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NJ Spotlight-- Agenda: Should PARCC Exam Be Required for High-School Graduation?

Protests planned before board meeting; replacement of Common Core also slated for first vote

Date: Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Time: 10 a.m.

Where: New Jersey Department of Education, 1st-floor conference room, 100 River View Plaza, Trenton

Related Links

April 6 Agenda

High School Graduation Requirement Proposal

Proposed Anti-Bullying Regulations

NJ Student Learning Standards Resolution

Busy policy day: The State Board of Education has a host of contentious issues before it this month, ranging from continued discussion of new high school graduation requirements to newly proposed changes in the state’s anti-bullying rules.

The board will also take another step toward accepting revisions to the Common Core State Standards and renaming them the New Jersey Student Learning Standards.


John Mooney    April 5, 2016


NJ Spotlight-- State's Efforts to Curb Lead in School Drinking Water Get Off to Slow Start

No one disagrees that lead abatement is a necessary response, but there’s little agreement on how to pay for it

A trio of bills to set aside funds to help schools remove lead from drinking water cleared a legislative committee yesterday, but they appear to face uncertain prospects for winning final approval.

The Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee voted out both bills, but only narrowly. They mark the first concerted legislative response to the discovery last month that forced more than 30 schools in Newark to switch to bottled water after high levels of lead were detected.


Tom Johnson   April 5, 2016


NJ Spotlight-- NJ Takes Atlantic City to Court Over Delay in Tax Payments to Schools

City contends arrangement is crucial to avoiding shutdown of municipal government due to lack of cash

Gov. Chris Christie has made it clear he believes it will take nothing short of a full state takeover of cash-strapped Atlantic City to sort out the resort’s finances.

But now he’s taking the city’s government to court to resolve a dispute involving funding for the local school district, a move that could send the resort into deeper fiscal distress.

Left unclear is whether a key state legislative leader will post a bill later this week that authorizes the takeover sought by Christie, or whether the Legislature will pass another measure that would provide the city with some much-needed cash.


John Reitmeyer    April 5, 2016


The Record-- Pascack Valley Regional High School District to reintroduce transgender policy

The Pascack Valley Regional High School District Board of Education voted Monday afternoon to reintroduce a policy that school officials say will protect the rights of transgender students, a proposal that had stoked strong emotions from people on both sides of the issue in recent weeks.

The policy would allow students to use restrooms and locker rooms based on their gender identity or to have increased privacy in some cases, among other provisions. While at least a dozen North Jersey districts have adopted similar policies over the past year with little public attention, the Pascack Valley proposal has come under scrutiny in recent weeks amid a larger national debate over accommodations for transgender people.

The Pascack Valley board had been prepared to take a final vote on the policy Feb. 22 but tabled it when some parents opposed it. Last week, when school officials held an informational meeting for parents, a conservative Christian group said in an email to the district that it might take legal action if the policy is adopted.


Andrew Wyrich and Abbott Koloff  
The Record   April 5, 2016


NY Times-- ACT and SAT Find a Profitable Market as Common Core Tests

The SAT and the ACT, bugaboos of generations of college applicants, were supposed to shrink in significance as more colleges and universities have moved away from requiring standardized test scores for admission.

Instead, the companies behind them have pushed into the nearly $700-million-a-year market for federally required tests in public schools, offering the SAT and the ACT even to students who do not plan to go to college. Prompted by a recent change in federal education law, they are competing — and increasingly winning — against exams funded by the Obama administration to become mandatory high school tests, used for ranking school performance.

“The testing companies are making a land grab,” said Scott Marion, the executive director of the Center for Assessment, a nonprofit that helps states design and evaluate tests.


Kate Zernike  APRIL 5, 2016