1-4-17 Education in the News

NJ Spotlight--Agenda: Public Hearings on Charters and Private Schools

State Board hears from the public on new charter regulations and those for private special-ed schools

Date: Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Time: 10 a.m.

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

New year meeting: The State Board of Education returns for 2017 with some hot topics on the agenda, and a public eager to speak out on them. One is new charter regulations that the Christie administration has pressed to loosen the reins on alternative schools. The other is private special-education schools, where the rules maybe getting a little tighter. Overall, 100 people have signed up to testify in the afternoon on both topics. Other subjects on the docket for the meeting include the new teacher evaluation rules, the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, and the annual report of the state-controlled Paterson schools.


John Mooney | January 4, 2017


NJ Spotlight--Op-Ed: Leaving New Jersey’s Young Children Out in the Cold

Shouldn’t every impoverished child in New Jersey be given the assistance he or she needs regardless of where they happen to live in the state?

Head Start was created in 1965 to help children and families overcome the disadvantages of poverty, but today it covers less than half of the 3- and 4-year-olds eligible for the early education, health care, and family programs offered. A new report by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) reveals that inadequate federal funding for Head Start has resulted in disparities from state to state in funding, classroom hours, quality, and percentage of low-income children served.

In New Jersey, just 8 percent of low-income children under age 5 are enrolled in Head Start programs, below the national average of 10 percent, according to our “State(s) of Head Start” report. Funding for both Early Head Start and Head Start in New Jersey also falls just below the national average, when adjusted for cost of living.


W. Steven Barnett | January 4, 2017


Star Ledger--Critics prepare for battle over Christie's charter school overhaul

TRENTON -- Charter school opponents are planning a show of force in Trenton Wednesday as the state Board of Education considers loosening regulations to free charter schools from red tape.

Gov. Chris Christie's administration unveiled a plan in October that would help charter schools get better access to facilities, get faster renewals and gain more flexibility in hiring teachers.

Christie said the new rules would remove some of the bureaucracy holding back the state's 88 charter schools, which serve about 3 percent of the state's public school students.

But, opponents say the new rules will lead to an expansion of charter schools that will draw money away from traditional public schools and lead to more segregation in school districts.

The most controversial part of the charter school overhaul proposal calls for the state to create new certificates for teachers and administrators to teach only in charter schools.

The new certificate would still require charter school teachers to hold a four-year bachelor's degree. But, unlike public school teachers, charter school teachers would not need to hold a traditional teaching certificate or follow the already established route for people in other careers who want to become teachers. Instead, they would need other proof, such as a certain level GPA or work experience in their field, to show they are qualified to teach.


Kelly Heyboer | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com| January 03, 2017 at 7:00 AM, updated January 03, 2017 at 3:53 PM


Philadelphia Inquirer--Drive to kill school property tax headed back to Legislature

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Debate over school property taxes in Pennsylvania is expected to return to the Legislature in 2017.

Senate supporters say the Nov. 8 election provided the necessary votes to eliminate school property taxes entirely and replace them with other revenue streams.

That would mean shifting about $14 billion in taxes from property owners, including businesses, to Pennsylvania consumers and workers through sales and personal income taxes.

An Associated Press analysis of state data found that more than 70 percent of school property taxes were collected by the wealthiest half of school districts in 2014-15.


MARC LEVY, The Associated Press| Updated: January 3, 2017 — 12:30 PM EST


Education Week--Nation's Schools Get Middling Grade on Quality Counts Report Card

Overall, the nation’s schools earn a C on the latest Quality Counts report card, with variations among some states.

As a new political and policy era dawns in Washington, the status of the nation’s schools remains stable, though still earning a grade of C from Quality Counts 2017, the 21st annual report card issued by the Education Week Research Center.

The C corresponds to a score of 74.2, which is nearly identical to the 74.4 the nation posted in 2016, when it also received a C. The steadiness of national results, notwithstanding, a handful of states saw their scores increase or decline by a full point or more.

Quality Counts grades the states and the nation on educational performance across a range of key indicators, issuing overall A-F grades based on a traditional 100-point scale.

The overall grade is based on three custom indices developed by the Research Center:


By Sterling C. Lloyd and Alex Harwin|December 30, 2016