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Elisabeth Ginsburg, Executive Director
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10-20-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Op-Ed: What is a College Degree Worth? Knowing what we collectively expect from a college education determines how to calculate its value Recent national surveys by such reputable organizations as Public Agenda and Pew Research indicate some American citizens are losing confidence in higher education. The value of college is often measured only by earnings after graduation. This is a serious mistake that threatens our core values and hopes for a prosperous and secure future...'

Education Week--Schools Mount Fight Against Chronic Absenteeism Districts work to ensure students are in school The elementary school in Oregon's Willamina district set out last year to pick apart a complicated problem that would ultimately require an equally complicated solution: Many of its Native American students failed to show up on a regular basis. Addressing that chronic absenteeism was like untangling a rope, loosening knotted-up, long-established habits, cultural issues, and the persistent barriers of poverty that can keep children out of school, leaders in the district of 835 students said...'

10-19-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Budget Basics: New Jersey’s Fiscal Future, a Path to Improvement A series that details the fundamentals of New Jersey's budget, as well as its current budget woes Overview In the previous nine Budget Basics, I discussed major fiscal topics, including revenues and expenditures, debt, retirement costs, property taxes, and surplus and deficits. Principally, the series was fact-based. My intent was to inform. I conclude with summary observations about the state’s fiscal future and a specific process that the new governor needs to take to address our problems. The fiscal future of New Jersey is bleak. It has struggled to balance its budget for the past two decades...'
10-18-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Tackling the Toughest Questions Facing NJ’s Public Education System A new report in the “Crossroads NJ” series recommends a variety of solutions to problems like school funding and segregation As New Jersey is about to pick a new governor, the state’s public education system is teeming with challenges, from the funding of the schools to the very makeup of their classrooms in one of the most segregated states in the country...'

NJ Spotlight--New Bond Issue Edges Closer as Vo-Techs Make Case for Urgent State Funding Garden State’s vocational high schools appeal for more money to help them keep pace with the rising demand for technical training New Jersey voters will decide in a few weeks whether the state should take on more than $100 million in new debt to pay for library capital projects. But even as the fate of that proposed borrowing has yet to be determined, lawmakers are already starting to explore the next big bond issue that could go before voters...'

Asbury Park Press--NJ restores state aid to 5 Jersey Shore school districts TRENTON - Five Jersey Shore school districts that faced hundreds of thousands of dollars in state aid cuts have learned that the money will be restored, according to the New Jersey Department of Education. The announcement came from the department this week that schools in Brick, Keansburg, Marlboro, Middletown and Toms River will receive thousands of dollars more in state support than had been promised last summer...'

Education Week--The 'Elephant in the Classroom': Q&A on Substitute Teaching For the last 20 years, Jill Vialet has been working to improve what’s supposed to be one of the most fun parts of the K-12 experience: recess. Through her nonprofit Playworks, she’s brought professional training and recess coaches to about 1,800 schools across the country, and helped turn learning breaks from a time for potential bullying and ostracism to one in which students can build self-confidence and community. In her new venture, she’s tackling an aspect of K-12 education that’s equally ripe for innovation, but somewhat harder to garner the public’s enthusiasm for: substitute teaching...'

10-17-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Memo to Next Governor: Appoint Blue Ribbon Panel on Higher Education State support for higher education has diminished markedly in past two decades, while tuition has gone up without making more funding available to low-income and middle-class students New Jersey’s next governor needs to raise the profile of higher education, provide more funding for colleges and low-income students, and bring the public back into the process of higher education planning and oversight, urges a new report...'

Education Week--10 Disruptions That Will Revolutionize Education Artificial intelligence and technology will prove significant for education The idea that machines are smarter than humans has inspired a library of science-fiction stories and movies. What often happens when intelligent machines and ordinary humans cross cognitive swords? Humans lose...'

10-16-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Op-Ed: Students Must Move Beyond Social Media to Become Truly Engaged It may sound old fashioned, but today’s students need to learn to read reputable news sources, in hard copy or online — for motive as well as content Students are reading less and less from traditional news sources and getting more and more information from social-media outlets, many of which circulate misleading news content that significantly affects public opinion. In a world where people are beginning to value quick information over the correct, detailed, and complex stories that current events often are, a greater amount of the public is making uninformed choices and statements in their civic engagement...'

Star Ledger--Did Facebook-funded school reform efforts work? This study takes a look NEWARK -- The schools here made national headlines when Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced his $100 million contribution. The donation helped launch a series of reforms starting in 2011 -- many of them controversial -- in an effort to transform an urban school district into a model for the country. But did it work?...'

Star Ledger--Drug tests during 3rd period? N.J. district proposes screening most students LIVINGSTON — Next year's schedule: English, biology, P.E., random drug test, fifth period study hall. Drug testing might become just part of a typical day for students in Livingston, the latest district to consider implementing a random drug testing policy at its high school...'

Education Week-- As Eli Broad Steps Down, Will His Influence on K-12 Education Last? High-profile education philanthropist Eli Broad has announced he’s stepping away from day-to-day duties at the foundation that he and his wife founded—as well as public life in general—but his legacy in reshaping how private money can influence policy and the politics around those ideas will extend into the foreseeable future, experts say...'

12-13-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Nothing to Celebrate: No Hike in State-Employee Healthcare Premiums Cost-cutting measures expected to deliver $1.6B in savings to state over next three years A push to reduce the cost of health benefits to the state and its employees has actually worked, so much so that the state is expected to see $1.6 billion in savings over the next three years, and employees will not see a healthcare premium price hike in 2018...'

Associated Press--DeVos touts school choice, STEM for $4 billion in grants WASHINGTON (AP) — Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has put forth a new set of priorities for states, schools and universities competing for federal grant money. The priorities include school choice, science and technology, special education and school safety...'

Education Week--Kindergarten Assessments Begin to Shape Instruction In the not-too-distant past, the kindergarten classrooms at Pleasant Grove Elementary in Heflin, Ala., looked much the same as classrooms for older children. Desks were arranged in rows. Children worked on worksheets. "There wasn't a lot of differentiation in your instruction," said Kristi Moore, a kindergarten teacher at the school, located halfway between Birmingham, Ala., and Atlanta. "Most of all your children were taught the same way." But in recent years, the school has tried to shift instruction in a way that they say works better for young children. And they credit the use of a comprehensive method of evaluating kindergarten students, called kindergarten entry assessment, as one of the tools that allowed them to do that...'

10-12-17 Education in the News
Asbury Park Press--Who won the NJ governor debate?:Education Kim Guadagno's take: "We need to work harder to make sure school is more effective and more affordable for you. And then when you come out of school, you need to have opportunities, and the way to do that is to lower the cost of doing business in New Jersey, to lower the cost of living in New Jersey, and to make sure people can afford to live in New Jersey.'' Phil Murphy's take: "We are among the most segregated states in the nation (and a principle reason is) underfunding public education...'

Press of Atlantic City—Op-Ed: School monitoring and takeovers necessary, but could be shorter Local control of schools is prized to an extraordinary degree in New Jersey. Partly that’s because parents and communities want a say in how their children are educated. But it’s also because local officials love to have funds and jobs to dispense. Since the community and parents also provide the funds as taxpayers, the interests and responsibilities are aligned...'

Education Week--Can Apprenticeships Pave the Way to a Better Economic Future? Colorado leaders are painfully aware that they need to find skilled workers to fill thousands of jobs. And they're betting big on their new secret weapon: an apprenticeship program for high school students. This fall, 116 teenagers from four districts have fanned out to 40 companies in Colorado in the inaugural year of the state's apprenticeship program...'

10-11-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Some Sharp Exchanges, Some Name Calling, but No Clear Winner in First Debate Republican Guadagno is aggressor in initial debate between candidates for governor, but Democrat Murphy has no problem pushing back or going on the attack The two candidates running to replace Gov. Chris Christie debated face to face for the first time last night, spending an hour trading accusations and boasts on issues ranging from property taxes and pension funding to handling the state economy and curbing gun violence...'

NJ Spotlight--One Last Question: The Candidates on District Consolidation Home rule is still the order of the day, but both candidates understand the economic boost that would come with regionalization As a co-sponsor of last night’s gubernatorial debate, NJ Spotlight won the chance to ask one question of candidates Phil Murphy and Kim Guadagno. NJ Spotlight went with school consolidation and regionalization, an issue that has long-dogged a state of more than 560 school districts, leading to arguments of gross inefficiencies and inequities...'

NJ Spotlight--Small Steps in Dyslexia Education Add up to Measurable Progress The release of a long-awaited educator’s guidebook, as well as pending legislation on teaching reading, truly help make October Dyslexia Awareness Month It’s a matter of small steps, but those pressing for more awareness about how best to teach students with dyslexia got some good news recently...'

11 fiery moments and fact checks from Guadagno-Murphy debate in race to replace Christie The race to succeed Chris Christie as New Jersey's governor has struggled to turn heads so far — but Tuesday night saw more than a few sparks. Democrat Phil Murphy and Republican Kim Guadagno met for their first of two televised debates, and the two spent an hour arguing over property taxes, pensions, guns, Harvey Weinstein, and more at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark. There was also a technical issue that led to an awkward moment. And both tried to distance themselves from the unpopular Christie, who is set to leave office after eight years. Here is a look at the most notable moments — and a fact-check for some of both...'

Education Week--Betsy DeVos Finds 'Bully Pulpit' No Easy Perch Education secretary engages in fierce messaging battle Late last month, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos gave a high-profile speech at Harvard University on school choice—her number-one policy priority. But afterward, all anyone could seem to talk about were the protestors yelling, "This is what white supremacy looks like!"...'

10-10-17 Education in the News
Education Week--Learning How to Learn Could Be a Student's Most Valuable Skill In a fast-changing workplace, the ability to acquire new knowledge is a valued skill When it comes to helping new high school graduates succeed Southwest Baptist University's Jodi Meadows knows that sometimes you have to start from scratch. Even some of her top college freshmen, she says, never really had to hit the books in high school. They've had most learning experiences, from group work to quizzes, structured by their teachers, and don't know how to learn things on their own...'
10-8-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--State Senators on Both Sides of Aisle Vow to Fight Trump Plan to Kill SALT Deduction Most of NJ’s congressional delegation vote against bill that would pave way to eliminating deducting for state and local taxes The idea of eliminating the so-called SALT deduction, which allows residents to deduct state and local taxes on their federal tax returns, received almost universal derision from New Jersey lawmakers...'

Star Ledger—Op-Ed: N.J. teachers are getting ripped off…  Moran
It's no crime to lie, in about 99 percent of our lives. But if you lie to the IRS about how much money you earn, you can land in prison. Ask Al Capone. So, when Ed Richardson, the executive director of the state's largest teachers' union, was asked by the IRS to disclose his compensation in 2015, he came clean...'

Associated Press--On education, Murphy sticks to aid, Guadagno to property tax TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Voters looking to get smart on two top party candidates’ views on education in the race to succeed Gov. Chris Christie will find differences of emphasis and policy. Democrat Phil Murphy has focused “laser-like” on his promise to pump more cash into education. Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno has instead stayed quiet on the state’s school-funding formula and concentrated on property taxes, the main source of funding for schools...'

Press of Atlantic City (Associated Press)--$2.7M in grants available for students in recovery programs TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — More New Jersey students battling drug addictions will be able to attend special schools. The Christie administration on Friday announced $2.7 million in grants are available to expand access to recovery high schools in the state...'

Washington Post--Hitting the return key on education

Joe Clement and Matt Miles teach social studies at Chantilly High School in Fairfax County. They know a teacher who spent six hours jazzing up a lesson on old political cartoons with a PowerPoint presentation. Students pulled laptops off a cart so they could follow and comment on the lesson online. The class went well. But something unusual happened, part of a series of Clement and Miles discoveries that threaten the foundations of the high-tech classroom and are recounted in their new book “Screen Schooled: Two Veteran Teachers Expose How Technology Overuse Is Making Our Kids Dumber.”...'

10-6-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--PARCC Past, PARCC Present, and PARCC Future Knowing where PARCC has been may help get a sense of where the online test is going PARCC testing got off to a rocky rollout in New Jersey, being greeted by a surprisingly large and unsurprisingly vocal opt-out movement. Things have settled down somewhat, and scores look to be on the climb, but PARCC may not be long for the state...'

Star Ledger--'No homework' movement: Why some N.J. teachers are dropping after-school assignments If you're a parent of a child in grade school, you're likely familiar with the ordeal: You wrestle your child into a chair to finish his or her homework -- a bevy of assignments that are sometimes frustrating and occasionally incomprehensible. After an hour (or two, or three) of negotiation, occasional tears and shouting, everyone is exhausted. And you're left wondering: Is all this homework really necessary?...'

Associated Press--Football’s decline has some high schools disbanding teams ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (AP) — On a cool and rainy afternoon during the first week of classes at Centennial High School in this well-to-do Baltimore suburb, about 50 members of the boys’ cross-country team sauntered across the parking lot for their after-school run. Meanwhile, about 30 kids in helmets and pads were going through drills on the pristine artificial turf field at the school’s hillside football stadium...'

Washington Post--Teacher responds to DeVos: Schools aren’t like food trucks, and education is ‘not a side of fries’ Education Secretary Betsy DeVos recently spoke at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics and reprised one of her favorite themes: how choosing schools should be like choosing some commercial product or service...'

Education Week--No State Will Measure Social-Emotional Learning Under ESSA. Will That Slow Its Momentum? When the Every Student Succeeds Act was enacted, speculation swirled that states might use it as a launching pad to use measures of students’ social and emotional competencies to determine whether their schools are successful...'

10-5-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--NJ Public Pension Fund Returns Over 13 Percent, Outpacing Expectations State expects to put $2.5 billion into pension system in 2018 fiscal year, still far short of what’s needed to restore it to good health New Jersey’s public-employee pension-fund investments generated returns of more than 13 percent during the state’s last fiscal year, far outpacing the assumed rate of return for what is one of the nation’s worst-funded state retirement systems...'

Star Ledger--This sign language teacher is N.J.'s Teacher of The Year TRENTON -- New Jersey's 2017 Teacher of the Year is an American Sign Language teacher who has inspired hearing children to fall in love with sign language. Amy Andersen, a teacher at Ocean City High School, was honored with the award at Wednesday's state Board of Education meeting. She was selected from 21 county winners and will receive a six-month paid sabbatical to serve as a liaison between the teaching community and the state Department of Education...'

Associated Press--Former South Carolina schools chief could be nation’s No. 2 COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina’s former schools chief said Wednesday he’s eager to help expand parental options if confirmed as the nation’s No. 2 education official...'

Education Week--A Guide to State ESSA Plans: Goals, Teacher Quality, and More After more than a year of preparation, the Every Student Succeeds Act is on the verge of hitting classrooms nationwide. And nearly all states have now laid out their blueprints for how they intend to hold schools and districts accountable for requirements of the new federal K-12 law. ESSA is sparking significant shifts in state autonomy after more than a decade of a heavier federal footprint under the law’s predecessor, the No Child Left Behind Act. But getting there hasn’t been a smooth or simple process, as states hammered out detailed plans for ESSA implementation and submitted them to the U.S. Department of Education...'

10-4-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Op-Ed: A Rising Tide in Camden — Continued School Progress Key to the turnaround: strong leadership and continued hard work and commitment of students, teachers, parents, and administrators Last week marked the third annual release of school-by-school PARCC scores — and the third year in a row of sustained academic progress. With each year that passes, New Jersey students continue to show improvement on the statewide PARCC assessment, and Camden students are no exception. This is a hopeful trend that suggests that the changes underway in the Camden education system are working and should be sustained...'

Education Week--The Arts Have Much More to Teach Us Two arts education luminaries reflect on their work and what's ahead Fifty years ago, a small group of scholars joined together to launch Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The philosopher Nelson Goodman christened the interdisciplinary team "Project Zero" to convey that while there was plenty of useful lore in education in the arts, there was little systematic knowledge. Through much of the 20th century, it's fair to say that artistry had not been taken seriously in American social science...'

10-3-17 Education in the News
Times of Trenton--N.J. almost got to #1 in nation for teachers    Editorial
Early and often in his tenure, Gov. Chris Christie made the state's teachers and their union the brunt of bitter criticism. He griped that educators earn too much money, and whined that they are at the root of the Garden State's fiscal woes. At one point he went on record that he'd like to punch the teachers' union in the face. Despite Christie's mean-spirited carping, word came this week that the state he governs has been designated the second most teacher-friendly state in the nation - outranked only by neighboring New York...'

NPR--'Little Soldiers' Examines China's Military-Like Education System Mary Louise Kelly talks to journalist and Shanghai resident Lenora Chu about educating her young son in the Chinese public education system. Chu has written a book called: Little Soldiers. When American journalist Lenora Chu moved to Shanghai, she needed to find a school for her toddler. She looked at international schools. But they cost a lot, and she wanted her son to learn Mandarin. Soon, she found herself gazing through the black and gold iron gates guarding Shanghai's most prestigious kindergarten. It's a public school where Chinese government officials fight to send their kids...'

10-2-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--The List: Where Do Foreign Students Studying in New Jersey Call Home? From Brazil to Vietnam, China to Turkey, some 26,000 men and women were in the Garden State on active student visas last year Many have complained about the possible effects of the Trump administration’s latest travel ban and announced end of protection from deportation for undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children by their parents, but so far there has been no efforts to curb the issuance of student visas...'

NJ Spotlight--Budget Basics: Employee Retirement Benefits — the Problem Is Large A series that details the fundamentals of New Jersey's budget, as well as its current budget woes Background Most state employees are enrolled in state-sponsored defined-benefit pension systems. Unlike defined contributions plans —like 401(k)s — in these systems employees and employers make annual contributions and the employees are promised a specific pension amount based on years of service and salary level...'

NY Times--A Game to Help Students Pay the Right Price for College In the last big economic downturn, back when Tim Ranzetta was in the student loan analysis and consulting business and working with colleges, borrowers often found their way to him, too. There would be tears. And he would get off the phone with the same frustration each time over how little the people who actually use them know about student loans. Starting this week, he has a new tool in what has become a yearslong campaign to fill that gap: a free, interactive, web-based game called Payback...'

Education Week--A Primer on the Supreme Court Case That Teachers' Unions Have Been Fearing Today, the U.S. Supreme Court officially agreed to review a case on public-employee union fees that could potentially deliver a harsh blow to the nation's teachers' unions. You may find yourself asking: Wait, haven't we been through this? Wasn't someone named Friedrichs involved? And why is this coming up again? All good questions. Let's take a look at what's at stake, and how we got here...'

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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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