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1-25-17 Education in the News

Editor's Note: Op-Ed pieces are published on the site because the topics may be of interest to readers.  The opinions expressed do not necessarily mirror those of the GSCS Board of Trustees or individual members of the Garden State Coaliton of Schools.

 

Op-Ed--NJ Teachers Uncensored on Likely Secretary of Education

Among comments about DeVos as head of federal Department of Education — ‘demoralizing,’ ‘an insult and slap in the face to educators’

The fight over Betsy DeVos as the next U.S. education secretary isn’t over just yet, at least not in New Jersey.

With the push of U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), a half-dozen New Jersey educators — including a former teacher of the year — joined a press call yesterday to decry President Trump’s choice of the Michigan billionaire to lead the federal department.

http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/17/01/24/nj-teachers-share-uncensored-comments-about-likely-secretary-of-education/

John Mooney | January 25, 2017

 

NJ Spotlight--Op-Ed: Christie’s ‘Fairness Formula’ Reveals Problems with NJ’s School Funding

The state’s persistent failure to fully fund its own formula has compounded the fiscal plight of low- and moderate-wealth school districts

Gov. Chris Christie has performed a great public service by exposing the deep flaws in our state’s education-funding approach, especially its overreliance on local property taxes. His cynically named “Fairness Formula” is far off the mark, however. A variety of state legislators also have recognized that there are flaws in the current funding system. They have proposed much more modest, and better if insufficient, responses than Christie, mostly based on studying the problem and embracing fine-tuning improvements.

The flaws are structural and longstanding, however, not the result of a runaway state Supreme Court or an excessive commitment to sending state money to poor urban school districts or even the state’s persistent underfunding of its own formula. Given an arcane funding structure that favors communities with great property wealth and the state constitution’s clear mandate of high-quality education for all the state’s children, the courts have had no options but to intervene.

The state’s persistent failure to fully fund its own formula has compounded the fiscal plight of low- and moderate-wealth school districts

Gov. Chris Christie has performed a great public service by exposing the deep flaws in our state’s education-funding approach, especially its overreliance on local property taxes. His cynically named “Fairness Formula” is far off the mark, however. A variety of state legislators also have recognized that there are flaws in the current funding system. They have proposed much more modest, and better if insufficient, responses than Christie, mostly based on studying the problem and embracing fine-tuning improvements.

The flaws are structural and longstanding, however, not the result of a runaway state Supreme Court or an excessive commitment to sending state money to poor urban school districts or even the state’s persistent underfunding of its own formula. Given an arcane funding structure that favors communities with great property wealth and the state constitution’s clear mandate of high-quality education for all the state’s children, the courts have had no options but to intervene.

http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/17/01/24/op-ed-christie-s-fairness-formula-reveals-problems-with-nj-s-school-funding/

Paul Tractenberg | January 25, 2017

 

Star Ledger--Drug screen every N.J. high schooler every year, lawmaker says

TRENTON -- New Jersey high schoolers in public, private or charter schools would be subjected to a substance use screening every year under a new drug-prevention bill pitched by the chairman of the state Senate's Health Committee. 

Joseph Vitale (D-Middlesex) on Monday called for written or verbal screenings by a certified student assistance coordinator, school nurse, counselor, social worker or psychologist.

The assessments could identify, reduce, and prevent problematic drug use and dependence on alcohol and illicit drugs, he said. Addictions often begin before age 18, he added. 

Adam Clark | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com|January 24, 2017 at 7:06 AM, updated January 24, 2017 at 7:08 AM

 

Star Ledger--Should drug-addicted teens have a right to change schools?

TRENTON -- A state lawmaker wants teenagers struggling with drug and alcohol abuse to have automatic access to a public high school that specializes in recovery, regardless of whether their home school district raises objections about the cost. 

Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Union) is trying to change state law after learning that Livingston High School stopped a 17-year-old student from attending the state's only public recovery high school, he announced Monday. His proposal would allow a certified substance abuse counselor, not school officials, to decide whether attending the recovery school is necessary. 

"Most superintendents and boards of education are blind," Lesniak, who is running for governor this year, said during a news conference in Trenton. "They don't see the problem, and they don't know the solution." 

http://www.nj.com/education/2017/01/nj_school_drug_problems_lesniak_livingston.html#incart_river_index

Adam Clark | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com| January 24, 2017 at 11:52 AM

 

NY Times--Is the Bar Too Low for Special Education?

The Supreme Court is poised to decide the quality of instruction public schools must provide students with disabilities—a question that could get even thornier under the Trump administration.

In fourth grade, Drew’s behavioral problems in school grew worse. Gripped by extreme fears of flies, spills, and public restrooms, Drew began banging his head, removing his clothing, running out of the school building, and urinating on the floor. These behaviors, which stemmed from autism and ADHD, meant that Drew was regularly removed from the classroom in his suburban school outside of Denver and only made marginal academic improvement, according to court documents.

Alarmed by their son’s increasingly difficult behaviors, his parents placed him in a private school that specializes in autistic children like Drew. The new school controlled Drew’s behaviors using ABA therapy—a standard, but intensive, treatment for autistic children with behavioral problems that was not offered at his public school. Now age 17, Drew has made “significant” progress academically and socially at his new school.

In 2012, Drew’s parents filed a complaint with the Colorado Department of Education to recover the cost of tuition at this school, which is now about $70,000 per year. The lower courts ruled on behalf of the school district on the grounds that the intent of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is to ensure handicapped kids have access to public education—not to guarantee any particular level of education once inside. But the parents appealed, and the case—Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District—is now under review of the U.S. Supreme Court.

https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2017/01/is-the-bar-too-low-for-special-education/514241/

Laura McKenna|Jan 24, 2017

 


Garden State Coalition of Schools
160 W. State Street, Trenton New Jersey 08608
609-394-2828