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2-24-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--The Nuclear Option: Will Christie Budget Blow Up School Funding? Educators, parents, advocates have been working for months to come up with a plan to countermand the governor’s ‘Fairness Formula’ The discussions started back in the fall, when Gov. Chris Christie was heavily promoting his controversial “Fairness Formula” for school funding, a scheme that would essentially blow up how the state pays for its public schools. Initially led by the New Jersey Education Association, advocacy groups including the Education Law Center and the state NAACP started discussing how to come up with a strategy for what to do if Christie actually imposed his plan on the state. Four months later, the big test is coming on Tuesday with Christie’s next — and last — state budget plan for New Jersey. Conjecture is rampant about what the governor is planning for school funding, the biggest piece of the budget pie...'

Star Ledger--N.J. education groups to Christie: Your new school funding plan would cause chaos TRENTON -- Education advocacy groups on Thursday called on Gov. Chris Christie to resist including his own drastic school funding restructuring plan in his state budget proposal next week, and said such a move would energize opponents of the funding scheme. Christie's overhaul, which he calls the "fairness formula," would shift millions in state aid from urban and low-income districts in order to provide tax relief to 75 percent of the state's school districts...'

Star Ledger--These 2 N.J. school districts are leading the nation in character development Two New Jersey school districts were among a small number recognized nationally as "Districts of Character" for their work teaching kids what it means to have good character. Cherry Hill Public Schools in Camden County and New Providence School District in Union County made Character.org's list of Districts of Character for 2017, while 23 schools in the state were named Schools of Character...'

Associated Press (via Press of Atlantic City)--Advocates seek state protections for transgender students Trenton, N.J. (AP) — Advocates are calling on New Jersey education officials to establish statewide rules that would protect transgender students against discrimination. The Record reports (https://njersy.co/2luL2UC ) the state has not issued specific guidance to schools about how they should accommodate transgender students, but some school districts have adopted such policies. Garden State Equality's executive director told members Wednesday that state education officials "refused to act" after his group asked for the creation of statewide guidelines last year...'

2-23-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Opinion: The Coming Federalization of NJ Pension and Benefits Crisis Notwithstanding the 10th Amendment, the federal government has repeatedly stepped in when the states’ political systems failed to bring about necessary action Prediction: Sometime in the foreseeable future, the federal government will step in to address the self-inflicted crisis in state and local government pension and health-benefits funding. The only real question for us in New Jersey is whether it will happen soon enough to save us from ourselves. How and why? Let’s review where we are: First, state and local governments in the U.S. face a multi-trillion-dollar shortfall in public sector pension and health benefits funding. This is a genuine and growing financial crisis that clearly threatens our nation’s long-term economic prosperity....'

Star Ledger--School districts clamor for more aid, others warn against cuts in funding debate NEWARK -- The ongoing debate over how to fairly -- and equitably -- fund public schools prompted disagreements Wednesday between two Democrats who once were considered contenders for the gubernatorial race. Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop urged a bipartisan Senate committee to more thoughtfully forge ahead with changing how public schools are funded, arguing current proposals are vague and threaten to help affluent areas "at the expense of the most needy children."...'

The Record--Transgender advocates call for state guidelines after Trump removes federal protections With the Trump administration rolling back federal protections for transgender students, some advocates in New Jersey are calling on state education officials to follow the lead of other states and establish rules that would offer similar protections...'

Associated Press (viaPhiladelphia Inquirer)--College Board to boost SAT security to combat cheating PITTSBURGH (AP) - The firm that owns the SAT college entrance exam is boosting security worldwide following test-stealing and other cheating in recent years. The College Board said it's reducing the number of international testing dates from six per year to four for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years. It says the move will reduce opportunities for test content to be stolen. The New York-based college entrance exam provider announced Wednesday that it is taking steps to prevent past cheaters from retaking tests. In addition, it says it will alert law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad of companies and people it suspects of illegally obtaining test content...'

The Atlantic--When Does the Racial Achievement Gap First Appear? Latino students in kindergarten trail their white peers in math by approximately three months’ worth of learning, a new study by Child Trends Hispanic Institute has found. Researchers drew a nationally representative sample of students from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010-2011 who were followed through the end of their fifth-grade year. Sixty-two percent of the 2,199 Latino students studied had at least one foreign-born parent, and 45 percent spoke only Spanish or predominantly Spanish at home. Nearly half lived in poverty...'

Education Week--Rhode Island Announces Statewide K-12 Personalized Learning Push Rhode Island is moving forward with a statewide personalized learning initiative that aims to support a variety of efforts to tailor education to the unique needs of each student. The $2 million public-private effort is being headed by Richard Culatta, the state's chief innovation officer and the former director of the office of educational technology at the federal education department. In an interview, Culatta said the early focus is on developing a common statewide vision for what personalized learning entails, supporting and expanding related models in Rhode Island schools, and establishing a research network that can help guide implementation...'

2-22-17 Education in the News
Star Ledger--Which countries have the smartest kids? See how the U.S. ranks When it comes to math, science and reading, the test scores of American teenagers still lag behind other industrial nations, according to a new study. U.S. students rank in the middle of the pack on the one of the biggest cross-national tests, said a Pew Research report released Wednesday. The study looked at the Programme for International Student Assessment, known as PISA. It is given every three years to 15-year-old students in countries around the world to measure their knowledge of math, science and reading...'

Education Week-- White House: Transgender-Student Rights Not a Federal Issue; New Guidance Coming President Donald Trump believes that decisions around which restrooms and locker rooms transgender students use in schools are best left to the states, and his administration will soon issue new guidance on the issue, Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Tuesday. That guidance will roll back a rule issued by the Obama administration that required schools to grant transgender students access to bathrooms and locker rooms that matched their gender identity, even if it did not align with their biological sex at birth. Under that rule, schools that did not comply may have been found in violation of the sex-discrimination protections of Title IX, which Obama's Departments of Justice and Education argued applied to gender identity as well as biological sex...'

2-20-17 Education in the News
Star Ledger--11 things to know about drugs, bullying and violence in N.J. schools New Jersey last week released its annual report on school bullying, violence and vandalism as well as incidents involving weapons, drugs or alcohol in schools. The data is self-reported by school districts and doesn't capture every single case of school bullying or violence, let alone those that aren't reported by students themselves. However, it provides a broad picture of the state of New Jersey schools in the 2015-16 school year. Here are 11 things parents should know from the report...'

Press of Atlantic City--Keeping schools safe in an era of heightened anxiety When a young child brought a knife on a school bus in Hamilton Township earlier this month, Superintendent Frank Vogel posted a letter on the district website and sent robo-calls and emails to parents. After knives were brought to a dance at the Jordan Road School in Somers Point, interim Superintendent Thomas Baruffi and the school board got some criticism for not keeping parents better informed. In response, the district held a forum for parents at the school this month to talk about concerns and how the district could better respond. Schools remain among the safest places for children. But neighborhood and societal anxieties are leaking into the classroom, and school officials are discussing how to best respond...'

NY Times--Rough First Week Gives Betsy DeVos a Glimpse of the Fight Ahead President Trump and Betsy DeVos, the education secretary, spoke last week during a parent-teacher conference listening session at the White House. Credit Stephen Crowley/The New York Times By the end of her first full week as the secretary of education, Betsy DeVos had already sparred with a middle school and a former schools chancellor in Washington, accused some of the school’s teachers of passively awaiting instruction and said she would be pleased if the department she currently runs did not exist in the future. She encountered an immediate display of the type of fierce resistance she will face as she tries to set new policies for the Education Department...'

Education Week--What Tests Does Each State Require? In 2016-17, states’ testing systems have begun to settle down after several years of transition sparked by the Common Core State Standards. By now, most states have chosen not to use the PARCC and Smarter Balanced assessments, which were designed to reflect the common core...'

2-17-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Fine Print: Assembly Moves to End PARCC as Graduation Requirement Committee acts on little-used parliamentary tool, but effort still has a ways to travel What it is: Assembly Concurrent Resolution 215 (ACR 215) Prime sponsors: State Assemblywomen Mila Jasey and Marlene Caride What it does: Employing a little-used parliamentary tool, the concurrent resolution demands that the State Board of Education reverse its move last August to require New Jersey high school students to pass certain sections of PARCC in order to graduate, starting with the Class of 2021. The measure overwhelmingly passed the Assembly education committee this week and moves next to the full Assembly. It has yet to be posted in the Senate...'

Press of Atlantic City--Report says NJ teachers make less than other workers Public school teachers in New Jersey make less money than other full-time employees, according to a report released this week by the Economic Policy Institute. But the disparity is at least partly due to the fact teachers overall work fewer weeks per year than other professions. Teachers also get more of their total compensation as benefits than private-sector workers, although the gap is closing...'

Education Week--State Solidarity Still Eroding on Common-Core Tests After seven years of tumult and transition fueled by the common core, state testing is settling down, with most states rejecting the federally funded PARCC and Smarter Balanced assessments, and nearly one-quarter embracing the SAT or the ACT as their official high school test. Education Week's third annual survey of states' tests found a landscape far more stable in 2016-17 than it was in 2014-15, when dozens of states had tossed aside their old assessments to try the new arrivals designed by two big consortia of states, the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, to align with the Common Core State Standards. There was a flurry of interest in those tests in the first few years, with 45 states planning to use them. But by now, 27 have opted for other tests..."

2-16-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--While Education Simmers in D.C., NJ Quietly Puts Together Its ESSA Proposal The state puts the finishing touches to its plan for implementing Every Student Succeeds Act, looks for public comment Long before there was President Donald Trump and U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, there was a new federal policy for public education called Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The law, signed last year by former President Barack Obama, shifted away from many of the top-down strictures of the famous — some would say infamous — No Child Left Behind Act. Instead, it gives the states wide discretion to come up with their own accountability standards and other strategies for schools...'

Star Ledger--Can N.J. schools achieve these goals by 2030? State pitches long-term plan TRENTON -- New Jersey on Wednesday unveiled new long-terms goals it considers "both ambitious and achievable" for public schools, including the expectation that 80 percent of a school's students should pass standardized tests in reading and math by 2030. The proposed plan, which the state must submit to the federal government for approval, also calls for high schools to reach a 95-percent four-year graduation rate by 2030. Additionally, 85 percent of a school's students learning English as their second language would need to meet achievement goals set the by state...'

The Record--N.J. seeks public input on education plan The New Jersey Department of Education has released its draft plan for meeting requirements under a new federal Every Student Succeeds Act, which gives states more decision-making power on education issues. The state will accept public comments on the proposed plan, which can be found online, until March 20. New Jersey’s 366-page plan addresses standards, assessments, school and district accountability, and special help for struggling schools...'

Star Ledger--Do N.J. high schools need year-round steroids testing? It's now up to Christie

TRENTON -- Having just cleared the state Senate on Monday, Gov. Chris Christie will now consider whether to sign into law a bill that would expand testing for steroid use among high school athletes in New Jersey. The bill (S-367), sponsored by state Sen. Dick Codey (D-Essex), passed unanimously (37-0) following the recommendations of the governor's task force on steroid prevention...'

Education Week--Student Suicide: Moving Beyond Blame to Understanding Blaming "school pressure" for student suicide often misses the mark Suicide is the worst of losses, especially when the victim is an adolescent. It's every parent's nightmare. And it's every principal's, too—not only for the horrific loss of the student, but for the censure that can often follow. Parents, community members, and even students may criticize the school for too much stress and pressure, too much homework and competition, and too little support. As the superintendent of schools in Palo Alto, Calif.—a district with a teen-suicide rate four times the national average—noted last fall, "any school that experiences a student suicide should brace for a tsunami of blame."...'

2-15-17 Education in the News
The Record--School districts share money woes with Senate panel CLIFFSIDE PARK – A bipartisan state Senate committee tasked with proposing changes to the school funding formula met with officials from Bergen County school districts Tuesday to discuss inequities in aid and their effect on local education. Testimony from the two-hour hearing, the third of four planned by the eight-member Select Committee on School Funding Fairness, will help form the basis for legislation to improve a school aid system often criticized for overfunding some districts and shortchanging others...'

NY Times--Intel Drops Its Sponsorship of Science Fairs, Prompting an Identity Crisis Karan Jerath, winner of the 2015 Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award at the International Science and Engineering Fair, on campus at the University of Texas at Austin on Monday. Credit Tamir Kalifa for The New York Times The science fair has been an annual rite of education for generations of students, going back to the 1940s. But even the term “science fair” stirs stereotypical images of three-panel display boards and baking-soda volcanoes. Its regimented routines can seem stodgy at a time when young people are flocking to more freewheeling forums for scientific creativity, like software hackathons and hardware engineering Maker Faires...'

Education Week--Steep Learning Curve on K-12 as State Leaders Take New Seats At a pivotal time for state education policy, half the nation's state legislatures have at least one new education committee chairperson this year, and a quarter of state schools chiefs are less than a year into the job, according to an Education Week analysis...'

2-14-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--School Violence and Vandalism by the Book State DOE’s annual report on problems plaguing schools indicates small bump in incidents over the year before More than 19,000 incidents of bullying, violence, vandalism, weapons, and drug offenses occurred in New Jersey’s public schools in the past school year, an average of 28 per district, according to the state Department of Education’s annual report on these problems...'

Philadelphia Inquirer--N.J. Supreme Court rejects South Jersey school district's petition for aid Kingsway Regional School District in Gloucester County has been lobbying for more state funding to deal with its enrollment growth.

The New Jersey Supreme Court has informed the Kingsway Regional School District that it cannot reopen the Abbott v. Burke school-funding case, just days after the growing Gloucester County district petitioned to do so in its quest for more state aid...'

Press of Atlantic City-- Senate OKs expanded steroid testing of student athletes TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Legislation that would expand steroid testing and education in New Jersey high schools has been passed by the state senate...'

Press of Atlantic City--Religious vaccine exemptions on the rise in New Jersey ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — More parents in New Jersey are choosing religious exemptions for child vaccinations, resulting in a steady increase in unvaccinated schoolchildren. The number of state religious exemptions among children in primary school more than doubled within a six-year period...'

NPR--Did Betsy DeVos Make You Want To Run For School Board? Early one morning, the week before Betsy DeVos' confirmation as education secretary, 23-year-old Allison Kruk was dropping her boyfriend off at the Philadelphia airport when she decided to swing by the office of her U.S. senator and give him a piece of her mind. Kruk was a Hillary Clinton supporter, and the nomination of DeVos "just felt like a low blow," she says. "I had been calling and emailing and writing letters about how I thought she was incredibly incompetent, regardless of your position on school choice." Kruk spent 2 1/2 hours in the office of Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., before she was finally escorted out by security, but not without an official audience scheduled on the Monday before the vote...'

2-13-17 Education in the News
Philadelphia Inquirer--Public schools step up fight to win back charter students When Quakertown Community School Superintendent Bill Harner realized his district was shelling out $250,000 a year in tuition reimbursements for 17 students studying dance at a performing arts charter in nearby Allentown, he came up with a battle plan. The Upper Bucks district, he decided, would beat the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts at its own game. “We will have a brand-new dance studio," said Harner, who has counted more than 20 applicants for a program that, he vows, will put the district "on the map for dance."...'

Associated Press (via Philadelphia Inquirer)--The new civics course in schools: How to avoid fake news WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (AP) - Teachers from elementary school through college are telling students how to distinguish between factual and fictional news - and why they should care that there's a difference...'

NY Times--Trump Drops Defense of Obama Guidelines on Transgender Students Gavin Grimm sued his Virginia school district to use the boys’ bathroom, which corresponds with his gender identity. The school board appealed a decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to the Supreme Court. Credit Damon Winter/The New York Times A nationwide injunction that has kept transgender students from using school bathrooms and other facilities that correspond with their gender identity will remain in place after the Trump administration decided not to challenge it in court. The move, announced Friday, ended an effort mounted by the Obama administration after the order was announced last year...'

Education Week--Can Betsy DeVos Make Shift From Divisive Nominee to Effective Leader? U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos finally took the helm of her agency this week after a bitter and tumultuous confirmation process unlike any other in the U.S. Department of Education’s more than three-decade history. Now, it’s an open question whether DeVos can make the transition from highly divisive nominee to effective leader...'

2-10-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Free Primary-Care Office Opens for Government and School Employees Pilot project developed by Sen. Sweeney to improve care, reduce taxpayer costs Four primary-care practices have opened for business in a pilot program that can treat tens of thousands of government and school system employees for free, the realization of a plan developed by Senate President Steve Sweeney and labor unions to improve patient care and reduce costs to taxpayers...'

Star Ledger--5 things N.J. parents should know about Betsy DeVos Betsy DeVos, a billionaire school choice advocate from Michigan, was confirmed Tuesday as the next U.S. Secretary of Education. The Senate vote, a 50-50 tie broken by Vice President Mike Pence, came after DeVos emerged as President Donald Trump's most controversial cabinet pick, thanks in part to several shaky answers during her confirmation hearing. Here are five things New Jersey parents should know about DeVos and how she might affect education in New Jersey...'

The Atlantic--Does Religion Have a Place in Public Schools? “The question of what to do with religion in school-choice programs is how, or whether, to keep the baby while ditching the bathwater.” From the standpoint of democratic theory, the basic problem with school choice is this: Religious belief and affiliation can be vital sites of civic learning for many Americans. In their temples, mosques, and megachurches, Americans learn to cooperate, organize, identify, and engage with social problems. These skills help them develop the kind of bonding capital that forms the basis of a democracy; from that platform, citizens can develop the bridging capital that allows them to identify with and engage civil society as a whole...'

2-9-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--School-Aid Reform: Not Enough Legislative Action to Keep Topic at Top of Agenda? School-funding inequities have plagued New Jersey for almost a decade; is this finally the time to set things right? For the past several weeks, lawmakers in both the Senate and the Assembly have been holding a series of hearings to analyze growing state school-aid inequities. But legislative leaders are not any closer to agreeing on specific solutions, fueling concerns that the issue could once again be pushed off the top of the agenda...'

NJ Spotlight--What Does It Mean When State Supreme Court Says ‘No’ to Christie? NJ Spotlight’s education writer visits WHYY to discuss top court’s refusal to hear governor’s case for reopening Abbott v. Burke decision A week ago, the state Supreme Court passed on Gov. Chris Christie’s bid to reopen New Jersey’s Abbott v. Burke school equity case, refusing to even hear the petition. NJ Spotlight’s John Mooney yesterday joined WHYY’s Radio Times host Mary Cummings-Jordan to discuss the decision and what it means for New Jersey public schools and school policy and politics as whole...'

Weehawken school district one of 12 to win 'Innovative' honor The Weehawken school district has been named an "Innovative District" for 2017 by the International Center for Leadership in Education, officials announced...'

Education Week--Big Stakes for K-12 as Federal Budget Process Gears Up Congressional Republicans and President Donald Trump, aiming to break years of fiscal gridlock, could make significant changes to the U.S. Department of Education's budget—changes that might include major cuts. There are conflicting signals about whether they'll impose big cuts that hit students in special education, educators in teacher training, and other beneficiaries of federal education programs...'

2-8-17 Education in the News
Star Ledger--Christie wants to start N.J. drug education in kindergarten NUTLEY -- Citing the state's heroin epidemic, Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday said he plans to enact a law that would expand drug abuse prevention and education starting with kindergartners. "We have people all across the state who are dying because they're using drugs," the governor told a classroom of sixth graders participating in a Law Enforcement Against Drugs (L.E.A.D.) program at the Washington Elementary School in Nutley. "The people who are going to stop it, are you." New Jersey deaths from heroin overdose crested 1,600 in 2016, or two and a half times the national average...'

Star Ledger--New charter would 'drain millions' from district, Old Bridge officials warn OLD BRIDGE -- Many parents, students, and school officials are waging a fight against a proposal to build a charter school in the district. More than 200 people gathered at the Superintendent's Forum at Old Bridge High School recently to assail a plan to open the Albert Einstein EnergySmart Charter School. The K-2 school would be built on Route 9 and focus on teaching about renewable energy through science, technology and math coursework. School officials and community members believe the charter would teach the same material as the district and drain money from the district's budget. When parents opt for charters, their public school district pays the tuition...'

Education Week--Senate Confirms Betsy DeVos as Ed. Secretary, Amid Unprecedented Pushback Billionaire school choice advocate Betsy DeVos squeaked across the finish line to win Senate confirmation as President Donald Trump's secretary of education Tuesday, despite massive opposition from the civil rights community, educators, parents, and many in the general public. Senators deadlocked 50-50 on DeVos' confirmation, with Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine joining all 48 of the chamber's Democrats in voting against her. Vice President Mike Pence made history by casting the first tie-breaker vote to confirm a cabinet official...'

2-7-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Senate Says Schools Will Remain ‘No-Questions-Asked’ Safe Zones for All Students Upper chamber also resolves not to support Trump’s executive order on immigrants and refugees from Muslim-majority countries Although the action is more symbolic than substantial, New Jersey’s state Senate yesterday sent a clear message that its Democratic majority would resist President Donald Trump’s immigration restrictions, at least on paper. The votes on the two resolutions followed party lines, with only state Sen. Jeff Van Drew (D-Atlantic) defecting from the Democrats. They drew impassioned pleas from Democratic lawmakers and dominated the news for the otherwise-quiet Senate session...'

NY Times--Trying to Solve a Bigger Math Problem Algebra is clearly a stumbling block for many incoming college students. Nearly 60 percent of community college students end up in remedial math — that’s more than double the number in remedial English. Four-year public colleges are not far behind. According to government studies, 40 percent of their incoming students take at least one remedial class; 33 percent are in math. One explanation is obvious: limited academic preparation. Another is that much of the community college population is older, and rusty at factoring quadratics and finding inverse functions. Less obvious is that students end up in remediation who don’t need to be there...'

2-6-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--State BOE Head in Spotlight as Christie Charter-School Code Gets Voted Down BOE President Biedron — targeted for replacement by Christie — says there was nothing political in thwarting governor’s charter-school regs In a normally inconspicuous role on a normally inconspicuous panel, state Board of Education President Mark Biedron is finding himself pretty high profile these days. First came Gov. Chris Christie’s move in December to replace Biedron as head of the regulatory board, which oversees state code for student testing, teacher evaluation, and other areas. The action caught most by surprise, especially since Christie had appointed Biedron six years ago...'

NY Times--Are You College-Ready? Test your math know-how with sample questions from the new Accuplacer. I graduated from college nearly 25 years ago. Wondering if I’d be considered college-ready now, I arranged at a community college to take the Accuplacer, the test used to place students into remedial classes. I went in cold, no prep, years away from my last math class, the way many community college students do. Scoring below the college’s cutoff, I tested into remedial math. Would you?..'

Washington Post--An ‘alternative facts’ South Dakota bill sparks fears for science education in the Trump era A Galapagos tortoise rests in a mud puddle in San Cristobal, Galápagos Islands. The islands are known for their endemic species and were studied by Charles Darwin and contributed to his theory of evolution by natural selection. (Dolores Ochoa/AP) This is the text of S.B. 55 that just passed in the South Dakota Senate, which purports “to protect the teaching of certain scientific information.” BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA: Section 1. That chapter 13-1 be amended by adding a NEW SECTION to read: No teacher may be prohibited from helping students understand, analyze, critique, or review in an objective scientific manner the strengths and weaknesses of scientific information presented in courses being taught which are aligned with the content standards established pursuant to § 13-3-48...'

Education Week--Trump Orders on Immigration Rattle Some Educators Travel ban and uncertain fate for DREAMers stoke fears President Donald Trump's sweeping order that halts residents of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States sent shock waves through some of the nation's schools, leaving educators scrambling to assure frightened refugee and immigrant students that their schools should be safe places. The effort to calm those fears comes as some educators grapple with uncertainty of their own:..'

2-3-17 Education in the News
NY Times--Will You Graduate? Ask Big Data At Georgia State’s nursing school, the faculty used to believe that students who got a poor grade in “Conceptual Foundations of Nursing” probably wouldn’t go on to graduation. So they were surprised, after an analysis of student records stretching back a decade, to discover what really made a difference for nursing students: their performance in introductory math. “You could get a C or an A in that first nursing class and still be successful,” said Timothy M. Renick, the vice provost. “But if you got a low grade in your math courses, by the time you were in your junior and senior years, you were doing very poorly.”...'

Washington Post--Why it’s a big deal that billionaire activist Eli Broad is opposing billionaire activist Betsy DeVos as education secretary He did it on the same day that two Republican senators, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine — announced they would vote against DeVos on the floor, meaning that DeVos opponents need only one more Republican senator to break ranks and vote against her to tank the nomination. This is more than just one billionaire school activist who believes in school choice going against another billionaire school activist who believes in school choice. It reveals a deep split in the movement to improve public education with corporate-style changes that seek to run schools like businesses and want to greatly expand alternatives to traditional public schools...'

Education Week-- House Republicans Move to Scrap Rules on ESSA, Teacher Preparation Republican lawmakers in Congress are moving to do away with regulations from the Obama administration regarding accountability under the Every Student Succeeds Act and teacher preparation. The resolutions of disapproval for those two sets of rules were announced Thursday in the House. They were filed under the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to overturn regulations set out by executive branch. Senate versions of these resolutions are expected some time next week...'

2-2-17 Education in the News
Star Ledger--Christie rejected in quest to lower charter school teacher standards TRENTON -- In a rare rejection of a Gov. Chris Christie proposal, the state Board of Education on Wednesday shot down his controversial plan to experiment with lower certification standards for charter school teachers and principals. The board voted 5-2 with one abstention to remove Christie's proposed five-year pilot program from his promised charter school deregulation package. The remainder of the package, which includes a faster renewal process for high-performing charter schools and other changes, gained preliminary board approval...'

Education Week--What Could Betsy DeVos Really Get Done as Education Secretary? The prospect of Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Education has some school choice supporters riding high, while many educators, members of the civil rights community, and disability advocates are taking to the streets in anger, literally. But what if her nomination is approved? (That looks more likely than not for now, even though a couple of GOP lawmakers said Tuesday they're not sure about the nominee heading into the full Senate vote.) How much could DeVos really do at the U.S. Department of Education without the help of Congress or state policymakers? The short answer: Maybe not quite as much as you might think...'

2-1-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--NJ’s Top Court Refuses to Hear Christie’s School-Funding, Seniority Brief Two-page ruling points governor to lower court to fight teacher seniority, barely mentions funding challenge It was a long-shot bid to begin with: Gov. Chris Christie’s petition to the state Supreme Court asking it to strike down teacher seniority and rewrite its landmark Abbott v. Burke school-funding rulings. Yesterday, the high court announced it would not hear the case, saying the administration would have to start at a lower court with the seniority challenge and not even indicating an avenue for the Abbott challenge...'

NJ Spotlight--Agenda: Charter Schools and Special Education Rules Move Forward State board to take decisive votes on controversial regulations for private special education schools and charter schools Date: Wednesday, February 1, 2017 Time: 10 a.m. Where: New Jersey Department of Education, 1st-floor conference room, 100 River View Plaza, Trenton Key votes: After months of deliberations, the State Board of Education will take up two of its most contentious issues of the new year: charter schools and private special education schools. Both have proposals for new regulations up for preliminary approval, not a final vote but one that would take major objections to reverse before final approval...'

Philadelphia Inquirer--Internships will be exempt from federal hiring freeze, White House says A federal hiring freeze announced last week will not affect government internships, the White House said Tuesday. College and high school students: Resume that summer job search. A federal hiring freeze announced last week will not affect government internships, the White House said Tuesday. President Trump ordered the civilian hiring freeze Jan. 23. Guidance issued two days later said there were exemptions for national security and public safety. That left students and colleges concerned: How would the freeze affect internships?...'

Washington Post--Senate panel votes in favor of Betsy DeVos, Trump’s education secretary pick Two GOP senators say they can't commit to voting for Betsy DeVos A Senate panel voted along party lines Tuesday to advance President Trump’s pick for education secretary, Betsy DeVos, sending her nomination to the full Senate for final approval amid the first signs of fissures within the GOP majority over her fitness for the job...'

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The Special Education Task Force Report was released  in November 2015. GSCS, a Task Force member,  is looking forward to discussion on this important topic.  See below for links to the report.




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