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


2-16-17 Education in the News

NJ Spotlight--While Education Simmers in D.C., NJ Quietly Puts Together Its ESSA Proposal

The state puts the finishing touches to its plan for implementing Every Student Succeeds Act, looks for public comment

Long before there was President Donald Trump and U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, there was a new federal policy for public education called Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

The law, signed last year by former President Barack Obama, shifted away from many of the top-down strictures of the famous — some would say infamous — No Child Left Behind Act. Instead, it gives the states wide discretion to come up with their own accountability standards and other strategies for schools.

How much of that will survive under the Trump administration is open to question, but yesterday, after months of hearings and testimony, New Jersey released the first draft of its plan to implement the new law — incorporating some expected and not-so-expected changes.


  John Mooney | February 16, 2017


Star Ledger--Can N.J. schools achieve these goals by 2030? State pitches long-term plan

TRENTON -- New Jersey on Wednesday unveiled new long-terms goals it considers "both ambitious and achievable" for public schools, including the expectation that 80 percent of a school's students should pass standardized tests in reading and math by 2030. 

The proposed plan, which the state must submit to the federal government for approval, also calls for high schools to reach a 95-percent four-year graduation rate by 2030. Additionally, 85 percent of a school's students learning English as their second language would need to meet achievement goals set the by state.

The long-term goals come after Congress in 2015 granted states more autonomy over how they assess their public schools, replacing the former No Child Left Behind law with the Every Student Succeeds Act. Each state must submit its plan to the U.S Department of Education, and New jersey is seeking public comment before filing with the federal government. 


Adam Clark and Kelly Heyboer | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com|February 15, 2017 at 7:11 AM, updated February 16, 2017 at 7:13 AM


The Record--N.J. seeks public input on education plan

The New Jersey Department of Education has released its draft plan for meeting requirements under a new federal Every Student Succeeds Act, which gives states more decision-making power on education issues.

The state will accept public comments on the proposed plan, which can be found online, until March 20.

New Jersey’s 366-page plan addresses standards, assessments, school and district accountability, and special help for struggling schools.

The Department of Education identified a few key changes in the plan, including:

  • The state would use chronic absenteeism as an indicator of school quality and student success. Chronic absenteeism refers to students who are absent at least 10 percent of school days.
  • The state would track a five-year graduation rate — and not just a four-year rate — to account for students who need more time to graduate.


Hannan Adely |Published 6:56 p.m. ET Feb. 15, 2017 | Updated 12 hours ago


Star Ledger--Do N.J. high schools need year-round steroids testing? It's now up to Christie

Claude Brodesser-Akner | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com February 14, 2017 at 9:13 AM, updated February 14, 2017 at 12:25 PM

TRENTON -- Having just cleared the state Senate on Monday, Gov. Chris Christie will now consider whether to sign into law a bill that would expand testing for steroid use among high school athletes in New Jersey.

The bill (S-367), sponsored by state Sen. Dick Codey (D-Essex), passed unanimously (37-0) following the recommendations of the governor's task force on steroid prevention.

In partnership with the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, which oversees secondary school sports, the state already does random testing of high school athletes during championships, but doesn't have funding to check for steroid use during the rest of their seasons.

Last year, after testing nearly 500 samples collected from students during the 2015-16 school year in sports like football, wrestling, basketball and soccer players, none tested positive.


Claude Brodesser-Akner | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com February 14, 2017 at 9:13 AM, updated February 14, 2017 at 12:25 PM


Education Week--Student Suicide: Moving Beyond Blame to Understanding

Blaming "school pressure" for student suicide often misses the mark

Suicide is the worst of losses, especially when the victim is an adolescent. It's every parent's nightmare. And it's every principal's, too—not only for the horrific loss of the student, but for the censure that can often follow. Parents, community members, and even students may criticize the school for too much stress and pressure, too much homework and competition, and too little support. As the superintendent of schools in Palo Alto, Calif.—a district with a teen-suicide rate four times the national average—noted last fall, "any school that experiences a student suicide should brace for a tsunami of blame."

The tsunami is particularly painful because guilt always follows suicide. Everyone who knew the student wonders, "What did I miss? What could I have done?" As psychologists who have consulted in schools on more than 40 student suicides, we've seen that educators, who invest themselves deeply in their students, are especially vulnerable. They struggle with their own shock and grief, and they are deeply hurt when accused of not caring or doing enough.


Robert Evans & Mark Kline|February 14, 2017


Garden State Coalition of Schools
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