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10-17-16 Education in the News

NJ Spotlight--Phil Murphy Hedges on Charter Schools, Says ‘It’s Complicated’

 ‘NJ Spotlight on Cities’ brings early focus to charter schools in 2017 governor’s race

With eight months to go until the primaries, charter schools already have become an early issue in New Jersey’s 2017 election for governor.

The annual “NJ Spotlight on Cities” conference, held Friday at the NJ Performing Arts Center in Newark, brought together for the first time four men who have either declared their candidacies for governor or said they were seriously considering running.

In a wide-ranging discussion that touched on issues from neighborhood gentrification to the state’s economy to pension reform, charter schools were one of the more pointed topics as the four men staked their positions on where the alternative schools should stand in New Jersey’s cities.

At the center of attention was Phil Murphy, the former U.S. ambassador and Goldman Sachs executive, who has become a frontrunner for the Democratic nomination.

Murphy has become a sudden focal point in the charter school debate since he faced a vote on Saturday as a national board member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) on a resolution that called for a moratorium on the expansion of charter schools nationwide. It comes a week after he won the endorsement of the New Jersey Education Association, the powerful teachers union that has called for a moratorium on charters in New Jersey.

When he was asked on Friday whether he would support the NAACP resolution, Murphy didn’t quite answer the question. “I can’t give you a yes or no, because this has been very distorted and it’s very complicated,” he said from the panel. ”I believe this moratorium is asking that we stop the public funding of charter schools, and I am opposed to that. It would wreck schools across this state, and across this country.”


John Mooney | October 17, 2016


Star Ledger--N.J. lawmakers seek to stop felons from running for school board

EDISON — After a felon had made it on this year's township school board ballot, lawmakers introduced bills that would require all board of education candidates to "certify under oath they have never been convicted of crimes that would disqualify them from campaigning for school boards."

State Sen. Patrick Diegnan (D-Middlesex) and Assemblyman Robert Karabinchak (D-Middlesex) have introduced identical bills in the state Senate and state Assembly.

Currently, felons convicted of first- and second-degree crimes cannot serve in school district positions, according to state Department of Education regulations. But those felons can serve as candidates and have their names on the ballot since criminal background checks are not conducted until after the election.

If enacted, the bills would "require school board candidates to file a formal certification — along with their nominating petition — affirming they were never convicted of any disqualifying crimes," according to a statement from Karabinchak's office.

Further, the statement said lying or falsifying that oath would be a fourth-degree crime.


Spencer Kent | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com| October 16, 2016 at 1:24 PM, updated October 16, 2016 at 1:31 PM


Philadelphia Inquirer--Breakfast after the bell gets high school students ready to learn

After the homeroom bell, Andreanna Jenkins, 17, rushed to a second-floor kiosk station to grab a quick breakfast from a cart.

During a brief break after her first-period class at Woodbury High School, Jenkins picked up the packaged breakfast that included a cheese stick, a whole-wheat loaf, and orange juice.

"I'm not really a morning person," said Jenkins, a junior. But she added: "When I don't eat breakfast, I have a slow day."

This Gloucester County district is among only a handful in New Jersey that offer breakfast to high school students during the first few minutes of the school day. Atlantic City High provides breakfast in the classroom during the first 10 minutes of the day.

The federally funded "breakfast after the bell" program was launched several years ago to entice more students to eat the most important meal of the day, without interrupting learning.

The approach has caught on at elementary schools, where breakfast is typically served in the classroom rather than the cafeteria.


Melanie Burney, Staff Writer Updated: October 17, 2016 — 3:01 AM EDT


The Press of Atlantic City--High school graduation rate reaches new high

WASHINGTON (AP) — High school graduation rates have reached a record high of 83.2 percent, continuing a steady increase that shows improvement across all ethnic groups, the White House said Monday.

President Barack Obama planned to talk about the gains when he visits a Washington, D.C. high school on Monday morning.

Increases in the graduation rate for the 2014-2015 school year were seen for all ethnic groups, as well as for disabled students and students from low-income families.

Still, there were significant differences among groups. Asian Americans had a 90.2 percent graduation rate, while whites were at 87.6 percent, followed by Hispanics at 77.8 percent, African-Americans at 74.6 percent and Native Americans at 71.6 percent.

The growth in graduation rates has been steady since states adopted a uniform way of tracking students. In 2008, the Bush administration ordered states to begin using a formula that is considered a more accurate count of how many actually finish school.

The White House said that the graduation rate has increased by about 4 percent points since the 2010-2011 school year. Obama frequently cites the increase when he talks to groups about progress made during his presidency.


By KEVIN FREKING Associated Press|October 17, 2016