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Garden State Coalition of Schools
Elisabeth Ginsburg, Executive Director
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2-29-16 Education in the News

Star Ledger NJ.com - 7 major changes students will see on the new SAT this week ‘Gone are the days of the obscure vocabulary words, mandatory writing section and negative points for wrong answers.The new SAT debuts March 5 and features a series of changes, the first makeover in more than a decade, based on research and feedback from colleges. Students who take the test will see a streamlined exam aimed at testing practical skills needed for college and beyond, according to the College Board, the non-profit group that oversees the test. There are really no more tricks, no more mystery around this test," Adams said. "Our hope is that when students sit down for the SAT they are going to realize that this is exactly what they are working on in class." ‘


by Adam Clark  NJ Advance Media for NJ.com 


NJ.com - N.J. public employee unions irked by Christie call to cut health benefits

Gov. Chris Christie's state budget address came with a public challenge to cut $250 million from state employees' health benefits.

Without those savings, he warned, New Jersey would struggle to afford a record $1.86 billion public worker pension payment and "protect valuable priorities for the rest of our citizens." The bill for providing health care to active and retired public workers would otherwise rise by hundreds of millions of dollars.

But public employee union members of the two committees that design health care plans for government workers say they view Christie's call as a threat – and point out that he has no power to order the changes.


Samantha Marcus | February 28


Washington Post - The newest fad in education — and why some teachers find it troubling

It’s called “competency-based learning” and its the newest thing in education. What is it? Who likes it? Who doesn’t and why?

On its face, competency-based learning sounds good. Students learn material and move on when they have mastered the material, going at their own pace. But how exactly do students get this sort of education and what are the consequences? Veteran educator Anthony Cody writes in the following primer that competency-based education is fundamentally a way to push kids onto computers to learn — and to take test after test to prove their “competencies.”


By Valerie Strauss| February 27


NJ SPOTLIGHT - TEACHERS MOSTLY OK WITH NEWARK CONTRACT, EXCEPT FOR HANDLING OF BONUSES…Educators typically view landmark contract as evenhanded, according to new report, but friction noted on reward distribution  ‘…The report by the American Institutes for Research -- the first in a three-year study commissioned by the district and paid out of nearly $1 million of Zuckerberg’s money -- has so far found that teachers see the new evaluation system prescribed in the contract as basically fair and even beneficial. Yet opinions diverged when it came to the bonuses themselves, with only a quarter of surveyed teachers saying they were distributed fairly…’



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