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9-8-16 Education in the News

Star Ledger--'Amazing' Montclair district opposes French charter school

TRENTON — Montclair doesn't want a charter school, Montclair doesn't need a charter school and the state shouldn't force Montclair to have a charter school, local residents and school officials say.

That's the message the district superintendent, school board president and parents  brought to the state Board of Education on Wednesday, the latest salvo in an ongoing campaign to kill a French-language charter school proposed in the affluent town with a reputation for good schools. 

"Montclair is not a failing school district," interim Superintendent Ronald Bolandi said as a group of parents watched in approval. "Montclair is a wonderful school system. Parents support it... that's not the case in many times when charter schools are approved." 

While many of New Jersey's charter schools have opened in urban districts with low test scores and poor reputations, state law allows a charter school to open in any community if the applicant can illustrate a need. 

The proposed Montclair Charter School hopes to open in 2017 with 250 students in grades K-4 and eventually expand to 450 students from kindergarten through eighth grade, according to its application.


Adam Clark | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com|September 07, 2016 at 9:08 AM, updated September 07, 2016 at 6:35 PM


Star Ledger--Christie: Private schools will get state money for security

CALDWELL — Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday signed into a law a bill that give private schools state funding for security costs.

Speaking at Grover Cleveland Middle School on Tuesday morning, the governor signed into law the "Secure Schools for All Children Act," which establishes a state aid for security services and equipment at private schools at a cost of up to $75 per student enrolled.

"If parents choose to send their children to a parochial or private school in New Jersey, there's no reason for them to be concerned about their children's safety," said Christie.

"The safety of children no matter where they go to school is the responsibility of government."

The governor said that the new law provided "an extra degree of safety" for students and piece of mind for parents, "especially our religious schools, where at times, the fervor of the day, whatever the issues are of the day that cause conflict around the world between religions, can visit themselves into local schools."


Claude Brodesser-Akner | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com| September 07, 2016 at 8:30 AM, updated September 07, 2016 at 10:06 AM


New York Times--The Title: Parent Coordinator. The Job: Whatever Needs to Be Done

As the parent coordinator at the Community Action School on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Karla Fittipaldi said she usually works at least 10-hour days. Credit Ángel Franco/The New York Times

Event planners. Choreographers. Designated hand-holders. Fonts of information. Lice-checkers in chief.

These are among the many roles parent coordinators play in New York City’s public schools, and as the city’s 1.1 million schoolchildren return to class on Thursday, their busy season is about to begin.

“The kids are excited,” Caren Austen, the parent coordinator at East Side Middle School, on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, said of the first day for new sixth graders. “The parents look shellshocked.”

The job of the parent coordinator was introduced by the Bloomberg administration 13 years ago, and today, every public elementary and middle school, as well as some high schools, has one. They are often parents of public-school students themselves. They are armed with State Education Department cellphones and are often charged with answering ho-hum questions with which parents do not want to bother the principal: What color socks does the uniform require? May my child wear her hair in braids? Are after-school programs canceled today?

A parent coordinator serves as the school’s point person for students’ families, but beyond that, the position is loosely defined. Given the vastness and variance of the city’s school system, this means the job could look completely different from one school to the next, a revealing measure of the needs of the parents — and how accustomed they are to having those needs met.