|1-5-16 Education in the News|
NJ Spotlight: Commissioner Hespe Faces Tough Call in Overcrowded Freehold District
John Mooney | January 5, 2016
Administrative law judge overrules voters, says state should approve bonds to relieve cramped, congested schools 'Freehold Borough's schools, a working-class district of 1,700 students and three facilities, is posing a tough question for state Education Commissioner David Hespe over the balance of power between state and local interests.
Twice rejected by the voters in 2014 in its request for bond issues to finance badly needed school renovations, the district appealed to Hespe a year ago to overturn the people’s will and order the bonds, arguing that students were being deprived of their right to an education.
It was only the third such appeal since the state’s school construction law was enacted in 2000, which spawned one of the biggest investments in building and renovating schools in the country. But money has since slowed to a trickle.
Last month, administrative law judge Susan Scarola in her fact-finding on the casesided with the district and recommended that Hespe order more than $32.9 million in bonds to address what she called a “constitutional deprivation” for the district’s children.
Now, the decision is in the hands of Hespe...'
Education Week: Will States Swap Standards-Based Tests for SAT, ACT?
High school testing is on the brink of a profound shift, as states increasingly choose college-entrance exams to measure achievement. The new federal education law invites that change, but it comes with some big caution signs and unanswered questions.
The questions are hanging over a provision of the Every Student Succeeds Act that lets states measure high school achievement with college-entrance exams instead of standards-based assessments.
If many states make that change, it would represent an important national shift in the meaning of high school testing, assessment experts say.
That's because most states' current tests are based on their academic standards and are built to measure mastery of those standards. Moving to a college-entrance exam such as the SAT or ACT, which are designed to predict the likelihood of students' success in college, would mean that states had chosen instead to measure college readiness.
"It's a really big shift," said Wayne Camara, who helped design the SAT and oversaw research at the College Board for two decades before taking a similar post at ACT in 2014. "States need to think about what they want their accountability system to measure and choose the test best suited for that. Ultimately, it's a judgment. It depends on what you value most..."
Garden State Coalition of Schools