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8-15-16 Education in the News

Asbury Park Press--School funding: Will Christie plan hurt NJ?

Gov. Chris Christie has been touting his controversial new school-funding proposal as a "Fairness Formula," a mechanism for treating every New Jersey public school student exactly the same. What is clearer to education policymakers: His plan would set the Garden State apart from much of the nation. Some contend it would put New Jersey in reverse.

Other states are amending their school-funding formulas to do just the opposite of what Christie proposes, providing more money to some of the neediest student groups, the longstanding  rationale being those students face more challenges to learning, have fewer resources in the home, and very often have more ground to make up than their better-advantaged peers.

"Although additional funds for students with special needs are provided in a variety of ways, the trend is to move toward weighted funding systems," Deborah Verstegen, a professor at the University of Nevada's College of Education, wrote in an email to an Asbury Park Press reporter.


Amanda Oglesby, @OglesbyAPP 9:20 a.m. EDT August 13, 2016


The Record--N.J.’s school-funding puzzle: Study shows aid isn’t a cure-all, but defenders see progress

The 31 school districts that receive billions of dollars in extra court-ordered state education aid each year have not narrowed the gap with the rest of the state when it comes to test scores and college attendance, according to a Record analysis, but defenders of the system caution that those numbers don’t tell the full story about gains the schools have made and the daunting obstacles they face.

In fact, they say, conditions for the state’s poorest children would be much more dire without the money.

The Record assessed the performance of those 31 districts in three categories — elementary and middle school tests, the SATs and the percentage of college-bound students — and found that the achievement gaps generally stayed the same over 10 years.

But in a fourth category — graduation rates — on average the schools in those districts closed the gap by more than seven percentage points.

The analysis comes amid a fierce debate over school funding in New Jersey…


 HANNAN ADELY and DAVE SHEINGOLD| Staff Writers  The Record

August 14, 2016, 1:31 PM Last updated: Monday, August 15, 2016, 6:18 AM


Star Ledger--How one school is giving students a head start at becoming teachers

MONROE TWP. — Students with big dreams of standing in front of a classroom and helping shape the minds of the next generation now have a better chance at making that happen.

Administrators from Rowan University and Williamstown High School are teaming up, starting this fall, to offer high school students a more direct path to becoming a teacher.

Administrators from both schools met at the high school on Wednesday to sign documents finalizing a program that would create an academy program at Williamstown that partners with the university's College of Education. 

It all started with an idea from Jill DelConte, principal of Williamstown High School. The high school has academy programs for engineering, business, allied health and law and justice, creating connections with colleges, but was lacking one for students who want to teach. 


Caitlyn Stulpin | For NJ.com | August 11, 2016 at 2:38 PM


Education Week-- Testing Opt-Out Advocates Are White, Well-Educated, and Well-Off, Survey Says

A new survey of those involved in the assessment opt-out movement finds that typical participants are white, well-educated, and well-off, and very worried about the use of standardized test scores in teacher evaluations. 

"Who Opts Out and Why? Results From a National Survey on Opting Out of Standardized Tests" was published earlier this week by Oren Pizmony-Levy, an assistant professor at Teachers College, Columbia University, and Teachers College research associate Nancy Green Saraisky. 

Among those surveyed, 82 percent chose opposition to the use of students' performance on tests in teacher evaluations as a top-five reason for getting involved in opt-out. In fact, 37 percent of the respondents marked this as one of their top-two concerns in their opt-out advocacy.


By Liana Heitin on August 11, 2016 11:31 AM|By guest blogger Andrew Ujifusa (This post originally appeared on the Politics K-12 blog. )


Philadelphia Inquirer—Op-Ed-- Commentary: Can Real World and Education World get along?

I live in two worlds. In one of them, Education World, there are angry and divisive battles over our public schools. But in the other one, known colloquially as the Real World, there's an enormous degree of consensus about them.

Witness Hillary Clinton's recent speech to the National Education Association, the nation's largest teachers' union. It was a lovefest, for the most part, as Clinton endorsed higher teacher pay and the other standard items on the NEA's wish list. She also distanced herself from the Obama administration's emphasis on standardized testing, especially as a way of evaluating teachers.

But one line in Clinton's address earned her boos from this otherwise friendly crowd, and it spoke volumes about polarization inside Education World. "When schools get it right, whether they are traditional public schools or charter schools, let's figure out what's working," Clinton said.

Clinton didn't call for more charter schools, another long-standing Obama goal. She simply said that we should use the example of successful charters to improve education for everyone. But that was too much for the NEA, which sees charter schools - most of which are nonunionized - as a scheme to break its back, and to destroy public education along the way.

And that's the way it goes inside Education World, the huge network of unions, policymakers, and researchers that surrounds America's schools. It's a political hall of mirrors, where each side says it cares about "the kids" and the other side doesn't.

So if you favor charter schools, you obviously aim to enrich private entrepreneurs. If you back the Common Core curriculum, you're a shill for testing companies. If you endorse Teach for America, you want to unleash waves of untrained neophytes on America's least advantaged students. And so on.

Supporters of these reforms engage in the same kind of black-and-white rhetoric, refusing to acknowledge any shades of gray.


By Jonathan Zimmerman| Updated: July 13, 2016 — 3:01 AM EDT














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