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6-13-14 Education in the News - Part 2
Star Ledger – Assembly committees approves bills to expand vocational-technical training..."“This is something near and dear to my heart,” Prieto told the committee. “I went to the trades to get a better life. We need to make sure we train our workforce properly.” There is a big demand for these programs. New Jersey's network of 21 county vocational-technical systems includes 60 schools that enroll more than 32,000 students, according to Judy Savage, executive director of the New Jersey Council of County Vocational-Technical Schools. Savage said these schools turned away 17,000 students last year..."

Star Ledger -Bill would require NJ school districts to make accommodations for disabled students in sports

The Record Editorial - Living with the cap

Star Ledger –  Assembly committees approves bills to expand vocational-technical training

By Peggy McGlone/The Star-Ledger The Star-Ledger
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on June 12, 2014 at 1:02 PM

TRENTON — The Assembly Education Committee Thursday approved a package of bills to expand career and technical training by fostering partnerships with business and post-secondary schools, easing regulations and restoring modest funding for adult education.

Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto sponsored the package as part of his campaign to improve and expand technical training programs.

“This is something near and dear to my heart,” Prieto told the committee. “I went to the trades to get a better life. We need to make sure we train our workforce properly.”

There is a big demand for these programs. New Jersey's network of 21 county vocational-technical systems includes 60 schools that enroll more than 32,000 students, according to Judy Savage, executive director of the New Jersey Council of County Vocational-Technical Schools. Savage said these schools turned away 17,000 students last year.

The bills remove hurdles for offering classes off-site, require teacher and counselor training programs to include instruction on career readiness, create dual enrollment programs for high schools and colleges and universities and restore money for adult high schools and post-secondary programs.

Committee chairman Patrick Diegnan (D-Middlesex) opened the hearing by saying the measures are among the most important reforms of his 12-year tenure.

“We say all the time that there are so many jobs in New Jersey that are waiting to be filled but the students are not prepared to fill them.”

One of the bills, a call for $50 million in bonds to expand facilities, was held for future discussion.

  

Star Ledger -Bill would require NJ school districts to make accommodations for disabled students in sports

By Matt Friedman/The Star-Ledger The Star-Ledger
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on June 12, 2014 at 12:41 PM, updated June 12, 2014 at 4:27 PM

New Jersey school districts would be required to offer students with disabilities opportunities to participate in organized sports and physical education programs under a bill advancing through the Legislature.

The state Senate and an Assembly panel today passed the legislation (S2079), which would require districts to "ensure that a student with a disability has an equal opportunity to participate in physical education programs, participate in existing classroom activities that involve physical activity, and try out for and, if selected, participate in athletic programs."

There was no debate in the state Senate.

In the Assembly Women and Children's Committee, the bill's sponsor, Assemblywoman Pamela Lampit (D-Camden), said it would help disabled students form bonds with able-bodied peers.

“Certainly we know taking part in athletic activities in schools is a good way to provide exercise, a good way to integrate in terms of getting acquainted with their classmates, a good way to build relationships and form bonds," Lampitt said.

The committee vote to approve the bill was 5-0.. The action on the legislation comes six months after the federal Department of Education directed school districts to include disabled students in sports programs or provide equal alternatives.

Lampitt said she learned the importance first-hand. Her niece, Amber, has cerebral palsy, and her own children taught her how to use a swing.

“My kids were there pumping her legs so that she learned the motions of how to swing that swing,” Lampitt said. “And if it wasn’t for my children, Amber wouldn’t have swung on that swing, and never would have felt that lightness that we all feel just breezing in the wind, back and forth, back and forth.”

The bill would also require districts make “reasonable modifications or aids and services” to help disabled students participate in sports.

Exemptions are included in the legislation, for instance if the activity poses a health risk to the disabled student or “fundamentally alters the nature” of the sports program.

Organizations representing school districts and school sports programs support the measure.

Paul Anzano, the New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association’s legislative liaison, said his organization supports the bill and that many districts already make accommodations for disabled students in sports.

“We currently are ready to help any school district that wants to adopt these kinds of programs and be more inclusive in those programs,” Anzano said. “We stand ready to do this. And we have done it in the past.”

 

The Record Editorial - Living with the cap

 

June 13, 2014    Last updated: Friday, June 13, 2014, 1:21 AM

The Record

NEWS THAT Englewood Schools Superintendent Donald Carlisle was set to finally be paid within the state's salary cap next year is good for the district, even if he already announced he was leaving after this month. The district can now move past that issue, which nearly cost it state aid for not complying with requests to submit a new contract.

The superintendent salary cap law remains controversial, but it provides real value.

Englewood submitted a contract to the Bergen County executive superintendent before the law went into effect for a salary higher than the amount Governor Christie's proposal allotted a district of Englewood's size. However, after the Parsippany-Troy Hills district signed a contract far exceeding its limit, Christie ordered counties to hold off on approving contracts until the law was in place.

It's not clear how Englewood went forward with its superintendent's contract despite apparently never getting official state approval, but that issue can be set aside now. What remains is tension in many communities, especially wealthier ones, that say the cap is a burden, denying them the ability to hire the best school leaders.

To be fair, the superintendent cap was a selective measure. The governor didn't force the same fiscal constraints on other public executive positions or on the six-figure payouts many collect upon retirement, which can dwarf superintendents' pay.

But it's shortsighted to say individual districts should get to decide if they want to pay superintendents an extra $20,000 or more. Or for that matter, pay top cops very, very well. The long-term effect of allowing that means taxpayers across the state share in the pension obligations of those larger salaries.

While districts should want the best educators available, ultimately these positions can only be worth so much. There is no blank check.

Public school districts must recognize where their revenue comes from. Instead of letting districts saddle residents with enormous tax bills by competing to offer the highest superintendents' pay in the region, the state imposed a limit.

The logistics of this law may need to be refined, but having a salary cap is ultimately the right move for districts.

 


Garden State Coalition of Schools
160 W. State Street, Trenton New Jersey 08608
609-394-2828



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