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9-7-16 Education in the News

The Record-- As 1.4M students return to school, N.J. education faces a year of profound change

Students shuffled nervously through the doors at Smith Middle School in Ramsey Tuesday morning, trying to spot familiar faces and find their homerooms on their first day back to school.

“Do you know where you’re going? I have no idea,” one blonde-ponytailed girl asked another.

The girl’s reply seemed to reflect how many kids were feeling Tuesday morning. “This is going to be interesting,” she said, half-smiling.

Across New Jersey, 1.4 million public school students are returning to classrooms this week in what will be a year of change, with new graduation measures, a new education commissioner and a roiling debate among Trenton lawmakers over the way schools are funded.

In Ramsey, some 85 miles north of Trenton, teachers were focused on balancing basics and state mandates with experiences for students designed to pique their curiosity and develop critical thinking skills.


HANNAN ADELY| Staff WRiter | The Record| September 7, 2016


Star Ledger--Armed, retired cops in N.J. schools? Not yet, says Christie

CALDWELL — Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday conditionally vetoed a bill that would have put armed retired police officers in public and private schools and colleges to provide security. 

The governor said he's not against having special police officers designated inside New Jersey's schools, but said he wanted changes made that reflected the special nature of an educational environment.

"I have no problem with having this new class of officers," said Christie. "But let's give them the specialized training that is available to deal with younger people, and to deal with the issues that come up with younger people."


Claude Brodesser-Akner | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com|  September 06, 2016 at 4:10 PM, updated September 06, 2016 at 4:28 PM


Trenton Times-- Senate leader Sweeney touts statewide pre-K in Trenton

TRENTON — Senate President Stephen Sweeney visited Trenton's Grant Elementary School on Tuesday to tout his plan to expand the state's pre-kindergarten system, one day ahead of children returning to classrooms.

Sweeney (D-Glocester), who is involved in a high-profile battle with Governor Christie over the state's current school funding formula, touted his plan to expand the state's pre-K system.

"We're trying to expand pre-K throughout the state," Sweeney said. "The goal is to get all school districts to provide pre-K."

"We didn't put a lot of money into (the budget) this year because we couldn't, but we added in an extra $25 million," he said.

"You make this enormous investment in education from K to 12 and the small investment upfront in pre-K will reduce your cost on the backend — and that's why we really want to start ramping up and focusing more on directing funding to pre-K," Sweeney said.



Greg Wright | For NJ.com| on September 06, 2016 at 4:45 PM, updated September 06, 2016 at 4:49 PM


The Record--Christie uses back-to-school bill-signing to draw attention to school funding proposal

Governor Christie is beginning a new school year battling an old adversary on multiple fronts.

Christie used a back-to-school bill-signing event on Tuesday in Caldwell to draw attention to his plan to overhaul public school funding and once again attack the New Jersey Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union, which has vowed to fight his “Fairness Formula.”

The two sides go into the courtroom Wednesday in a separate, but no less heated, dispute over health benefits.

After signing a bill in the library of Grover Cleveland Middle School that prevents students in preschool through the second grade from being expelled, Christie said he will spend the coming months to trying to weaken the union and turn public opinion in favor of his plan to give each public school student $6,599 instead of amounts as high as $33,000 a student under the current weighted formula.

“As we begin this new school year, we’ve got to demand more, and I’m going to continue to demand more,” Christie said. “If it works, great. If it doesn’t, it’s not going to be for lack of trying.”

Christie proposed the new formula over the summer and faces strong opposition from Democrats in the Legislature and the teachers union, which spends heavily on Democratic elections.


By DUSTIN RACIOPPI|State House Bureau | The Record


NJ Spotlight-- Agenda: Hespe Makes His Swan Song as Commissioner

Back-to-school meeting dives into fiscal rules, puts off some other more controversial topics

Date: Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016

Time: 10 a.m.

Where: New Jersey Department of Education, 1st-floor conference room, 100 River View Plaza, Trenton

Hespe departure: State Education Commissioner David Hespe is expected to attend his final State Board meeting in office, after announcing last week that he would be leaving by the end of the month. He is to be replaced by assistant commissioner Kimberley Harrington. Otherwise, the board is dealing with mostly procedural matters at its first meeting of the new school year, with new rules for charter schools and for superintendent pay put off for at least another month.

Commissioner’s durability: Hespe is leaving after 30 months on the job as Gov. Chris Christie’s appointee –- and that was just his latest stint. Hespe also served close to two years under former Gov. Christine Whitman, meaning he has held the job longer overall than any commissioner since Leo Klagholz’s five-year run in the late 1990s.


John Mooney | September 7, 2016


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