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9-14-16 Education in the News

NJ Spotlight--Consent Order Brings Teachers, Administration to Benefits Table

NJEA has refused to meet, saying unfilled seat on health benefits commission tips balance of power in favor of Christie

Following a lengthy dispute over the summer that culminated in a court order earlier this week, state representatives and members of the New Jersey Education Association are finally set to meet face to face about potential changes to retiree healthcare plans in New Jersey.

An "informational purposes only" meeting is scheduled today between members of the state's largest teachers’ union who sit on the School Employees Health Benefits Commission and Gov. Chris Christie's administration. The two sides have been at odds over refusals by NJEA members to attend commission meetings, which the state hoped to compel them into doing with a legal filing earlier this month.


Chase Brush | September 14, 2016


Star Ledger--Play time, family dinner more important than homework, N.J. school says

WOODBRIDGE — A New Jersey elementary school is de-emphasizing homework this school year and telling parents their children should spend more time playing, doing household chores and eating dinner with their families.  

Robert Mascenik School #26 in Woodbridge Township is testing the importance of homework by giving fewer traditional assignments, principal Judith Martino wrote in a message to parents. 

The goal is to make school work at home a more meaningful experience and not an exercise in compliance, Martino wrote. Studies have shown that there is no link between homework and academic achievement for elementary school students, she added. 

"The most important things students can do when they go home each day are play, eat dinner with their family, engage in conversations, help with family responsibilities or chores and read by themselves or with a family member," Martino wrote. "The skills of responsibility, time management and creativity are all fostered through the aforementioned activities." 


Adam Clark | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com| September 13, 2016 at 4:40 PM


Education Week--ESSA Raises K-12 Stakes in 2016 State-Level Elections

The stakes for K-12 policy in this year's state-level elections couldn't be clearer: Whoever voters pick in the legislative and gubernatorial races will have significant new leverage in shaping states' education agendas in the years ahead.

The reason is the new federal Every Student Succeeds Act, which gives state governments sweeping authority to design, among other things, teacher evaluations and school accountability systems, topics that political observers expect to dominate policymakers' 2017 legislative seasons.

Observers wouldn't necessarily know that, however, by hanging out on the campaign trails this year.

Aside from school finance, teacher pay, and transgender students' access to bathrooms, education policy has mostly stayed out of the fray of this year's topsy-turvy election cycle.

But, among education scholars, advocates, and lobbyists, it's no secret that state elections this year matter greatly.


 By Daarel Burnette II |September 12, 2016


The Press of Atlantic City--State tells A.C. to withhold teachers' opt-out pay

The state Department of Education has told the Atlantic City school district not to pay teachers who opted out of the district health insurance benefits the stipend agreed to in their expired contract.

Many teachers will immediately lose thousands of dollars through a provision that allows them to be paid half the cost of their health insurance benefits if they opt out of the district plan and have coverage through a spouse.

Union members attended the school board meeting Tuesday to complain about the cut and that they had received no advance notice that the payments, which were to start Wednesday, would not be made.


DIANE D'AMICO, Staff writer | September 14, 2016