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12-12-16 Education in the News

Star Ledger--Grades are in: See N.J. teacher ratings for each school

TRENTON -- New Jersey's public school teachers are getting better at their jobs, according to new state evaluation data released Friday.

The second year of the state's new evaluation system for teachers found about 1,600 - or 1.6 percent of New Jersey's public school teachers - were rated "ineffective" or "partially effective" in 2014-15, according to state Department of Education report.

That is 1,100 fewer than the previous school year, when about 2,700 teachers, or 2.9 percent, got the lowest ratings, the report said.


Kelly Heyboer and Stephen Stirling | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com| December 09, 2016 at 1:53 PM, updated December 09, 2016 at 4:41 PM

Washington Post (via Philadelphia Inquirer)-- Debunking fake news is teachers' latest task

History teacher Chris Dier was in the middle of a lesson last week at Chalmette High School in Chalmette, Louisiana, when a student raised his hand with a befuddling inquiry: "He raised his hand and asked if I knew about Hillary Clinton using pizza places to traffic people."

About a thousand miles away at Wilson High School in Washington, D.C., distressed students in teacher Eden McCauslin's history and government classes asked why a North Carolina man armed with an assault rifle had appeared at their local pizza shop, Comet Ping Pong, telling police that he wanted to free child sex slaves he believed to be harbored there, a false narrative conspiracy theorists have pushed on the Internet.

Hoaxes, fake news and conspiracy theories have abounded on the Web, spreading with increasing speed and intensity during the recent presidential election cycle. While they have duped many - and provided entertainment to others - they also have created a sense of urgency for social studies teachers and librarians to teach students how to distinguish the real from the invented, to identify bias in news articles and to evaluate sources for credibility.

As the Comet Ping Pong incident displayed, such false accounts can inspire very real consequences.


Moriah Balingit, The Washington Post

Philadelphia Inquirer--For 3rd straight year, more Camden kids are graduating from high school

The graduation rate for high school students in Camden has increased by 21 percentage points since 2012, according to district officials. Additionally, the dropout rate is down 9 percentage points since 2012, which was the last year before the state took over the district and Gov. Christie appointed Superintendent Paymon Rouhanifard.

The graduation and dropout data will be released at a "State of the Schools" event Monday morning hosted by Rouhanifard and other officials at Alfred Cramer College Preparatory Lab School.

The graduation rate was below 50 percent when Rouhanifard was hired in 2013. For the 2015-16 school year it was 70 percent, an increase of six percentage points over the previous school year. Overall, 450 students from the approximately 10,000-student district graduated from high school last year, up from 403 in 2012 - a year when thousands more students were enrolled in city schools.


Allison Steele, Staff Writer| Updated: December 11, 2016 11:59 PM EST

Education Week-- Budget Deal Addresses Flint, Vouchers; Punts on Big K-12 Funding Issues

A short-term budget deal to keep the government running addresses the water contamination in cities like Flint, Mich., as well as funding for school vouchers in the District of Columbia, but does not otherwise contain significant changes for education.

The continuing resolution introduced in Congress on Tuesday will expire on April 28 next year. It is esentially a stop-gap designed to allow the House and Senate to hash out a long-term budget deal after President-elect Donald Trump takes office in January.

The short-term budget will therefore leave education funding advocates and others waiting for several more months to see the new direction that Trump and a Republican-controlled Congress will take spending for disadvantaged students, a new block grant created under the Every Student Succeeds Act intended to fund a diverse set of programs, and more.

Included in the budget resolution is $170 million for cities suffering water treatment issues like Flint, where last year it was discovered that several hundred children had high levels of lead in their blood, a condition linked to a variety of health problems such as delays in development. However, the Hill newspaper also reported Tuesday that the separate water resources bill that would authorize this funding could be at risk.


By Andrew Ujifusa on December 7, 2016 10:31 AM