9-4-13 Education Issues in the News
newjerseynewsroom.com - 6 Facts About New Teacher Evaluations in New Jersey

newjerseynewsroom.com - 5 Reasons NJ School Buses Need Better Seat Belts

Politickernj-State Street Wire - Christie says Buono has no way to pay for her education platform

Newjerseynewsroom.com - 6 Facts About New Teacher Evaluations in New Jersey


Tuesday, 03 September 2013 11:10  BY BOB HOLT

The new school year marks the beginning of the new teacher evaluation systems in New Jersey.

The new tenure reform law required that a number of teacher evaluations be put in place by the 2013-2014-school term. Many teachers do not completely understand the new system, which has brought about a lot of changes.

Districts will now be evaluating their teachers on the performance of their students. NJ.com reports that standardized test scores will now account for 35 percent of the rating for fourth through eighth grade teachers.

Even teachers’ tenure can now be on the line. Those with the lowest evaluation rating on a four-tier scale will lose their tenure, no matter their term of service.

According to njea.org, the ratings on that scale are “Highly Effective,” “Effective,” Partially Effective,” and “Ineffective.” The new tenure law calls for a “Corrective Action Plan” for teachers evaluated as “Partially Effective” or “Ineffective,” to be developed by the teacher and the supervisor of the teacher.

And every school is required to form a School Improvement Panel that will perform evaluations, oversee new teacher mentoring, and find opportunities for professional development.

Also, according to njea.org, all teachers will receive unannounced observations, some with two observers. Teachers are being divided into core and non-core groups. Student achievement makes up 50 percent of the score for core teachers, while it counts as 15 and 50 percent of the score for non-core teachers.

Over in Newark, The Daily Journal reported that teachers now only receive raises if they achieve ratings of “effective” or “highly effective.” They had previously received pay raises based on terms of service.

“We have to make teaching and learning our highest priority,” said Bergenfield Superintendent Michael Kuchar, according to The Daily Journal. “This is to move the wide range of mediocrity to the next level,” he said.


newjerseynewsroom.com - 5 Reasons NJ School Buses Need Better Seat Belts


Monday, 02 September 2013 13:22 by Bob Holt


The coming of Labor Day means back to school time for most children of New Jersey, if they aren’t there already.

Back in July, the National Transportation Safety Board reviewed the report of a school bus accident with a truck near Chesterfield from February 2012 that resulted in the death of one student.

School bus accidents have been occurring more frequently in recent years. With school back in session, are your children safe?

Students need to be safer in their buses. There are ways to do that. 1.) Add shoulder belts to the lap seat belts currently in use. The NTSB and New Jersey Senator Samuel Thompson recommended the shoulder belts.

Thompson said, according to the Burlington County Times, “The lap belt holds your bottom in place, but your shoulders and head are free and can still strike something (in an accident). To have adequate protection, you need the shoulder strap to hold you more in place.”

2.) Educate students and school bus drivers about the importance of using seat belts. This is another NTSB idea, but Thompson says the drivers cannot enforce the rule if belts were made mandatory. “Right now, there’s no way for them to know if students are belted or not,” he said, according to the Burlington County Times. “Requiring monitors to check, that’s a pretty big expense.”

3.) School buses have hard interior surfaces. NJ.com reports that the NTSB has long supported padding the harder bus interiors.

4.) High back padded seats. According to the National Coalition for School Bus Safety, studies have shown that these seats combined with seat belts offer greater safety for passengers in the event of an accident.

5.) The NCSBS adds that proper use of seat belts will reduce the chances of students putting their arms or heads out of windows, actions that can potentially prove fatal.

Politickernj-State Street Wire - Christie says Buono has no way to pay for her education platform

By Bill Mooney | September 4th, 2013 - 1:16pm

BEACH HAVEN – Standing in front of a reopened school here today, Gov. Chris Christie hammered at his opponent’s educational plan that was unveiled on Tuesday.

Christie said that Sen. Barbara Buono’s education platform at a minimum would cost $3 billion in new state spending just for its K-12 aspect.

Christie said that would be on top of a record amount the state already is spending: $9 billion.

When asked how she would pay for it, “her only answer is the millionaire’s tax, which by their estimate raises only $650 million,” Christie said.

The governor said that one can fairly conclude that the way she intends to pay for the rest of it is by raising taxes on everyone.

“My guess is she will raise taxes on everyone by a significant amount,’’ he said today.  Either that, or she will decide to not fund pensions as the state formerly did, or cut funding to hospitals, Christie said.

Christie said the state collects $11 billion from the income tax, and $9 billion of that is returned to school districts.  “To generate 30 percent more in revenue,’’ he said, “think about how high taxes would have to go up.”

He called her proposal folly and said “she has no way of paying for it.”

Buono unveiled an extensive platform Tuesday that includes instituting full-day kingergarten, restoring full funding for after-school programs, and for higher-education facilities, more tuition assistance and scholarships.