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8-16-16 Education in the News

NJ Spotlight--‘Other’ School-Funding Plan Promises Fast Relief, but Does It Have a Chance?

Two Essex County legislators try again with a school-funding proposal, knowing the odds against it are high

As two high-profile plans to remake New Jersey’s school funding have yet to move in the Legislature, backers of a third proposal that would bring more immediate change are trying to get renewed attention.

State Assemblywoman Mila Jasey and Assemblyman John McKeon, both Essex County Democrats, have sponsored a bill they said would bring immediate relief to potentially more than 140 districts that are both underfunded by the state and that tax their residents at well more than the average rates.

The proposal, first filed last spring and now with a companion bill in the Senate, asks for $122 million in additional aid this year to address the plight of districts that Jasey said are nearing breaking point. “I don’t believe we can afford to wait any more, we can’t afford to wait at all,” Jasey said yesterday. “We’re losing staff in schools and we’re losing the public’s support and confidence.


John Mooney | August 16, 2016


NJ Spotlight--Opinion: It’s Past Time for Comprehensive Approach to Protect Children from Lead

There is a sense that lead exposure is an issue that has been resolved. But while significant improvements have been made, they are not enough

If articles and reports on lead exposure and drinking water has dwindled? Think back to the Flint, MI, debacle and how it resounded across the country and struck a chord here in New Jersey.

There still are occasional articles about new test results in our schools, and about criminal indictments of regulatory and utility managers in Michigan, but the uproar has subsided. Perhaps it is just the summer doldrums, issue fatigue, or perhaps people assume that action is being taken to solve the problem.



Daniel J. Van Abs | August 16, 2016


Star Ledger--Liberal white moms drive testing opt-out movement, study says

The typical "opt-out" activist is a highly-educated, white and politically liberal mother from a family earning significantly more than the national average, according to a new national study by Columbia University.

And nearly 45 percent of people who support the movement are teachers or educators, the online survey found. 

The results come from a survey of nearly 1,650 people from 47 states conducted between January and March. Respondents were recruited online through links on the webpages and social media channels of groups that support students skipping standardized testing. 

The opt-out movement has grown in recent years with more parents keeping their children at home on standardizing testing days or telling schools their children will refuse to participate. 

About 8 percent of the survey's respondents were from New Jersey, where tens of thousands of students have skipped the controversial PARCC exams for grades 3-11. 


Adam Clark | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com| August 15, 2016 at 2:34 PM, updated August 15, 2016 at 3:27 PM


Cherry Hill Gazette--Bill would put opiate antidote in NJ high schools

Addiction awareness advocate Patty DiRenzo passes out cards in Camden to educate people about New Jersey's "Good Samaritan" law. The law allows drug users who witness an overdose to call 911 without fear or being arrested. Phaedra Trethan

Nurses and other designated faculty would carry a heroin and opiate antidote in all New Jersey schools if an Atlantic County legislator's bill becomes law.

Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo announced Tuesday he would introduce a bill mandating that all high schools in New Jersey, whether public, private or charter, have Narcan. The antidote, also known by its generic name, naloxone, reverses the effects of a heroin or opiate overdose, buying time for emergency responders to get the victim to a hospital.

"I think it's a no-brainer," said Patty DiRenzo, a Blackwood resident and member of the Camden County Addiction Awareness Task Force. DiRenzo, who lost her son, Sal Marchese, to an overdose in 2010, was an outspoken proponent of New Jersey's "Good Samaritan" law, allowing witnesses to call 911 in the event of an overdose without fear of arrest or prosecution for drug use or possession. She also lobbied to have police and first responders in the state equipped with Narcan doses.

Mazzeo, who told the Courier-Post he intends to introduce the legislation in September's session, said the bill would place primary responsibility for carrying and administering Narcan with school nurses. Other school employees would be offered training and designated to administer the antidote on a volunteer basis, as well.


Phaedra Trethan, 4:23 p.m. EDT August 11, 2016