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9-12-16 Education in the News

NJ Spotlight--Sweeney to Bypass Christie to Set Up School-Funding Commission

Senate president hopes to work with Republicans in the Legislature to create a bipartisan commission by resolution

Ever since Senate President Steve Sweeney first proposed his legislative bill for fixing New Jersey’s school funding morass, there was the obvious question as to whether Gov. Chris Christie would ever sign it if it passed.

After all, Christie has his own radically different proposal that he has been championing around the state.

Now, it may not matter.

Sweeney said Friday that he will go around Christie and propose to the Senate and Assembly a legislative resolution -- one that does not require the governor’s approval -- to create a new funding commission to devise fixes to the funding system.

He said the prospects of Christie getting on board with his proposal were slim, so taking the resolution route instead of a bill was the best way to move his proposal forward.


John Mooney | September 12, 2016


Star Ledger--15 years after 9/11: Honor the lost by combating hate, ignorance | Opinion

Sunday marks 15 years since hijacked airplanes crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City; the Pentagon in Washington, DC; and a field  in rural Pennsylvania. The United States Capitol building was the intended target of that final plane, but the heroic actions of passengers and crew members aboard the flight prevented its hijackers from accomplishing their goal. 

For many of us, the memories of that day will never fade and the emotions always will be difficult to manage on this anniversary. So, we continue to honor the lives and memories of the thousands who perished on Sept. 11, 2001, through remembrance, through contemplation or prayer, and, we hope, through our actions.

The the sadness, anger, and fear we experienced during that time were raw and overwhelming, especially for the many who lost dear friends and loved ones as a result of such heinous acts. 

… We have an obligation, though, to the victims of all those senseless attacks, which were uniformly fueled by ignorance, intolerance, and hate. Our obligation is to reject such thinking and to respect, care for, and learn from one another.


Joel S. Bloom| Star-Ledger Guest Columnist| September 10, 2016 at 8:34 AM, updated September 10, 2016 at 11:35 AM


Philadelphia Inquirer--Chesco students plot course to later school starts, more shut-eye

Like many high school students, Matthew Daniels has a schedule so jam-packed - classes, clubs, sports, job - that he rarely hits the sack before midnight. Then it's up at 6 to start all over, with six hours or less of shut-eye. School begins at 7:35.

"Some of my friends don't go to bed until 1 or 2," said Daniels, a senior at Unionville-Chadds Ford High School, where he is also class president.

Daniels is among a group of students from various Chester County schools studying ways that districts can delay their start times - an adjustment even knottier than it sounds.

It has, however, proved possible.

Nationwide, more and more educators are awakening to the message from medical experts that adolescents need more sleep. At an estimated 1,000 schools in 70 districts, the opening bells are ringing later. Just last week, public high schools in Seattle switched to the researcher-recommended 8:30 start, as did several districts in Maine.


Kathy Boccella, Staff Writer| Updated: September 11, 2016 — 1:08 AM EDT


Washington Post-- A new way to honor high schools, without looking at test scores

Tests taken. Test scores. Graduation rates. These are the central data points for most high school rankings. But now there is something new — and very different.

Everybody knows about U.S. News & World Report’s famous college rankings, but they also rank high schools, based largely on standardized test scores as well as graduation rates. Washington Post education writer Jay Mathews does his long-standing “Challenge Index” rankings based not on test scores themselves but on a percentage of students in a school who took Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or Advanced International Certificate of Education tests.

But now there is a high school honors list that has a different set of priorities. It’s the Schools of Opportunity, a project launched by educators who wanted to highlight public high schools that actively seek to close opportunity gaps through 11 research-proven practices and not test scores, which are more a measure of socio-economic status than anything else.

What kind of practices? They include health and psychological support for students, judicious and fair discipline policies, high-quality teacher mentoring programs, outreach to the community, effective student and faculty support systems, and broad and enriched curriculum. Schools submit applications explaining why they believe their school should be recognized.

The project started in 2014 as a pilot program in New York and Colorado, and went national in 2015-2016, with gold and silver winners coming from states including Maryland, Georgia, California and Oregon. It is the brainchild of Kevin Welner, director of the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado Boulder and a professor specializing in educational policy and law; and Carol Burris, a former award-winning principal who is now executive director of the non-profit Network for Public Education.


By Valerie Strauss September 12 at 6:00 AM