1-13-17 Education in the News

NJ Spotlight--Interactive Map: New Jersey Graduation Rate Inches up for Class of 2016

While improvement holds for all races and ethnic groups, rates vary between schools from 100 percent to less than 30 percent

The percentage of New Jersey high school seniors who graduated last June reached a new high point, with slightly more than nine in 10 students getting a diploma, according to new data released by state education officials Thursday.

This accomplishment is especially noteworthy since the class of 2016 was the first that was supposed to pass the controversial Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers or an alternate test in order to graduate, although students could also use portfolios. As recently as last April, estimates put 10,000 students in danger of not graduating because they had not passed one or both PARCC sections or substitute tests such as the SAT or ACT.

“We commend the efforts of our students and educators in achieving this tremendous accomplishment,” said acting Education Commissioner Kimberley Harrington.

The graduation rate for the class of 2016 was 90.1 percent when calculated using the federally mandated method that counts students enrolled as freshmen four years earlier who got their diplomas last summer. It replaced a system that was looser and led to inflated figures. The class of 2011, the first for whom the federal cohort method was used, had an 83 percent graduation rate. It has inched up ever since, with the rate for the class of 2015 being 89.7 percent.


Colleen O'Dea | January 13, 2017


Star Ledger--New rules for N.J. private schools will hurt disabled kids, critics say

TRENTON -- State officials are proposing new rules to crack down on spending, high salaries, luxury cars and nepotism at New Jersey private schools that educate students with disabilities at taxpayers' expense.

The new regulations were discussed last week at the state Board of Education meeting in Trenton, where several private school officials addressed the board to say the changes were unnecessary and would hurt some of the state's most vulnerable students.

"To say that our members are frustrated and deeply disappointed is an understatement," said Gerard Thiers, executive director of ASAH, an association representing the private schools.

There are 159 approved private schools for students with disabilities teaching about 9,900 students statewide, state education officials said. Many of schools teach K-12 students with autism, severe physical or mental disabilities or other learning or behavior challenges that public schools are unable to handle.


Kelly Heyboer | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com| on January 12, 2017 at 9:00 AM, updated January 12, 2017 at 9:21 AM


Star Ledger--See how your high school's graduation rate ranks versus other districts

TRENTON -- New Jersey's high school graduation rate improved again in 2016, despite a graduation scare in the wake of new requirements for standardized testing. 

Statewide, 90.1 percent of students graduated within four years, a slight increase over the 89.7 percent graduation rate for the Class of 2015. New Jersey has improved its graduation rate every year since 2011, when 83 percent of students graduated, the state Department of Education said. 

"We commend the efforts of our students and educators in achieving this tremendous accomplishment," acting Education Commissioner Kimberley Harrington said.

Click here to use the search tool to find the graduation rate in any public high school, charter school or school district and compare it to others across the state.

County vocational schools with selective enrollment or special academies for a school district's top students posted some of the state's highest graduation rates, including more than a dozen schools with 100 percent.


Adam Clark and Carla Astudillo | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com|on January 12, 2017 at 1:20 PM, updated January 12, 2017 at 3:29 PM


Press of Atlantic City--An American fault line: High school-only grads left behind

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans with no more than a high school diploma have fallen so far behind college graduates in their economic lives that the earnings gap between college grads and everyone else has reached its widest point on record.

The growing disparity has become a source of frustration for millions of Americans worried that they — and their children — are losing economic ground.

College graduates, on average, earned 56 percent more than high school grads in 2015, according to data compiled by the Economic Policy Institute. That was up from 51 percent in 1999 and is the largest such gap in EPI's figures dating to 1973.

Since the Great Recession ended in 2009, college-educated workers have captured most of the new jobs and enjoyed pay gains. Non-college grads, by contrast, have faced dwindling job opportunities and an overall 3 percent decline in income, EPI's data shows.


CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER AP Economics Writer| Jan 13, 2017 Updated 2 hrs ago


Education Week--ESSA Highlights Absenteeism as a Key Challenge for Schools

Reporting mandates, new leeway in using federal aid, and the chance to make it a school-quality indicator all raise the issue’s profile.

Billboards and yard signs throughout Grand Rapids, Mich., tell students to "Strive for Less Than Five Days Absent." Leader boards inside school buildings display attendance by grade level. Students who miss too many days are contacted by school personnel and offered support.

Since the district began a focused campaign three years ago, chronic absenteeism has dropped from 36 percent to 23 percent. "It is something every community looking at their data can dig into. It's very actionable," says Mel Atkins II, the executive director of community and student affairs for the Grand Rapids public school system.

Under the Every Student Succeeds Act, states are required to report chronic absenteeism rates, and districts will be allowed to use federal dollars on training to reduce the problem. It is one of several options that states can use in order to meet ESSA's new requirement for a school quality indicator in addition to traditional measures such as standardized-test scores.


Caralee J. Adams| December 30, 2016