moderated by John Mooney, founding editor and education writer at NJ Spotlight.

Debra Bradley, Esq., Governmental Relations Director, New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association

John Donnadio, Executive Director, New Jersey Association of Counties

Judy Savage, Executive Director, NJ Council of County Vocational-Technical Schools

Ginger C. Gold Schnitzer, Governmental Relations Director, New Jersey Education Association

Lynne Strickland, Executive Director, Garden State Coalition of Schools

Michael A. Vrancik, Governmental Relations Director, New Jersey School Boards Association

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