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10-31-16 Education in the News

NJ Legislators--Top Democrats Disagree on How to Craft New School-Funding Plan

Split between Sweeney, Prieto comes as Christie pushes his ‘Fairness Formula,’ which would level per-student aid throughout NJ

Add school funding to the list of topics where state Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto don’t see eye to eye.

And with that addition, the odds are now looking longer for a resolution anytime soon — at least a legislative one — to the public schools’ perennial money crunch.

Last week, Prieto filed his version of a school-funding proposal that would make fixes to the existing formula under the School Funding Reform Act.

The bill matched in many ways Sweeney’s previously presented plan to create a bipartisan commission to recommend changes and that would resolve the issue with a vote and bypass Gov. Chris Christie entirely.


John Mooney | October 31, 2016


Philadelphia Inquirer--More top high schools drop out of class-rank system

For the West Chester Area School District, the last straw for class rank came when a University of Pennsylvania admissions officer told school officials that a highly qualified graduate had been rejected because she was ranked 15th out of 320 students.

"They said, 'If you didn't rank her, she would have gotten in,' " Superintendent James Scanlon said of the student, who had earned a 3.9 grade-point average in the high-achieving Chester County district.

Now West Chester is joining a growing number of districts around the country in eliminating class rank in its high schools - a high-stakes strategy that educators hold could help some of their students get into the nation's elite colleges, since those schools often overlook candidates who aren't in the rarefied percentiles.

The movement has gained such popularity in New Jersey during the last 10 years, said Albert Betts, admissions director at Rowan University, that "we no longer use or even record class rank as part of our admission evaluation process."


Kathy Boccella, Staff Writer| Updated: October 30, 2016 — 1:09 AM EDT


Education Week--K-12 Digital Citizenship Initiative Targets States

A coalition of groups focused on children and media launched a new campaign today to encourage state lawmakers to promote digital citizenship in schools.

The aim is to spur adoption of new legislation requiring the formation of state-level advisory committees charged with finding ways to help ensure students use classroom technology safely and ethically while becoming savvy consumers and creators of online media and information.

“Our kids are now living in a digital world, and we need to teach them how to make smart choices so they can take advantage of all that tech has to offer while avoiding the dangers,” said James P. Steyer, in prepared remarks he was expected to deliver Oct. 28 to the Twitter Digital Citizenship Summit in San Francisco. “We believe that good online behavior mimics good offline behavior.”

Steyer is the founder and CEO of the nonprofit Common Sense Media, whose advocacy wing, Common Sense Kids Action, will lead the new campaign. The group is joined by Media Literacy Now, the Digital Citizenship Institute, and the National Association for Media Literacy Education. Together, they hope to initially persuade 20 states to pass new digital-citizenship legislation in 2017.

Their model is Washington state, where Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, earlier this year signed into law a measure requiring the office of the state superintendent of public instruction to convene a statewide advisory committee that will devise best practices and recommendations for “instruction in digital citizenship, internet safety, and media literacy.”


Benjamin Herold| October 28, 2016|