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Garden State Coalition of Schools
Elisabeth Ginsburg, Executive Director
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Trenton, New Jersey 08608


1-6-17 Education in the News

NJ Spotlight--NJ Spotlight and WHYY Newsworks Talk Christie and Charters

Will the governor make this a big bang issue or will he let it just fade away in his last year in office?

Any talk of charter schools in New Jersey is as much about politics as it is about education, and such chatter has only ramped up of late as both critics and advocates have weighed in on new regulations for the alternative schools.

NJ Spotlight’s education writer John Mooney yesterday joined host David Heller of WHYY’s Newsworks Tonight to discuss the latest developments concerning charter schools in the state and whether Gov. Chris Christie will go out with a whimper or a bang on this issue in his last year in office.


John Mooney | January 6, 2017



NJ Spotlight--NJ Picks Up Federal Grants to Retrofit Diesel School Buses

Older diesel engines can expose kids to nitrogen oxide and particulate matter, or soot

Five school districts in New Jersey have been awarded grants totaling $810,000 to replace or retrofit older diesel bus engines under a program from the federal government.

The awards from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are part of $7.7 million given to 88 school bus fleets in 27 states under its diesel-emissions reduction program.

The eight-year-old program is designed to reduce pollution linked to health problems caused by soot, or fine particulates, emitted by dirty buses that are associated with such health problems as asthma and lung damage.

In New Jersey, the school bus fleets receiving the grants are Orange, $145,000; Lakewood, $200,000; North Brunswick, $85,000; Toms River, $180,000; and Wall Township, $200,00.


Tom Johnson | January 6, 2017


5 new developments in N.J.'s charter school rules fight

TRENTON -- Charter school supporters and opponents faced off Wednesday at a long and emotional meeting in Trenton as state officials moved forward with plans to overhaul rules to make it easier to open and operate alternative public schools.

Dozens of people on both sides of the issue addressed the state Board of Education, which held a lengthy discussion about the charter school overhaul plan proposed by Gov. Chris Christie's administration. State officials also introduced several changes to the proposal they said they made after hearing from parents, school administrators and advocacy groups.

"Obviously, it's a highly-charged subject," said Mark Biedron, the president of the state Board of Education.

N.J. teacher evaluations cut to 20 minutes

Principals will still evaluate teachers in their classrooms three times a year. But some of the sessions will be cut in half.

Here are some of the key developments:

Kelly Heyboer | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com| January 05, 2017 at 4:33 PM, updated January 05, 2017 at 4:35 PM


Education Week--States' Capacity a Nagging Issue as ESSA Gears Up

The big job of retooling state education systems will take staff resources and funding, both of which are squeezed in states across the country.

As state lawmakers prepare for new flexibility—and responsibilities—under the Every Student Succeeds Act, they face questions about whether staffing levels and other state resources are fully up to the task.

Under both the No Child Left Behind Act and subsequent waivers of that law's provisions, education agencies in many states struggled in a very public way when it came to rolling out a federally prescribed accountability agenda. There were standardized-testing glitches, botched school accountability report cards, and communication failures between state officials and district superintendents.

Many education leaders attribute the NCLB-era problems to the plummet in funding state agencies experienced during the Great Recession of the late 2000s and subsequent layoffs within departments. They argue that there were not enough qualified officials within state education departments to provide professional development, to monitor testing-vendor contracts, and to ensure accountability systems were sound.

Under ESSA, the year-old successor to No Child Left Behind, state departments are expected to manage more duties in both crafting and executing the mandatory state accountability plans. The departments will be responsible for intervening in low-performing schools, designing and rolling out new state report cards, and prescribing teacher-evaluation systems.

And state schools chiefs are well aware they'll be on the hook for any resulting political backlash.


Daarel Burnette II |December 30, 2016

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