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Garden State Coalition of Schools
Elisabeth Ginsburg, Executive Director
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7-21-16 Education in the News

NJ Spotlight--Ballot Question on Pension Payments Gets Dragged into TTF Wrangle

Deadline nears for putting new pension payments on November ballot, but impasse between Christie and Sweeney on transportation funding gets in the way

A statewide ballot question that would require increasing payments into New Jersey's grossly underfunded public-employee pension system has now been dragged into the debate over renewing the state Transportation Trust Fund. Senate President Stephen Sweeney fears the state won't be able to fund the bigger payments if the sales tax is also cut this year, which is part of Gov. Chris Christie's solution for the TTF.

Public-worker unions enthusiastically back the proposal to amend the state constitution, which calls for more robust state pension contributions, and they remain confident it will pass the Senate one more time, which is the last step needed to put the ballot question before voters this fall. In fact, ads backed by the New Jersey Education Association in support of funding the pension system are already airing on television as a state deadline for getting questions on the ballot is now less than three weeks away.


John Reitmeyer | July 21, 2016


Providence Journal--R.I. education chief defends decision to drop test for 10th graders

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Education Commissioner Ken Wagner defended his decision to drop a standardized test from 10th grade, a move that received mixed reviews from educators who worry that it will undermine holding students and teachers accountable for their performances.

On Friday, Wagner announced that 10th graders no longer have to take the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), a test that still will be given in grades three through nine. High school students, however, will have to take a math test, either algebra 1 or geometry.

 The move reflects widespread concern, Wagner said, that students were being overtested and that a standardized test shouldn't be a barrier to graduation. It is also a response to Governor Raimondo's commitment to provide free SAT and PSAT tests to all students in the hopes that more will consider applying to college.

 "In general, he is trying to dial back the controversy and de-emphasize the test itself," said Tim Ryan, executive director of the

Rhode Island School Superintendents' Association. "The commissioner is right in taking a step back, then coming up with a plan that will be recognized as something meaningful."

 Raimondo said she is pleased with Wagner's decision:

 "While the PARCC assessment remains a vital measure for school accountability in Rhode Island," she said, "we want to be sure that we strike a reasonable balance with the amount of time dedicated to test-taking and we don’t want to overtest our students. ... Even more importantly, teachers, parents and students will know how our students are doing and how best to help them be prepared to compete in the global economy."

 Democratic Rep. Gregg Amore, an educator from East Providence, said the goal is to eventually replace the PARCC in high school with the SAT or PSAT.


Linda Borg| July 19. 2016 7:04PM









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