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Garden State Coalition of Schools
Elisabeth Ginsburg, Executive Director
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Trenton, New Jersey 08608


11-14-16 Education in the News

NJ Spotlight--Christie, Trump, and Public Education in New Jersey

The governor may go, the president-elect is something of a cipher, but itís still possible to rough out a few likely changes to education policy

With education largely getting short shrift from both campaigns, public schools in New Jersey and elsewhere have been left scratching their heads about what comes next with the election of Donald Trump as president.

By his speeches, Trump is largely pro-school choice, anti-federal regulation, and certainly no fan of unions. But thatís about as much as anyone knows concerning his education stands.

It gets even more murky in New Jersey, given the travails of Gov. Chris Christie and questions about whether he will leave early to serve in Trumpís administration.

Hereís a few of the most prominent questions and what President-Elect Trumpís victory means for public education in the state:


John Mooney | November 14, 2016

NJ Spotlight--Reviewing Old Unfunded Mandates Could Help NJ Officials Follow the Money

A 1995 constitutional amendment barred new state mandates without funding but left those already on books untouched ó and they could be costing communities plenty

New Jersey voters amended the state constitution two decades ago to keep state government from passing laws that require spending by local governments. The ban on what are known as unfunded mandates was hailed as a key property-tax reform, but it didnít rescind mandates that were already on the books or apply to those passed at the federal level.

Today, however, little is known about the cost of those older mandates, and more importantly, policymakers arenít sure exactly what role they may be playing as local governments struggle to contain property-tax bills that are at an all-time high in New Jersey.

A bill thatís been advancing with bipartisan support in Trenton this year seeks to address that information gap by requiring state officials to begin compiling a list of all state and federal unfunded mandates.


John Reitmeyer | November 14, 2016

Star Ledger--Why homework is getting an F at some North Jersey schools

In an attempt to decrease student anxiety, school districts across the nation ó including a cluster in North Jersey ó have introduced homework-free nights. But some parents say such measures are not enough to ease the pressure.

Tenafly Schools Superintendent Lynn Trager said the free nights have been well received by parents and students. The time is essential for students' mental health and allows them more time with their families, Trager believes. Tenafly and Cresskill started the program recently, while Glen Rock, Ridgewood and Ramapo Indian Hills have offered homework-free nights for several years.

But others say that a few nights a year without schoolwork can't quell the impact of an excessive workload. In an era in which teens are overscheduled and suffer from anxiety and burnout, further relief is needed, they say.

Observing the emotional toll of the nightly grind on their families, some parents over the past decade have launched a war against homework. Anti-homework articles and books abound, and parents have stormed school meetings in some states to complain. A growing number of schools have responded by implementing new homework policies, and a handful of them Ė in Texas, Massachusetts and New York Ė have banned homework altogether.



Garden State Coalition of Schools
160 W. State Street, Trenton New Jersey 08608