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2-8-19 Education in the News

NJ Spotlight--Stop-Gap Attempt to ‘Avoid Chaos’ as Court Action Awaited in PARCC Case

A court’s recent strike-down of PARCC graduation requirements has led to widespread confusion. Lawmakers try to keep the requirements in place for current juniors and seniors

Two efforts are ongoing to maintain passage of the PARCC test as a state graduation requirement — just for the next few years — in order to ensure continuity for today’s high school students. Either measure will depend on the support of Gov. Phil Murphy who has long promised to eliminate PARCC testing and has yet to weigh in on allowing its continued use.


Carly Sitrin | February 8, 2019


NJ Spotlight--Lawmakers Seeking More Diversity Among NJ’s Public School Teachers

Tackling thorny issue in a state where minorities are 56 percent of student enrollments, while just 16 percent of teachers are non-white

In a state where public-school teachers are predominantly white and do not come close to reflecting the diversity of their students, lawmakers began a conversation Thursday to hear what state officials and colleges are already doing and what else can be done to correct the imbalance.

For nearly three hours, a joint meeting of the Senate Education and Higher Education Committees heard a host of ideas for attracting more African-Americans, Latinos and men into teaching. The suggestions included changes in teacher-preparation requirements, more targeted recruitment efforts, a revamped alternate route to teaching programs and increased pay for student teachers and the profession as a whole.


Colleen O'Dea | February 8, 2019



Star Ledger--Terrified of school shootings, N.J. now wants prison guards to protect kids

First there were the school lockdown drills, followed by the buzzer systems and fortified entrances. Now comes the next step in the escalating hardening of schools: ex-prisons guards and retired Fish and Wildlife officers patrolling the campus with their guns.

Fueled by fear and constrained by finances, New Jersey school districts have been steadily adding part-time police officers to guard their buildings in the wake of last year’s deadly shooting in Parkland, Florida.

But state lawmakers say the supply of retired police officers eligible to fill those posts is running low. Their solution? Allow a wide-ranging assortment of retired law enforcement to serve as part-time cops dedicated solely to defending local schools.


Adam Clark | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com| Updated Feb 7, 12:39 PM; Posted 7:30 AM


NY Times--Cleaner Classrooms and Rising Scores: With Tighter Oversight, Head Start Shows Gains

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — When federal officials inspected this city’s Head Start program five years ago, they found moldy classrooms, exposed wires, leaking sewage, a sagging roof and trash-strewn playgrounds littered with safety hazards. A teacher had jerked a student so hard she dislocated the girl’s shoulder.

The visitors were so alarmed at the neglect that they began changing diapers themselves. What they did next was even more unusual: They fired the nonprofit running the program, the Urban League, and chose a new one.

Now run by Lutheran Services Florida, Jacksonville’s Head Start program has cleaner classrooms, more teachers with college degrees, a full-time teaching coach and rising scores on the federal government’s main yardstick of classroom quality. Once in the lowest 10 percent nationwide, Jacksonville now has scores that approach the national average.


Jason DeParle| Feb. 4, 2019


Education Week--How to Differentiate Instruction (Without Losing Your Mind)

Instructional expert and esteemed blogger Larry Ferlazzo wants you to know: Differentiation isn't as hard as you might think. 

In an animated video published by Education Week this fall, he explained that differentiating instruction is really about getting to know your students and being flexible with the ways they demonstrate their learning. It is not, in fact, about spending your evenings planning a separate lesson for each student. 


Liana Loewus on February 6, 2019 10:56 AM