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Email: gscschools@gmail.com
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Garden State Coalition of Schools
Elisabeth Ginsburg, Executive Director
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Trenton, New Jersey 08608

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The Buzz

4-20-18 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Op-Ed: Camden’s Next School Superintendent Must Build on Predecessor’s Success The district is smaller, the politics has changed, but we still need to address major education challenges in New Jersey’s poorest city...'

Star Ledger--Will this end the Murphy vs. Sweeney feud over education nominee? Something happened Tuesday that could help diffuse a dramatic dispute between Gov. Phil Murphy and New Jersey's top lawmaker -- and bring the state closer to fixing its school funding problems...'

Star Ledger--3 days after smoking weed, kids brains go back to normal, study finds How long does marijuana leave young people dazed and confused? How long does it take for their brains to bounce back?...'

Star Ledger--A man confronted Phil Murphy about taxes. Here's how he responded. The man stood right in front of Gov. Phil Murphy and was blunt. "This state is too expensive, and you're making it worse," Greg from Freehold told the Democratic governor during a town hall in Newark on Thursday night...'

New York Times--25-Year-Old Textbooks and Holes in the Ceiling: Inside America’s Public Schools Broken laptops, books held together with duct tape, an art teacher who makes watercolors by soaking old markers...'

The Atlantic--Why American Students Haven't Gotten Better at Reading in 20 Years Schools usually focus on teaching comprehension skills instead of general knowledge—even though education researchers know better...'

Education Week--Students Are Walking Out Again to Protest Gun Violence: Is Anybody Listening? A second national student walkout is planned for Friday—on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre—to call attention to gun violence, press legislators to pass stricter gun measures, and promote political participation...'

4-13-18 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Lawmakers Want Voters to Approve $1B Bond Issue for School Safety and Vo-Techs Original bond was for $500M to upgrade NJ’s vocational-technical and community colleges, but legislators want to double it to improve school security...'

NJ Spotlight--Murphy and Sweeney: NJ Politics’ Great Divide ‘Festering feud’ between two most powerful pols in New Jersey gets uglier The Murphy-Sweeney divide got a little wider Thursday after Senate President Steve Sweeney pulled two cabinet nominations from Thursday’s Senate board list...'

NJ Spotlight--Opinion: Despite Potential Savings, New Jersey Has No Urge to Merge Consolidation has been a tough sell in the Garden State, as Sen. Sweeney has found. Residents want their ‘own’ police, fire departments, and elected officials...'

Star Ledger--Murphy hits top Democrat for blocking nominees. And he stresses they're African-American...'

Education Week--NAEP: Urban School Districts Improving Faster Than the Nation America's large urban districts have been improving faster than the nation as a whole, and mostly held onto those gains during the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress in reading and mathematics...'

4-12-18 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--After Complaints, Governor Willing to Rework Budget for School Funding? Acting state Treasurer gives assurance of Murphy’s cooperation in finding remedy, as lawmakers let her know they’ve been taking ‘public fire’ on the issue..."

Star Ledger--Top Democrat slams brakes on confirming Phil Murphy's picks to lead education in N.J. New Jersey's top lawmaker has slammed the brakes on the confirmation of Gov. Phil Murphy's nominees to lead the two state agencies in charge of education and colleges in New Jersey...'

Star Ledger--N.J. is yanking more and more teachers' licenses. Here's why. The end of a teaching career comes quickly and without much fanfare in Trenton...'

Star Ledger--Enough, Murphy says, as he signs law to keep N.J. schools from hiring teachers accused of sex abuse A historic law giving school administrators sweeping new powers to warn other districts about teachers accused of sexual abuse was signed Wednesday by Gov. Phil Murphy...'

Education Week--Treatment of Vulnerable Students Proves a Political Flashpoint in State ESSA Plans The Every Student Succeeds Act has maintained a core element of its predecessor, the No Child Left Behind Act, by requiring states to publicize the performance of students of color, children from low-income backgrounds, and others from important demographic groups, not just the overall student population...'

4-11-18 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--NJ Public Schools Perform on Par or Better on ‘Nation’s Report Card’ Despite progress among poor and minority students, achievement gaps must still be bridged In what is a biennial rite of spring, New Jersey’s public schools get a report card from the NAEP tests of student performance, gauging how schoolchildren measure up against other states in math, reading, and other subjects...'

Jersey Journal--Are SAT scores a reflection of the quality of the schools? Hudson County public schools did not make the grade when it came to SAT scores last year, with only four out of 21 testing above the state average...'

Star Ledger--Celebrate! N.J. apparently has the smartest fourth graders in America New Jersey's fourth graders have a reason to celebrate...'

Education Week-- ESSA Promised New Gauges of School Quality. Does It Deliver? Not everything about the Every Student Succeeds Act represents a break from precedent. But after the new federal K-12 law passed in 2015, one element sparked a lot of discussion and held the potential to plow new ground in federal education law: the requirement that states adopt a gauge of school performance that doesn't involve state test scores and graduation rates...'

4-10-18 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Op-Ed: Celebrating Our Preschool Success Research has found that the Abbott program produces persistent academic gains through the fifth grade for children enrolled in two years of preschool and narrowed achievement gaps — among other benefits...'

NJ Spotlight--Murphy Earmarks $53M for Statewide Expansion of Pre-K Governor says there’s ‘violent agreement’ about wisdom of investing in early education as he promotes funding for 5,300 new preschool slots...'

Times of Trenton--Murphy's free community college an investment in N.J.'s future    Editorial
Tennessee, Oregon, Kentucky, New York - these states and others have taken steps toward offering a tuition-free education at community colleges to residents as a proven way to produce a better prepared work force...'

Star Ledger--Phil Murphy says this is the 'smartest investment' N.J. can make New Jersey may soon pour millions more of taxpayer dollars into public pre-school programs -- and Gov. Phil Murphy calls that "the smartest investment" the state can make...'

Philadelphia Inquirer-- N.J. lawmakers hear school security concerns at hearing in Cherry Hill...'

Education Week-- ESSA Pressures States to Assure All Students Have Good Teachers Every student, no matter their race or family income level, should be taught by an effective teacher, the Every Student Succeeds Act declares. Exactly how to define what makes an effective teacher and how to implement this ambitious goal has been left up to the states—and their track records on getting started have been mixed...'

NBC News--High teacher turnover helps fuel educators' march on statehouses “I don’t know what I’m going to do,” one teacher said. “I love teaching and I love the kids, but I don’t know that I can continue to do it.”...'

4-9-18 Education in the News
Star Ledger--The 20 least educated towns in New Jersey New Jersey is a little smarter than the rest of the nation. Well, maybe not smarter — we've all seen that driver who can't remember what a blinker is for and cuts you off with no warning (not that I'm bitter or anything) — but we are more educated...'

Trenton Times-- More N.J. high schools should drop class ranks    Editorial
The Vineland school district is considering ditching its high school class-ranking system. It's a move we support wholeheartedly...'

New York Times-- Building Skills Outside the Classroom With New Ways of Learning What differentiates the Mayfield Innovation Center from traditional classrooms is evident not just in the virtual reality technology, the 3-D printers or the open architecture that make the two-floor, 30,000-square-foot building seem less of a secondary school than a Google satellite office...'

New York Times--For the ACT and the SAT, Pencils No Longer Required, but Sometimes Necessary For the first time this Tuesday, the 70-member junior class of Chisholm High School in Enid, Okla., will sit for the SAT college entrance exam, but almost all the students will be clicking through Chromebooks instead of blackening bubbles with a No. 2 pencil...'

4-6-18 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Op-Ed: An Investment in STEM Is an Investment in New Jersey’s Future STEM education must be maximized, and we must make sure that women, blacks, and Latinos are among those that receive this essential training This month, we are celebrating New Jersey’s commitment to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in honor of NJ STEM Month. Throughout the state, students, schools, parents, businesses, employees, and program providers will be promoting STEM activities and showcasing their work...'

Star Ledger--'You are going to hell!' crowd erupts after vote to make it harder to skip vaccines Parents erupted in anger Thursday after state lawmakers advanced a bill that would make it harder for families in New Jersey to avoid getting their children shots based on religious grounds...'

Washington Post/Associated Press (via Philadelphia Inquirer)-- What striking teachers teach us    Opinion
To “reading, writing and arithmetic,” we can now add “solidarity.” The new teacher activism — born in West Virginia and spreading to Oklahoma, Kentucky and Arizona — is not a flash in the pan. And it’s about more than the demand for higher wages and benefits. It is a revolt against decades of policies that gutted public institutions...'

Press of Atlantic City--N.J. School Boards offering training on opioid crisis TRENTON — Responding to the ongoing opioid epidemic sweeping the state, the New Jersey School Boards Association is offering training for local school board members next week...'

The New York Times--Homework Therapists’ Job: Help Solve Math Problems, and Emotional Ones...'

4-5-18 Education in the News
Star Ledger--Charter schools are expanding to new turf in N.J. and bringing Deep in South Jersey, on the sprawling grounds of a summer camp surrounded by rolling farmland, Upper Pittsgrove Township is about to have something in common with the state's big cities. The Salem County town, marked by cornfields and country roads, will soon play host to a charter school -- perhaps the most visible sign yet of the controversial and far-reaching expansion of school choice in New Jersey...'

Star Ledger--Facing anger and tears at town hall, Phil Murphy vows to fix N.J.'s school funding woes The town hall crowd showed up Wednesday night in Willingboro to lambaste Gov. Phil Murphy over how New Jersey will dole out aid to public schools in his first state budget proposal...'

Jersey Journal--Group appeals ruling in lawsuit over taxpayer-funded teachers union gigs A conservative watchdog, seeking to end Jersey City school district's policy of allowing two teachers to work full time as union officials, is appealing a judge's ruling from October that dismissed its lawsuit against the district...'

Washington Post--Education Secretary Betsy DeVos asked whether leakers could be prosecuted, internal report shows Education Secretary Betsy DeVos asked her department’s Office of Inspector General whether grounds existed to prosecute employees who leaked budget data to The Washington Post and unclassified information to Politico, according to an internal department report. The response: It would be challenging, because the department has “little” written policy or guidance on how employees are supposed to handle information...'

NPR--How To Find A School Your Kids Will Love (And That You Will, Too) "Creativity now is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status." That's one of the many quotes that has made Sir Ken Robinson's 2006 lecture on rethinking the nation's schools become one of the most popular TED talks — with more than 50 million views...'

Education Week--DeVos Meets With Supporters, Critics of Discipline Rules as GAO Says Racial Disparities Persist U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos met with supporters and critics of an Obama-era directive on school discipline Wednesday as she considers whether to rescind the document...'

4-4-18 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Democratic Heavy Hitters Ready to Revise Murphy’s Budget Plan Sweeney, Sarlo make no bones about wanting changes to governor’s proposals on taxes and on funding for education State Democratic lawmakers are sending clear signals they are ready to rewrite major sections of newly installed Gov. Phil Murphy’s proposed budget, particularly in the areas of taxes and K-12 education funding...'

Star Ledger--The top 50 elementary and middle schools in N.J.'s new state ratings In a state with more than 2,000 elementary and middle schools serving students of all backgrounds, it seems nearly impossible to determine which ones are doing best. But that hasn't stopped New Jersey from trying...'

NY Times-- ‘I Can’t Stop’: Schools Struggle With Vaping Explosion

Liz Blackwell, a school nurse in Boulder, Colo., showed a collection of vape pens that had been confiscated from students during a presentation at Nevin Platt Middle School in March. Credit Nick Cote for The New York Times The student had been caught vaping in school three times before he sat in the vice principal’s office at Cape Elizabeth High School in Maine this winter and shamefacedly admitted what by then was obvious. “I can’t stop,” he told the vice principal, Nate Carpenter...'

4-3-18 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight-- N.J. may make it tougher for kids to skip vaccines for religious reasons State law requires all school children to get a battery of vaccinations when they reach a certain age. But parents are allowed to opt-out if they write a letter simply stating "immunization interferes with the free exercise" of their family's religious rights...'

Education Week--Teacher Pay: How Salaries, Pensions, and Benefits Work in Schools Teacher pay has been in headlines across the country recently: Educators in Oklahoma and West Virginia successfully forced the legislature to pass pay raises in early 2018, and teachers in Arizona were demanding lawmakers there do the same. Teaching has long been viewed as a low-paid job, but much more goes into teachers’ compensation than just the take-home paychecks...'

4-2-18 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--New Jersey’s Troubling Trend, Increase in Bias and Hate Crimes State attorney general says rise in reported incidents partly the result of country’s ‘political leaders’ who countenance ‘intolerance and hatred’ The number of bias and hate crimes in New Jersey rose in 2016, mirroring a national trend that many people – including the state’s attorney general – attribute to the campaign and election of Donald Trump. Attorney General Gurbir Grewal discussed the 417 reported hate crimes in New Jersey in 2016, a nearly 14 percent increase over the prior year, during a forum on the topic at Rutgers University last week. The most recent statistics available that track hate crimes are for 2016...'

Asbury Park Press--Manalapan school chief: Social media lets threat rumors fly ENGLISHTOWN - What is going to be done? That's what schools chief John Marciante wants to know. What is going to be done after his Manalapan-Englishtown Regional school district saw its most recent social media scare?...'

The Washington Post—Op-Ed--People are saying education reform hasn’t worked. Don’t believe them. Lately, a lot of people in Washington are saying that education reform hasn’t worked very well. Don’t believe it...'

Education Week-- Push for Higher Teacher Pay Has a New Starting Point: Facebook The successful West Virginia teacher strike has lit the match for a spate of teacher uprisings across the country. The main place teachers are gathering to strategize? Facebook. Although Facebook has been under fire lately for its involvement in a data-harvesting effort that may have influenced the 2016 election, for teachers, the embattled social-media platform has recently proved a lever for democracy...'

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The Special Education Task Force Report was released  in November 2015. GSCS, a Task Force member,  looks forward to discussion on this important topic under the Murphy administration.  See below for a link to the report.

Final Report of NJ Task Force on Improving Special Education for Public School Students


Garden State Coalition of Schools
160 W. State Street, Trenton New Jersey 08608