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Garden State Coalition of Schools
Elisabeth Ginsburg, Executive Director
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1-12-17 Education in the News

Star Ledger--N.J. schools 'not safe' for most LGBTQ students, survey finds

TRENTON -- Even as schools have offered significantly more support for LGBTQ students, New Jersey's middle and high schools remain hostile environments for many gay, lesbian and transgender teens, according to a survey by a national education advocacy organization.

The 2015 National School Climate Survey conducted by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) found that 85 percent of the 302 LGBTQ students surveyed in New Jersey said they heard negative remarks about gender expression in school and nearly 80 percent heard homophobic remarks. 

Fourteen percent of students said they heard homophobic comments from school staff, the results released Wednesday found. 

The New Jersey students who participated in the survey were among 10,528 students nationwide, including students in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The national results found that most schools are still hostile environments for LGBTQ students, though anti-bullying policies and gay-straight alliances have helped change school culture. 

The survey's findings mirror stories shared by LGBTQ middle and high school students across the state, said Carol Watchler, co-chair of GLSEN Central New Jersey.

"Schools are still hostile environments for so many of these students," Watcher said. "And now more than ever they need our support."

Adam Clark | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com| January 11, 2017 at 2:37 PM, updated January 11, 2017 at 5:42 PM



Observer--NJ Democratic Leaders Sweeney and Prieto Offer Competing School Funding Plans

N.J. Governor Chris Christie, Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Vince Prieto could be headed toward a collision on school funding. PolitickerNJ

Though New Jersey governor Chris Christie focused his attention and the legislature’s on mitigating the state’s opiate crisis during his state of the state address this week, school funding could be the next major legislative battle as Christie works to secure his legacy during his last year in office.

After Christie’s address, Democratic Senate President Steve Sweeney said the governor’s school funding plan—which would equalize school funding statewide, presenting a windfall for some districts and ruin for others—will likely make its reappearance during Christie’s budget address next month.

While many pundits and editorial pages have predicted dim prospects for Christie’s school funding proposal given strong Democratic majorities in both houses of the legislature, Sweeney and his Assembly counterpart Vince Prieto have not presented a united front to oppose Christie’s plan yet.


By JT Aregood • 01/11/17 3:07pm


NY Times--Justices Face ‘Blizzard of Words’ in Special Education Case

WASHINGTON — In a case that could affect the education of 6.7 million children with disabilities, the Supreme Court on Wednesday struggled to decide whether it should require public schools to do more under a federal law that calls for them to provide a free education that addresses the children’s needs.

Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. said the court was being asked to choose among several finely shaded formulations. “What is frustrating about this case and about this statute is that we have a blizzard of words,” he said.

The court appeared uneasy with a standard used by many appeals courts, which have said that providing a modest educational benefit was enough. But some of the justices indicated that they were concerned about the costs that any changes could impose.

Justice Stephen G. Breyer said that a new standard might also invite costly litigation. “If we suddenly adopt a new standard, all over the country we’ll have judges and lawyers and people interpreting it differently,” he said. “I foresee taking the money that ought to go to the children and spending it on lawsuits and lawyers and all kinds of things that are extraneous.”

The case concerns an autistic boy whose parents, unhappy with his progress at his public school in Colorado, enrolled him in a private school and sought reimbursement for the tuition, currently around $70,000 a year. Under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, children with disabilities are entitled to a free public education that addresses their needs.

The lower courts have disagreed about what kind of programs public schools must provide. In the Colorado case, a federal appeals court ruled that a modest benefit to the boy was enough and that no tuition reimbursement was warranted.


By ADAM LIPTAK| JAN. 11, 2017


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