The Buzz

11-17-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--NJEA Spent $5.7M of Union Dues on Recent Election Many members erroneously believe teachers union spent only funds from voluntary donations on recent political battles According to recent filings with the Election Law Enforcement Commission, the New Jersey Education Association spent about $5.7 million in union dues on the recent general election. It did so through Garden State Forward, a Super PAC (political action committee) that the teachers union founded four years ago...'

Education Week--Good Communication Doesn't Come Naturally. We Have to Teach It Amid polarizing political discourse, students need training to communicate their ideas Last month, former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush separately issued bipartisan calls to abandon divisive language. Both railed against the current polarized nature of our nation's political discourse—which, in the past year, has been lacking in nuance and filled with racial invective, gender insults, and other hate speech. Characterized by binaries, this language constructs our nation as a conglomerate of factions. In such a climate, some educators may shy away from discussing controversial issues with students, especially when, for many of them, the political has become deeply personal. But educators should recognize the power—and opportunities for student empowerment—in these discussions...'

11-16-17 Education in the News
Philadelphia Inquirer--Gov.-elect Murphy promises teachers a kinder relationship ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) - Members of New Jersey's largest teachers' union cheered Gov.-elect Phil Murphy on Friday as the Democrat promised a kinder relationship than the union had with Republican Gov. Chris Christie. Murphy spoke at the annual New Jersey Education Association convention in Atlantic City, and said voters have demanded a different direction...'

Education Week--'There Is No Oversight': Private-School Vouchers Can Leave Parents on Their Own Erica Florea was fed up. The Jupiter, Fla., mother had feuded for months with her daughter's middle school over her special education needs. Florea believed Jessica, who has dwarfism and epilepsy, also had autism. But the school system, Florea said, had missed the diagnosis and was not providing the supports she insisted her daughter needed. So, before school resumed in the fall of 2015, she took a friend's advice and applied for one of Florida's publicly funded voucher programs to help pay tuition expenses for Jessica to attend a private school...'

11-15-17 Education in the News
Star Ledger--Were NJEA teachers sent to a shoddy Florida rehab center? Some New Jersey teachers with addiction and mental health problems were sent to a rundown rehab facility in Florida with questionable treatment practices after turning to the state's largest teachers union for help, according to a report...'

Education Week--New Data Detail Effect of Inclusion on Teaching Time A new analysis that looks at how much time educators spend teaching in classrooms with students with disabilities adds a new twist to the debate over inclusion...'

The Atlantic--Will Schools Start Lying About Attendance Rates? States are planning to use chronic absenteeism to assess performance, but some wonder if incentives will lead administrators to manipulate the data. Schools across the country are about to be held accountable for student attendance—attaching stakes to a measure that previously had much less significance and increasing the risk that schools will try to manipulate that data...'

11-14-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Murphy Names Transition Team, Signals His Priorities High-profile appointees include NJEA president; Gov.-elect also appoints less well-known figures Less than a week after his election, Gov.-elect Phil Murphy yesterday started naming names to his various transition committees that show where his policies lie...'

Star Ledger--NJEA president: Stand down from politics? I was elected to fight for educators    Opinion
Last April, the 200,000 members of the New Jersey Education Association gave me the greatest honor of my life, electing me to lead our union. NJEA is a truly democratic organization that exists to advocate for our members, our students and our public schools...'

The Record--Editorial: Moral for NJEA: Petty is as petty does However it wants to spin it, the New Jersey Education Association is less than it was before the 2017 election cycle – in both influence and cash. It spent an estimated $5 million trying to unseat state Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester. The gamble did not pay off. Sweeney won by his largest margin. And while the elephant may be the GOP mascot, no targeted politician forgets from where the arrows came...'

Education Week--Democrats' Recent Election Gains: The K-12 Repercussions Charter, funding issues in N.J., Va., Wash. state The Democratic gains in this week's New Jersey, Virginia, and Washington elections will have repercussions in all three states in their long-simmering debates over the expansion of charter schools, school funding, testing, and other K-12 issues...'

Star Ledger--Ernest Reock Jr., an expert in N.J. government, dies at 93 NEW BRUNSWICK -- Ernest C. Reock Jr., a former Rutgers University professor known for his extensive knowledge of state government, died Sunday morning. He was 93...'

11-13-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--At AC Teachers Convention, Many Claim ‘Disconnect’ from Politics There may not be much interest in NJEA’s costly attempt to unseat Sen. Sweeney, but Gov.-elect Murphy gets roaring welcome from crowd With two days off from school, thousands of teachers walked the aisles in the Atlantic City Convention Center last week, collecting education swag, swapping gossip, and attending professional workshops including a pension education session and yoga classes. Though Gov.-elect Phil Murphy was scheduled to speak early Friday morning, specifically to thank the New Jersey Education Association for its support in his election, many of the educators in attendance expressed their disinterest in politics...'

Star Ledger—Op-Ed:Top Democrats to teacher union leaders: Step aside    Moran
If you are the sort to slow down at the scene of a car crash, then tap the brakes and behold the wreckage of the New Jersey Education Association, the state's largest teachers' union. "They would be better off with new leadership, then we can start anew," Sen. Steve Sweeney, the senate president, said Friday...'

Star Ledger--Murphy gets hero's welcome at annual NJEA conference ATLANTIC CITY -- The state's largest teachers' union's contempt for Gov. Chris Christie is matched only by its love for Gov.-elect Phil Murphy. At least that was the feeling inside the Atlantic City Convention Center Friday when New Jersey Education Association members gave the state's incoming governor a hero's welcome at its annual convention...'

Education Week-- Both GOP Tax Plans Could Jeopardize School Funding, Teachers' Pocketbooks Proposed changes to the federal tax code unveiled by Republican lawmakers at the start of this month would affect teachers' tax burden, private and charter schools, and significant amounts of funding for public schools...'

11-10-17 Education in the News
The Record--Teacher's union gambled big and lost, faces loss of clout in Trenton Leaders of New Jersey's teachers' union are gathering in Atlantic City and facing an ironic dilemma: a loss of clout in Trenton.

The New Jersey Education Association spent about $5 million on a failed bid to unseat state Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney, whose Democratic caucus named him Thursday to another term as their leader. In the Assembly, the teachers union backed allies of Speaker Vincent Prieto, who announced Thursday he was stepping down amid a challenge from Craig Coughlin, a fellow Democrat...'

Philadelphia Inquirer--5 questions: Psychologist weighs in on specialization in youth sports and a parent's role Parental tirades and children’s tears on the sidelines of sports games are almost common fare.

Parents know they shouldn’t lose their cool, but sometimes they just can’t seem to resist. Joel Fish aims to help. A parent of three kids in sports, a licensed psychologist, and a sports psychologist, Fish is also director of the Center for Sport Psychology in Philadelphia, where he works with athletes of all ages and skill levels...'

Education Week--The Case(s) Against Personalized Learning Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are backing it with hundreds of millions of dollars. States from Florida to Vermont have adopted supportive laws and policies. And school districts across the country are embracing this emerging education trend. But as "personalized learning" takes root, it's also coming under greater scrutiny...'

11-9-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Opinion: Chris Christie’s Surprisingly Solid Record in Public Education It’s easy to mock the soon-to-be-ex governor; it’s harder to admit he’s leaving NJ’s public schools in better shape than he found them A favorite hobby in New Jersey is throwing shade on Gov. Chris Christie...'

Washington Post--Inside Betsy DeVos’s efforts to shrink the Education Department The seventh floor of the Education Department’s headquarters near the Mall used to bustle. Now, nearly a dozen offices sit empty and quiet. The department’s workforce has shrunk under Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who has said she wants to decrease the federal government’s role in education, including investigations and enforcement of civil rights in schools...'

Education Week--What Democratic Victories in Virginia and New Jersey Mean for K-12 Policy Democratic victories in the New Jersey and Virginia gubernatorial races Tuesday will have reverberations in the debate over those states' school accountability systems, the role of standardized tests, and the fate of their school spending formulas...'

11-8-17 Education in the News
Star Ledger--N.J. election results 2017: Steve Sweeney wins re-election despite battle with teachers union TRENTON -- State Senate President Stephen Sweeney, the most powerful lawmaker in New Jersey, won re-election Tuesday despite an expensive and bloody effort by the state's largest teachers union to oust him from the seat he's held for nearly 16 years...'

Education Week--How Do Trump's K-12 Campaign Promises Hold Up a Year After His Election? President Donald Trump was elected one year ago Wednesday, promising a huge new school choice initiative, a slimmed down—or nonexistent—U.S. Department of Education, the end of the Common Core State Standards, new tax incentives to cover child-care costs, and more...'

11-7-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Local Politics in New Jersey Takes Ugly Turn with Racist Fliers Anonymous mailers call for candidates in Edison school board race to be deported, warn that Hoboken mayoral candidate is a terrorist The political climate in the lead-up to the 2017 election has become so divisive, particularly as it relates to immigration and sanctuary cities, that experts say it has emboldened some to overt displays of racism and xenophobia...'

NJ Spotlight--New Lighthouse District Initiative Shines Light on Top Schools Rollout of initial recipients spotlights small districts that are very smart about how they use data to tune curriculum, teacher advancement As New Jersey has monitored its public schools over the years, the attention — and often the debate — have always been on sanctions and interventions imposed on districts and schools that fail to perform...'

Star Ledger--Pro-ISIS group hacks N.J. school website, posts recruitment video BLOOMFIELD -- A hack of a company popularly used to host school district websites posted a pro-ISIS video on the sites, officials said Monday...'

NY Times--Competition Is Ruining Childhood. The Kids Should Fight Back. Like the crack of a starting pistol, November begins the official college application season. But for students, this race started long ago. Many of today’s kids have lived their entire lives, from sunup until midnight, in a fierce tournament with their peers. (I was one of them. A decade after graduation, I still can’t think of a period when I’ve worked harder than in high school.) From kindergarten to 12th grade, schools brag about how “competitive” they are...'

Education Week-- Teachers Would Lose $250 Deduction for Classroom Materials Under GOP Tax Bill The tax bill proposed by Republican leaders yesterday scraps a benefit that many teachers have come to rely on: the $250 "educator expense deduction," which can be used to recoup the cost of classroom materials...'

11-6-17 Education in the News
Philadelphia Inquirer--South Jersey Dem machine, teachers' union barrel toward Election Day New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney hopped on top of a firetruck in a parking lot off Broad Street in Woodbury, grabbed the megaphone, and cut to the chase. “We’re going to send a message that we cannot be bullied, that one group does not control the state of New Jersey,” Sweeney told about 250 volunteers gathered Saturday morning, most of them members of building trades unions...'

Education Week--Does Inclusion Slow Down General Education Classrooms? Are educators spending less time on teaching if they have students with disabilities in their classrooms? The answer, based on a survey of teachers from 38 countries, including the United States, is yes—but digging into the data reveals a complex picture that goes beyond inclusion. Across the world, for example, classes with a high percentage of students with disabilities also have teachers with less experience and less training, according to an international survey of teachers. Those classrooms also have higher percentages of students who have behavior problems reported by their teachers that may be separate from the presence of a disability...'

11-3-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--In the 3rd, Costly Grudge Match Pits Sweeney Against Grenier and NJEA The teachers union has spent $4.5 million backing a self-described ‘Trump Republican’ looking to wrest the seat from Democrat who has angered the NJEA...'

Star Ledger--Did racist 'Make Edison Great Again' election mailer break any laws? EDISON -- Authorities are looking into whether the "Make Edison Great Again" anti-Indian and anti-Chinese school board election mailers sent to township residents violated any campaign regulations or criminal laws...'

Star Ledger--2017 N.J. election guide: Where the candidates stand on education

Whoever wins next Tuesday's election to succeed Chris Christie as New Jersey's governor will help shape education in a state with 1.3 million students in 590 public school districts — as well as 33 public colleges...'

Washington Post Writers Group (via The Record)-- Opinion: Teachers’ perceptions can become reality for students CHICAGO – If it’s true that perception is reality, then perceptions can be both advantageous and burdensome when applied to education...'

Education Week--GOP Tax Bill Would Boost School Choice, May Squeeze K-12 Revenue The Republicans' much-anticipated legislation to change the federal tax system includes a victory for school choice advocates: It would allow families to use up to $10,000 in savings from 529 college savings plans for K-12 expenses, including private school tuition...'

11-2-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight-- Governor’s Race 2017: Candidates Deeply Divided on Education From school funding to student testing, Murphy and Guadagno could be speaking different languages What will the next governor mean for New Jersey public education? Whoever is elected on Tuesday, it is safe to say he or she will have a tough act to follow...'

NJ Spotlight—Op-Ed: Fixing the Pension System for Teachers and Taxpayers We have made great progress, especially in the past year, to put our pension system on the road to full funding Fixing the pension system remains the greatest fiscal challenge facing the new governor and the 120 legislators who will be elected next week...'

Associated Press (via Press of Atlantic City)--NJ residents receive anti-immigrant school board ads EDISON TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) — Authorities in a New Jersey town are investigating racist campaign mailers that attack two Asian school board candidates...'

NY Times--What Colleges Want in an Applicant (Everything) The admissions process is a maddening mishmash of competing objectives, and an attempt to measure the unmeasurable: you. No, it isn’t fair, and likely never will be...'

11-1-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight (Sponsored Content)--Understanding, Addressing Disproportionality in NJ Schools Disproportionality can be defined as an over-representation of students from certain racial/ethnic groups in special-education programs The prevalence of racial achievement gaps on standardized tests has been widely reported. However, education-equity advocates point out that there is a lesser known — yet far larger and more complex parallel issue — that is dramatically impacting the ability of schools to teach and support struggling minority students...'

Star Ledger--Christie blasts teachers union (again) over health care costs TRENTON -- Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday continued his assault on the state's teachers union, lambasting union leadership for their high pay following a dispute between the union and the state over health insurance benefits...'

Education Week-- Educators Are More Stressed at Work Than Average People, Survey Finds

Teachers are feeling especially stressed, disrespected, and less enthusiastic about their jobs, a new survey has found. The survey, released by the American Federation of Teachers and the advocacy group Badass Teachers Association on Monday, included responses from about 5,000 educators. It follows a 2015 survey on educator stress—and finds that stress levels have grown and mental health has declined for this group in the past two years...'

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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.