2-23-18 Education in the News
New Jersey Spotlight--Interactive Map: Highlighting the Results of New Jersey's AP Tests More June graduates took and passed their AP exams than in prior years, but poorer districts continue to lag in the number of test-takers...'
Jersey Journal--Should teachers be armed with guns? During a listening session at the White House with survivors of last week's Florida school shooting, President Donald Trump said he would consider a proposal to arm school teachers to prevent future tragedy. The president said "teachers and coaches ... would have a concealed gun on them. They'd go for special training."...'
Star Ledger--Teachers shouldn't have guns, can't 'shoot our way to safety,' says NJEA Arming teachers with guns would make schools less safe and convert them to "armed fortresses of fear," the state's largest teachers union said Thursday, adding that teachers "cannot shoot our way to safety." In a statement, The New Jersey Education Association sharply rejected President Donald Trump's assertion that schools could be safer if some teachers were allowed to carried concealed guns...'
The Record--Editorial: NJ students mobilize against gun violence NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch, addressing a conservative political conference, says "many in legacy media love mass shootings, you guys love it." (Feb. 22) AP No one can deny the courage and gumption shown in recent days by students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, who have stood together, faced down taunts and bravely spoken up to bring greater awareness to the need for greater gun control after seeing 17 people at their school shot and killed by a disturbed former student on Valentine’s Day...'
Education Week--Trump Suggests Bonuses for Teachers Trained to Use Guns During a School Shooting President Donald Trump said Thursday he'd like to see bonuses for teachers willing to carry firearms to protect their students from an active school shooter. And he said he wants to make federal money available to provide school staff "additional training" to use firearms properly...'
2-22-18 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Poll: Can We Prevent a Parkland Tragedy in New Jersey? Is there anything that can be done to protect students and teachers from becoming targets of an active shooter? In the wake of the Parkland, FL, school shooting, which left 17 students and teachers dead, New Jersey parents are asking if their own children are safe and what can be done to make sure a similar tragedy doesn't happen here...'
Jersey Journal—Op-Ed--Are you encouraged by the students rallying for gun control? Students took to the streets yesterday one week after a school shooting claimed 17 lives at a Florida high school. Teens across the national also walked out of their classes in solidarity with the survivors of the deadliest high school shooting in modern American history. Students ascended on the Florida Statehouse, among them more than 100 survivors of the massacre, to call for changes to gun laws, a ban on assault-type weapons and improved care for the mentally ill...'
Star Ledger--Is your school prepared? 7 questions to ask after Florida school shooting School communities around New Jersey have been reacting in various ways to last week’s mass shooting in Florida: parents in Nutley demanding armed guards and metal detectors after a chilling Instagram post; police charging an East Brunswick student with posting a threat on social media; Edison school officials offering assurances on Facebook that there was no credible threat to the district and announcing creation of a school safety committee to review current procedures. There are some state mandates for school security, including safety training for all staff and a minimum of eight drills per year — apart from 10 mandatory fire drills — to prepare students for bomb threats, lock downs, non-fire evacuations and active shooter situations...'
The Record--School walkouts planned across New Jersey, as students say 'never again' to shootings Students across New Jersey will join a national walkout on March 14, part of a national show of activism. Students in schools across New Jersey are planning to walk out of their classrooms on March 14 as part of a national show of activism to call for an end to gun violence in the wake of the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida...'
NY Times--11 of the Most Dramatic Moments in a Day of Confrontation Over Guns Andrew Pollack, whose daughter Meadow was killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., addressed President Trump at the White House on Wednesday. Credit Tom Brenner/The New York Times It was a day of tense exchanges, emotion-packed speeches and confrontation as lawmakers, students and parents sparred on Wednesday over what to do about shootings in American schools...'
Education Week--Trump: Nation Should Consider Arming Teachers to Prevent School Shootings After hearing the heartbreaking stories of school shooting survivors and of parents who have lost children in massacres, President Donald Trump said Wednesday that the country should seriously consider arming educators and training them to use weapons to deal with mass shootings. If Aaron Feis, the assistant football coach at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, had a gun, he might have been able to prevent the deaths of 17 students and educators at the Parkland, Fla. school, Trump said during a listening session at the White House with a group of parents, students, and others affected by school violence...'
2-21-18 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--NJ to Review School Safety as Parents Demand More after Florida Slaughter Governor announces state and law enforcement will examine whether enough is being done in schools to protect children from possibility of gun violence In the wake of the mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida, Gov. Phil Murphy along with Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced they will be reviewing New Jersey’s current school safety directives. Parents, meanwhile, are demanding more action to protect their children...'
Star Ledger--The top 50 high schools in N.J., according to the state's new ratings Where can you find New Jersey's top-rated high schools? It's a question that's never really had an official answer — until now. For the first time, the state Department of Education has published a rating for each public high school on a scale of 0-100, allowing residents to see exactly how their local school compares to hundreds of other high schools across the state...'
The Record--From the editor: We cannot ignore the anger & fear of our #NeverAgain kids in North Jersey They should be thinking about the end of classes and choosing a college. Or focusing on next week’s history quiz. Sweating over that science project that’s almost due. Even contemplating what to wear and who to ask to fast-approaching proms. Instead, they are haunted by another school massacre...'
Education Week--'I Worry Every Day': Lockdown Drills Prompt Fear, Self-Reflection After School Shooting Every few months, the children in Kelly Myers’ preschool class in Roanoke, Va., go to a corner of their classroom and hide. Myers puts a barricade under the door knob to jam it closed and turns off the lights. Then, the children, who are 2 ½ to 3 ½ years old, sit quietly in the dark until the all-clear. Often, students start to cry...'
2-20-18 Education in the News
Star Ledger--N.J. teens lead rally against gun violence, say 'Congress is doing nothing' A group of students led a rally against gun violence Monday on the steps of the Ocean County Library in Toms River. The rally was led by students from the Toms River School District and was attended by parents, Congressional candidates and concerned citizens alike...'
2-19-18 Education in the News
National Public Radio--How To Talk With Kids About Terrible Things For the more than 3,000 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Wednesday's mass shooting was terrifying and life-changing. But what of the tens of millions of other children, in schools across the country, who have since heard about what happened and now struggle with their own feelings of fear, confusion and uncertainty?...'
Star Ledger--This N.J. school district is adding armed police after Florida shooting In the days since a school shooting killed 17 in Florida, repercussions of the tragic event have traveled up the East Coast to New Jersey where many school districts are faced with the challenge of reassuring parents and students that they will be safe on school property...'
Star Ledger--See how your high school's graduation rate stacks up against the rest in N.J. New Jersey's high school graduation rate climbed for the sixth year in a row last year with 90.5 percent of the state's students earning a diploma, state officials announced Friday...'
Education Week--Parkland Students Want to Know: Will the Shooting at Their School Change Gun Laws? Parkland, Fla. Students and community members grieving the largest mass shooting at an American high school express a common sentiment that’s as much a challenge as it is a prediction: Nothing will change...'
2-16-18 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Effort Advances to Circumvent Trump Property-Tax Hit, but Questions Remain NJ lawmakers push ahead with creative maneuver to stave off new federal limit on tax write-offs. Skeptics still maintain IRS won’t accept the workaround While Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration is getting ready to go to federal court to challenge a cap that was recently placed on a longstanding federal tax write-off for state and local taxes, lawmakers in Trenton are advancing a bill that would use some creative accounting to help recapture the deduction for New Jersey homeowners...'
Associated Press (via Press of Atlantic City)--Murphy says 'we need action' after fatal school shooting TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy says he was "staggered" by the fatal shooting at a Florida high school and that "we need action." Murphy addressed the shooting Thursday at an unrelated event in Trenton...'
Education Week--'I Didn't Want Them to Panic': Amid Chaos, Teacher Sheltered Students in Fla. School Parkland, Fla. By the time Jim Gard realized he needed to lock down his classroom Wednesday, many of his students were out of reach...'
2-15-18 Education in the News
NJTV-News (via New Jersey Spotlight)--Call for Action to Protect Children in New Jersey from Lead Poisoning Thousands of children in Garden State have shown elevated levels of lead in their blood. Advocates say issue is urgent despite high price tag...'
Asbury Park Press--Are school report cards making the grade? New Jersey recently released its latest public-school ratings, which this year incorporate a new numerical grade summarizing each school’s overall performance. The results, which include some surprisingly low scores and wide variations within individual districts, have already generated controversy and concern...'
Press of Atlantic City—Op-Ed--Our view: Good higher-ed ideas alone not enough to hold onto millennials Landing. Dompierre graduated from a vocational school as a graphic designer, became a restaurant waiter, then a costume designer, and now owns an interior design business. In 2016, the N.J. Business & Industry Association reported the state was losing an alarming number of residents and economic activity to outmigration...'
2-14-18 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Closing Loophole in Law Protecting Students Against Sexual Predators Right now, teachers accused of sexual misconduct can change schools without a report about their behavior following them Your child tells you they were abused by their teacher, a sexual predator, and you bring this to the school administration. The school system immediately takes action by suspending the teacher but also agrees to a nondisclosure agreement that allows the teacher to resign and find a job elsewhere without informing their new employer about the allegations...'
Education Week--D.C.'s Scandal and the Nationwide Problem of Fudging Graduation Numbers The headlines made a big splash, and yet they were strangely familiar: Another school system was reporting a higher graduation rate than it deserved. The most recent scandal—in the District of Columbia—is just the latest example in a growing case file of school systems where investigators have uncovered bogus graduation-rate practices...'
2-13-18 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Poor Students Still Not Getting Breakfast in Many NJ Schools Report indicates that New Jersey remains 19th in country for participation in school breakfast program, essentially the position it held in previous school year Though it's made great strides in recent years, New Jersey's school breakfast program has reached a plateau, according to a new national report. The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) released its annual School Breakfast Report Card for 2016-2017. It shows New Jersey remains 19th in the country for its low-income student participation rate in the school breakfast program — the same position it held the previous school year, but up from the 23rd in 2014-2015 and an abysmal 48th in 2011...'
New Jersey Spotlight--Opinion: Sweeney Reminds New Governor, NJEA Who's Really in Charge The president of the senate emerges unscathed from a blitz of negative ads ordered up by the teachers union, makes it clear that he's as much a policymaker as Murphy Senate President Steve Sweeney's line-in-the-sand declaration that a tax increase is "an absolute last resort" and should await the outcome of a comprehensive review of how government raises and spends revenue was quickly interpreted as a blunt reminder to Gov. Phil Murphy that the Legislature is co-equal in stature and power...'
Education Week--Trump Seeks to Cut Education Budget by 5 Percent, Expand School Choice Push President Donald Trump is seeking a roughly 5 percent cut to the U.S. Department of Education's budget for fiscal 2019 in a proposal that also mirrors his spending plan from last year by seeking to eliminate a major teacher-focused grant and to expand school choice. Trump's proposed budget, released Monday, would provide the Education Department with $63.2 billion in discretionary aid, a $3.6 billion cut—or 5.3 percent— from current spending levels, for the budget year starting Oct. 1. That's actually less of a cut than what the president sought for fiscal 2018, when he proposed slashing $9.2 billion—or 13.5 percent—from the department...'
2-12-18 Education in the News
Star Ledger--Students keep being left behind on school buses. Is technology the solution? It happens about once every two weeks during the school year. A student, drowsy from getting up in the early morning hours and standing on the bus stop in the cold, falls asleep on the way to school and wakes up hours later in an unfamiliar parking lot, surrounded by yellow buses. A mother, already at work for the day, gets a message from the district asking why her child — the one she watched get on the bus — isn’t in elementary school...'
Press of Atlantic City—Op-Ed--County career-tech programs more cost-effective than local ones (0) As the national celebration of Career and Technical Education Month begins, the time is right for a new dialogue about education that values career readiness equally with college acceptance. The economic future of South Jersey depends on a well-educated and technically trained workforce to support growth in key industry sectors like health care, aviation, manufacturing and hospitality...'
The Atlantic--A Math Class That Makes Tax Season Easier As soon as Caitlin Scull started her stopwatch, her classmate began texting. “You want it to be real,” their teacher, Eric Gurule, told Scull and her partner. The student was texting with two hands—which few people do while driving. The girl switched to just her right hand, holding her phone low near her waist as she pantomimed driving a car. “I’ll see you soon,” she texted her friend. The watch stopped. 6.82 seconds...'
New York Times--In Her Words: Education Secretary Betsy DeVos Assesses a Year on the Job For a year now, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has been trying to give away her $199,700 salary...'
Education Week--Parties Gird for Supreme Court Showdown Over Union Fees Is there any reasonable chance that the teachers’ unions and other public-employee labor groups can pull off an unexpected victory in the latest U.S. Supreme Court battle over a 40-year-old precedent that has been a bedrock of their financial and bargaining strength?...'
2-9-18 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Interactive Map: Tracking the Spread of Flu Across New Jersey This year’s outbreak could match or even exceed the severity of the H1N1 pandemic of 2009 Cases of the flu continued to rise over the past week, with the total number almost double what it was at this time last year and doctors saying this year’s illness could match or even surpass the numbers infected by the H1N1 pandemic of 2009...'
Star Ledger--N.J. schools should have 'Black Lives Matter' week, says teachers union February is Black History Month in New Jersey schools, but the state's largest teachers union says schools should be teaching more than the important historical stories of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. The New Jersey Education Association is calling for schools to participate in the national Black Lives Matter in Schools Week and teach lessons about structural racism and other race-related issues...'
Associated Press (Via Press of Atlantic City)--DC graduation scandal shows how chronic absenteeism threatens America's schools Each year in the United States, approximately 5 to 7.5 million students in the nation’s K-12 schools miss a month or more of school. That means 150 to 225 million instructional days are lost every school year. The problem is more pronounced in low-income urban communities throughout the country. In elementary school, for example, students who live in poverty were found to be as much as five times more likely to be chronically absent than their advantaged peers...'
The Atlantic--The New Tax Law’s Subtle Subversion of Public Schools The law will facilitate private-school attendance and put more obstacles in front of the neediest students. American public schools have long been, and remain, deeply unequal. At the most dilapidated and underperforming schools, teachers are blamed for stagnant graduation rates, students are derided for low tests scores, and parents are chastised for not being involved. Too often, however, scrutiny of these schools’ performance doesn’t take into account the structural factors that have contributed to their outcomes. One of the most significant factors contributing to the chasm of educational opportunity is the way that schools are funded...'
2-8-18 Education in the News
The Record--Is your school on the list of 'State Schools of Character'? Respectful, optimistic, compassionate, kind and empathetic team players have earned a Denville school a spot on the State Schools of Character list. The Riverview Elementary School, along with 21 others from New Jersey, will be honored this spring by the New Jersey Alliance for Social, Emotional and Character Development. Also on the list from the northern New Jersey area are: Montville’s Robert R. Lazar Middle School, Apshawa and Westbrook elementary school in West Milford as well as West Milford High School and Unity Charter School in Morristown...'
The Record--Phil Murphy campaign promise tracker: On minimum wage, PARCC testing, NJ Transit and more Gov. Phil Murphy made a lot of promises while running for governor. Now he has to try to fulfill them. The Record and NorthJersey.com have compiled a list of those promises and is publishing them here as a way of informing the public and to hold Murphy accountable...'
Politico--How Betsy DeVos softened her message on school choice Trump’s most controversial Cabinet member backs away from divisive rhetoric. Betsy DeVos became famous — and infamous in some quarters — as the leader of an education movement that pushed for public funding for private schools, including religious education. But a year into her tenure as President Donald Trump’s Education secretary, DeVos generally steers clear of the words, “school choice,” a phrase she once used often that's freighted with racial, demographic and religious implications. Instead, she opts for gentler terms such as “innovation” and “blended learning,” and speaks of coming together and “finding solutions.”...'
Education Week--Betsy DeVos: A One-Year Progress Report U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos took the oath of office on Feb. 7, 2017, which means that this week marks her first anniversary as the head of the Department of Education. Her first year in office has been a bumpy ride. DeVos had decades of experience championing school choice before joining the Trump Cabinet. She'd been the head of the American Federation for Children, a school choice advocacy and political organization, but she had no experience working professionally in government, or in public education...'
2-7-18 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Can Murphy Live Up to His Promises About Higher Education? The new governor’s intentions are good, but he has yet to offer much in the way of specifics concerning his strategy New Jersey’s public colleges and universities had a rough decade under former Govs. Chris Christie and Jon Corzine, with state funding flat or falling and enrollments on the rise. The election of Phil Murphy was seen as a hopeful turn.
NJ Spotlight--Tension in Trenton: Do Murphy and Sweeney Have Issues to Resolve? For a Democratic governor with a Democratic Legislature, Murphy’s first few weeks at the helm have not been smooth sailing For Democrats in the state, Gov. Phil Murphy’s election last year marked the beginning of a new era in New Jersey politics, one in which the party — now in control of both the Legislature and the executive branch — would be free to move forward on a range of policy initiatives, many of which had been previously kept out of reach by two-term Republican Gov. Chris Christie...'
Star Ledger--N.J. schools should have mandatory recess, politicians insist in years-long fight Chris Christie once called the idea of mandatory school recess "stupid" and "crazy government run amok." But Christie isn't governor anymore, and the mandatory recess bill he vetoed during his presidential campaign is back yet again...'
Press of Atlantic City--Repollet takes helm as acting New Jersey education commissioner TRENTON – Former Asbury Park Superintendent Lamont Repollet assumed the role of New Jersey’s acting commissioner of education last week, replacing Commissioner Kimberley Harrington. Repollet was appointed last month by Gov. Phil Murphy as he prepared to take office and is awaiting confirmation by the state Senate...'
2-6-18 Education in the News
Star Ledger--Fewer N.J. adults are getting their GED. Here's why. When test makers overhauled the GED nearly four years ago, they said the new computerized version of the high school equivalency test would be a better, more accurate exam than the old pencil-and-paper version. But, fewer New Jerseyans are taking a high school equivalency test in the wake of the 2014 makeover of the test, according to a new report by Rutgers University researchers...'
The Record--Bill would offer grants, loan forgiveness to keep teachers on the job Teachers would get grants, loan forgiveness and bigger tax exemptions under a new bill. Teachers would get grants, loan forgiveness and bigger tax exemptions under a bill unveiled by Democratic New Jersey lawmakers Friday that aims to attract more people to the field and keep them there...'
Philadelphia Inquirer--In N.J., new administration giving 'pause' to charter schools Kindergartners spun around in hula hoops and chased each other across a gym floor at Camden’s Pride Charter School this week, a joyful explosion of energy as recess began. Most of them likely will stay with the charter network until they graduate from high school, predicts Superintendent Joe Conway. Demand has grown at his Camden’s Promise network, which enrolls 2,000 students, up from 100 sixth graders in 1998. But Conway and other charter operators are concerned about what their future holds under the Gov. Murphy administration...'
2-5-18 Education in the News
Press of Atlantic City—Op-Ed--Our view: State’s teacher of the year deserves unprecedented national honor South Jersey teachers have done well in the annual state Governor’s Educator of the Year program. In the past two decades, six times the state honor has gone to teachers from the southern region — including 1999 from Ocean City, 2003 and 2013 from Gloucester County, 2011 from Burlington County, and 2015 from Salem County...'
NY Times--Republicans Stuff Education Bill With Conservative Social Agenda Religious colleges would be able to bar openly same-sex relationships without fear of repercussions. Religious student groups could block people who do not share their faith from becoming members. Controversial speakers would have more leverage when they want to appear at colleges. A 590-page higher-education bill working its way through Congress is a wish list for a wide range of people, groups and colleges saying that their First Amendment rights — freedom of speech, religion or assembly — are being trampled...'
Education Week--Betsy DeVos Opens Up ESSA Pilot Allowing Federal Money to Follow Students School districts: Interested in having your local, state, and federal funding follow children, so that kids with greater need have more money attached to them? Now's your chance. The U.S. Department of Education is officially opening up the "Weighted Student Funding Pilot" in the Every Student Succeeds Act. The department can allow up to 50 districts to participate initially, and ESSA leaves open the possibility of opening that up to more districts down the line...'
2-2-18 Educaiton in the News
NJ Spotlight--Profile: Newark Interim Superintendent Could Be in for the Long Haul Robert Gregory rises through the school ranks as Newark regains local control Name: Robert Gregory Position: Interim Superintendent of Newark Public Schools Why he matters: Gregory takes the helm of the 36,000-student school district in its first steps of local control, starting yesterday, after 22 years of state operation. A former principal and assistant superintendent in the district, he was named to serve as the interim for the next several months as the newly empowered school board launches a search for a more long-term leader...'
Star Ledger--Newark finally gets control of schools -- What we learned about N.J.'s state takeovers For the last three years, Newark's school superintendent has been trying to work himself out of a job. He's finally succeeded...'
Philadelphia Inquirer--Camden School Superintendent Paymon Rouhanifard: I love my job.' Will Gov. Murphy keep him?
2-1-18 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Murphy Team’s Budget Wish List Could Get Cool Reception in Legislature There are already signs that some proposals from governor’s advisory committee will meet resistance in the State House State budget advisers say that for all of New Jersey’s fiscal problems, they see a number of steps the state can realistically take that have the potential to improve New Jersey’s notoriously poor standing. They include increasing funding for the public-employee pension system, padding rainy-day budget reserves, and reducing the use of one-time revenue gimmicks...'
NJ Spotlight--After 22 Years, Newark Enters New Era of Local Governance As city reclaims control of its schools, leaders want to get it right For two decades, votes cast by Newark's elected school board have carried mostly symbolic weight. Today, as the board reclaims control of the city's schools after a 22-year state takeover, even its smallest decisions will acquire new significance...'
Washington Post--The Daily 202: Koch network laying groundwork to fundamentally transform America’s education system INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — The Koch network will spend around $400 million on politics and policy this election cycle, but that’s only part of a grander effort to fundamentally transform America. Making a long-term play, the billionaire industrialist Charles Koch and his like-minded friends on the right are increasingly focused on melding the minds of the next generation by making massive, targeted investments in both K-12 and higher education. Changing the education system as we know it was a central focus of a three-day donor seminar that wrapped up late last night at a resort here in the desert outside Palm Springs. “We’ve made more progress in the last five years than I had in the last 50,” Koch told donors during a cocktail reception. “The capabilities we have now can take us to a whole new level. … We want to increase the effectiveness of the network … by an order of magnitude. If we do that, we can change the trajectory of the country.”...'
Do Students Really Need Grades? Teachers Are Divided Do grades provide an accurate snapshot of a student's performance? Or are they anxiety-producing scores that prevent educators from focusing on true learning? In an Education Week opinion essay by Mark Barnes, the creator and publisher of the popular Hack Learning book series, he writes that gradeless classrooms are a "brave new world" that more educators need to embrace...'
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.
Garden State Coalition of Schools