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Garden State Coalition of Schools
Elisabeth Ginsburg, Executive Director
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9-9-16 Education in the News

NJ Spotlight--Anger Over EpiPen ‘Price Gouging’ Sparks Calls for Wider Pharma Cost Inquiry

The EpiPen is not the only medication whose cost has spiked, leading lawmakers to examine ways to keep life-saving medicines affordable

Outrage over major price hikes in the cost of the EpiPen, a lifesaving device used to reverse serious allergic reactions, has prompted New Jersey lawmakers to call for further scrutiny of this particular medicine and a legislative review of the rising prices of a number of critical drugs.

The issue became a major focus at meetings of both the Assembly and Senate health committees on Thursday that revealed a number of questions about insurance coverage of EpiPens, regulations regarding their use in schools, and the wider issue of rising drug prices. Lawmakers advanced two bills designed to reduce the cost of this particular product and pledged to hold hearings on the escalating costs of certain life-saving medicines.


Lilo H. Stainton | September 9, 2016


NJ Spotlight--Interactive Map: Salaries for NJ’s Teachers, School Administrators On Rise

Staff in regional high school and vocational districts receive highest salaries, while those working in charter schools tend to receive lowest

After dropping briefly, the average salaries for New Jersey's public school teachers and administrators are again rising.

In the last school year, the average salary for teachers, librarians, guidance counselors, and other non-administrative staff reached $69,416, an NJ Spotlight analysis of salary data for more than 140,000 professional school employees found. That was almost 1 percent higher than in 2014-15 and 1.6 percent higher than in the previous year.

The average administrator received $119,634 in the 2015-16 school year, 1.6 percent more than a year earlier and 2.1 percent more than in 2013-14.

Typically, salary averages inch up every year, but they had declined earlier this decade due to large numbers of experienced educators choosing to retire due to aging and to the higher health-benefit contributions that teachers are required to make as a result of the pension and health benefits reform law Gov. Chris Christie enacted the year after taking office.


Colleen O'Dea | September 9, 2016


Jersey Journal--Jersey City schools face threat of changes in state funding

Jersey City's public schools started the school year today as the district faces two serious funding challenges.

Gov. Chris Christie and state Sen. President Stephen Sweeney over the summer revealed competing plans to alter the way the state funds its public schools and each plan could lead to dramatic funding changes for Jersey City's 28,000-student school district. The district gets nearly three-quarters of its funding from the state.

Christie's plan would leave the district short about $217 million, or 38 percent of the district's $570 million operating budget. Sweeney's plan would lead to more gradual changes that may include eliminating an aid program that brought in $114 million to the district from the state this year.

Both Christie, a Republican, and Sweeney, a Democrat from Gloucester County, say their plans would lead to a more equitable allocation of the nearly $9.1 billion in school funding the state distributes annually. Marcia V. Lyles, Jersey City's schools superintendent, declined to offer comments on the specific proposals, but indicated some displeasure.

"Equity does not mean equal," Lyles told The Jersey Journal before last month's school board meeting. "Equity means what do you do to level the playing field so all the children have access to succeed. And that's the kind of budget that we need and must have if we really want all children to succeed."


Terrence T. McDonald | The Jersey Journal| September 08, 2016 at 4:43 PM, updated September 08, 2016 at 9:46 PM


The Record--Teachers push for curriculum on 9/11 attacks

Students in this year’s incoming high school freshman class were not yet born on Sept. 11, 2001.

Unlike so many adults who lived in North Jersey 15 years ago, they do not have a vivid and visceral memory or a personal tragedy tied to that day. They never looked out the car window and saw the skyline with the Twin Towers. They don’t remember the news reports, chaos, fear, crumbling buildings and days of smoke. They don’t remember friends and family overwhelmed by a stunned sadness for weeks and months afterward.

 “They have a general sense that this happened, but it’s a historical event to them — it’s something that feels very far away,” said Noah Rauch, director of education programs at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. “They have a sense that the world changed, but they have no sense of what the pre-9/11 world looked like in a way that they knew what that shift actually meant.”

Educators also know that their students Google — and that can send them down a road of misinformation and conspiracy theories.

But in New Jersey, for a variety of reasons, there’s a good chance they won’t learn what really happened that day in school. The state has no mandated 9/11 curriculum, so it’s up to individual districts and teachers to decide if and how that education will be provided. What class? How many lessons? At what age? When dealing with packed academic schedules already and a focus on standardized test preparation, finding time to deal with a sensitive and complex historical event like 9/11 isn’t easy.

Now a growing corps of educators is pushing to correct that, to make that pivotal date in the history of the region and the nation a part of what is routinely taught.




NY Times--Crux of Connecticut Judge’s Grim Ruling: Schools Are Broken

When a Connecticut judge threw out the state’s school financing system as unconstitutional this week, his unsparing 90-page ruling read and resonated like a cry from the heart on the failings of American public education.

Judge Thomas G. Moukawsher of State Superior Court in Hartford was scathing: He criticized “uselessly perfect teacher evaluations” that found “virtually every teacher in the state” proficient or exemplary, while a third of students in many of the poorest communities cannot read even at basic levels. He attacked a task force charged with setting meaningful high school graduation requirements for how its “biggest thought on how to fix the problem turned out to be another task force,” and called it “a kind of a spoof.”

Though his ruling was about Connecticut, he spoke to a larger nationwide truth: After the decades of lawsuits about equity and adequacy in education financing, after federal efforts like No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, after fights over the Common Core standards and high-stakes testing and the tug of war between charter schools and community schools, the stubborn achievement gaps between rich and poor, minority and white students persist.




Washington Post-- U.S. to track religious discrimination in schools as anti-Muslim sentiment grows

GERMANTOWN, MD- Hannah Shraim, who graduated in June from Northwest High School says she felt discrimination for being a Muslim during her High School years. (Photos by Amanda Voisard)

The U.S. Education Department announced it will begin collecting data this year about allegations of discrimination or bullying of students based on their religion, bringing new attention to what educators and advocates call a growing problem in public schools, particularly for Muslim students.

Catherine E. Lhamon, the department’s assistant secretary for civil rights, said the department plans to work with schools and communities to promote inclusive school environments for everyone.

“Students of all religions should feel safe, welcome and valued in our nation’s schools,” she said in an announcement.

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The news was welcomed by Muslim advocates. Terrorist attacks in Paris, San Bernadino, and Orlando by individuals who claimed allegiance to the Islamic State, and a presidential candidate who has proposed a ban on all Muslims entering the country have fueled a wave of anti-Muslim sentiment.

By Michael Alison Chandler September 9 at 6:00 AM


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