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12-7-16 Education in the News

NJ Spotlight--Few Class of 2016 Graduates Manage to Pass PARCC Tests

Christie administration releases data that shows only one in 10 students earned their diploma by successfully tackling PARCC

Note: 186 seniors did not graduate because they did not pass PARCC and/or other assessments.
Source: NJ Department of Education

The debate over New Jersey’s high school graduation requirements flared up again this week with the release of the latest data for the Class of 2016, which showed that few students passed the state’s standardized tests to meet graduation requirements.

The Christie administration’s release on Friday showed that just one in 10 graduates — 9,000 students overall — met the requirements by passing the controversial PARCC tests, which in four years will be the benchmark exam to receive a high-school diploma.

According to the state’s data, half the students met their graduation requirements by passing substitute tests like the SAT, which will not be part of the requirement come 2021. And 6 percent — or nearly 6,000 students — relied on a portfolio appeal, which also faces an uncertain future.

The administration in its release indicated that 96,284 students graduated overall in 2016, a slight increase from 95,149 in 2015.


John Mooney | December 7, 2016


Star Ledger--Are N.J.'s high school graduation requirements unfair? New data fuels concerns

TRENTON -- The state Board of Education approved new rules earlier this year that will require students to pass the PARCC exam in order to graduate starting in 2021.

But new data released by the state Department of Education this week is fueling critics' concerns that the requirements may be too tough.

Only 9 percent of high school seniors in the Class of 2016, who took the tests in their junior year, scored high enough on the PARCC English and math exams to satisfy the state's new graduation requirement, according to data released by the state as part of an agreement to settle a lawsuit. 

About 49 percent of seniors - totaling more than 50,000 students - used their scores on the SAT, ACT or another "substitute" test to meet the graduation requirement.



Kelly Heyboer | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com| December 06, 2016 at 12:48 PM, updated December 06, 2016 at 6:52 PM


The Atlantic--Early College Doesn’t Mean Abandoning the Liberal Arts

A small school in western Massachusetts wants to make sure the concept doesn’t become synonymous with early tracking.

BALTIMORE—In the last few years, hundreds of schools across the United States have endorsed the idea that giving teens access to college classes while they’re still in the relative cocoon of high school helps ease the transition to higher education. So it wouldn’t be unreasonable for casual onlookers to think of “early college” as a relatively recent invention.

Yet Simon’s Rock, a tiny private school nestled in the western Massachusetts town of Great Barrington (perhaps best known as the birthplace of W.E.B. Du Bois), has been piloting the concept for some 50 years. Now, as more cities and states contemplate the general idea, Simon’s Rock is looking to preserve and spread its definition of early college to more students—one grounded in the liberal-arts education it worries too many newer early colleges are eschewing.


Affiliated with Bard College since 1979, the school is a full-time, four-year, accredited institution designed for students who are ready to start college after two or three years of high school. For years, it was alone in the early-college market. It operated with (and continues to abide by) the notion that a strong liberal-arts education is the foundation for a lifetime of learning.


A few decades ago, that would’ve seemed pretty standard. But now, as more states and cities explore the early-college concept, many are focused on equipping students with vocational skills. “Nobody ever wants to have dual-enrollment programs that have any kind of liberal-arts or humanities emphasis,” said Tony Carnevale, the head of the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce. “They just don’t.” High-schoolers in the Houston area, for instance, take welding courses at local community colleges to pick up the skills they need to work after graduation in the oil and construction industries, an arrangement driven in large part by employer demand. And too often, critics like Ruth Lopez Turley, the director of the Houston Education Research Consortium, worry, these programs have attracted lower-income students of color who might have succeeded at a four-year university if given the chance.



Emily DeRuy| December 7, 2016


NJ101.5--Little brother is watching? School bus cameras could prompt pricey traffic tickets

Lawmakers are making another run at allowing external cameras on school buses, which would shoot images that would then be used to ticket drivers who illegally pass a stopped school bus picking up or dropping off children.

The fine for illegally passing a school bus would also be raised, to $300 to $500, but bill sponsor Sen. James Whelan, D-Atlantic, said the moves are about increasing safety, not generating more revenues for municipalities, school districts and the private companies hired to install the monitoring cameras.

“The hope here is that the camera would act as a deterrent,” Whelan said. “People maybe sneak past, or they’re the first guy in line and they’re running a little late for an appointment: ‘Well, the heck with it, I’m going to try to run it.’ But if they know there’s a camera there, I think they’re much more likely to wait and let the kids get on and off the bus and be safe.”



By Michael Symons December 6, 2016 3:43 AM


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