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Garden State Coalition of Schools
Elisabeth Ginsburg, Executive Director
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8-29-16 Education in the News

The Press of Atlantic City--Atlantic City proposes school vouchers, tax credits for homeschooling

ATLANTIC CITY — A referendum asking voters in the city whether they would like to see vouchers promoting school choice and tax credits for parents who homeschooling their children will appear on the ballot in November.

The nonbinding referendum, which means the city doesn’t have to act if voters approve it, was presented by Councilmen Jesse Kurtz and Aaron Randolph and approved unanimously by City Council on Aug. 17.

“(Council) likes the idea of people having a voice in nonbinding referendums,” Kurtz said. “We don’t want to assume what people are thinking.”

The vouchers would be redeemable at both private and public schools, pending space, and could save the city money if more students choose to attend private schools, Kurtz said. Students leaving the Atlantic City School District for private schools would reduce the district’s budget, therefore lowering the city’s budget as council tries to stave off a state takeover, Kurtz said.


JOHN DeROSIER, Staff Writer|Aug 26, 2016


Gannettnj.com--Pallone announces proposed legislation to repair school water fountains that may contain lead

The bill also would amend the Safe Drinking Water Act

Story Highlights

  • Bill also would provide assistance to schools replacing older drinking water fountains that may contain lead.
  • Dozens of New Jersey schools have reported lead levels over the federal action level this year.

NEW BRUNSWICK - U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-6th District, ranking member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, announced new proposed legislation that would amend the Safe Drinking Water Act and provide assistance to schools to replace older drinking water fountains that may contain lead.

The bill, H.R.5886, coauthored with U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Illinois, would establish a grant program to provide assistance to local educational agencies for the replacement of drinking water fountains manufactured prior to 1988.

The announcement was made Friday at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School in the city. Dozens of New Jersey schools, including those in the city, have reported lead levels over the federal action level this year.

 “Lead in school drinking water is an immediate and serious threat for children in cities across New Jersey and this nation,” Pallone said. “This important bill could quickly eliminate a main source of lead in schools, protecting countless schoolchildren. With another school year approaching, we need to take action on these issues as soon as possible.”

The proposed bill would authorize $5,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2017 through 2021 to help replace older fountains and also to supplement the costs of monitoring and reporting lead levels in the drinking water of schools of a local educational agency receiving such funds, as determined appropriate by the administrator.


Susan Loyer, @SusanLoyerMyCJ 5:22 p.m. EDT August 26, 2016


Star Ledger--School cafeteria workers joining fight for $15 an hour

NEWARK — They are joining fast food, airport, and thousands of other workers in what has become known as the "fight for $15."

School cafeteria workers are the latest group to demand $15 an hour pay, which representatives from their 32BJ food service workers union say would be a significant jump from the $9 to $13 an hour most of them make now.

Negotiations started this week for the first master contract between cafeteria workers in five New Jersey school districts – Orange, Hackensack, North Brunswick, South Brunswick, and Woodbridge – and one in Stroudsburg, Penn., and Chartwells, the contract food service provider that employs them, the union announced.

"It's a public fight," said Kevin Brown, 32BJ Vice President and NJ State Director.

The change will be in place by the end of his term, Ras Baraka said.

The group, he said, is planning a rally in Essex County next month. And, though the negotiating workers plan to be in their cafeterias when school starts in September, they may not stay there.


Jessica Mazzola | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com|Auust 26, 2016 at 8:00 AM, updated August 26, 2016 at 9:13 AM


Education Week--States With High 'Opt Out' Rates Brace for Possible Penalties

Education leaders in states where resistance to taking annual exams remains strong are bracing for penalties that the U.S. Department of Education could send down in the coming months for falling short of testing enough qualified students last school year.

Under both the previous No Child Left Behind Act and the recently enacted Every Student Succeeds Act, the Education Department has required that states administer their annual standardized exams to at least 95 percent of qualified students.

But in New York and Colorado—two hotbeds of testing "opt out" activism—state K-12 officials have reported in recent weeks that they missed that benchmark last school year. Participation rates in some grades in New York and Colorado actually dipped below the previous year during 2015-16, evidence that the opt-out movement isn't going away anytime soon.

Federal education officials have not yet decided how they will penalize states with high opt-out rates, placing some state leaders on edge. The department in the past has been reluctant to talk tough about potential consequences. It's not even clear whether U.S. Secretary of Education John King Jr. (who was at the helm of the New York education agency when the opt-out movement first took hold) will make the decision or if the Obama administration will leave it to the new president and his or her secretary of education.


By Daarel Burnette II|August 23, 2016





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