2-24-17 Education in the News

NJ Spotlight--The Nuclear Option: Will Christie Budget Blow Up School Funding?

Educators, parents, advocates have been working for months to come up with a plan to countermand the governor’s ‘Fairness Formula’

The discussions started back in the fall, when Gov. Chris Christie was heavily promoting his controversial “Fairness Formula” for school funding, a scheme that would essentially blow up how the state pays for its public schools.

Initially led by the New Jersey Education Association, advocacy groups including the Education Law Center and the state NAACP started discussing how to come up with a strategy for what to do if Christie actually imposed his plan on the state.

Four months later, the big test is coming on Tuesday with Christie’s next — and last — state budget plan for New Jersey. Conjecture is rampant about what the governor is planning for school funding, the biggest piece of the budget pie.

Taking no chances, a slew of groups yesterday came forward to speak out against the possibility of Christie moving forward with his funding plan in the budget — even as they acknowledged there is little hard evidence as to what he may do.

“I don’t think anyone knows for sure,” said Elisabeth Ginsburg, president of the Garden State Coalition of Schools, representing largely suburban districts. “I think perhaps there is only one person knows for sure.”


John Mooney | February 24, 2017


Star Ledger--N.J. education groups to Christie: Your new school funding plan would cause chaos

TRENTON -- Education advocacy groups on Thursday called on Gov. Chris Christie to resist including his own drastic school funding restructuring plan in his state budget proposal next week, and said such a move would energize opponents of the funding scheme. 

Christie's overhaul, which he calls the "fairness formula," would shift millions in state aid from urban and low-income districts in order to provide tax relief to 75 percent of the state's school districts. 

The advocates said they didn't have any intelligence on whether Christie will make the alterations in his proposed spending plan, but now is "not the time for a wait-and-see attitude."


Samantha Marcus | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com| February 23, 2017 at 4:53 PM, updated February 23, 2017 at 4:58 PM


Star Ledger--These 2 N.J. school districts are leading the nation in character development

Two New Jersey school districts were among a small number recognized nationally as "Districts of Character" for their work teaching kids what it means to have good character.

Cherry Hill Public Schools in Camden County and New Providence School District in Union County made Character.org's list of Districts of Character for 2017, while 23 schools in the state were named Schools of Character.

The districts and schools will now be in the running for national designations from Character.org, formerly known as the Character Education Partnership, based on the organization's 11 principles of character education.


Rebecca Everett | For NJ.com| February 23, 2017 at 8:08 AM, updated February 23, 2017 at 1:52 PM


Associated Press (via Press of Atlantic City)--Advocates seek state protections for transgender students

Trenton, N.J. (AP) — Advocates are calling on New Jersey education officials to establish statewide rules that would protect transgender students against discrimination.

The Record reports (https://njersy.co/2luL2UC ) the state has not issued specific guidance to schools about how they should accommodate transgender students, but some school districts have adopted such policies.

Garden State Equality's executive director told members Wednesday that state education officials "refused to act" after his group asked for the creation of statewide guidelines last year.

President Donald Trump's administration on Wednesday reversed an Obama-era directive that said transgender students should be allowed to use public school bathrooms and locker rooms matching their chosen gender identity.

The state Department of Education has indicated it has no plans to consider statewide guidelines, saying such issues should be addressed on "the local level."


Associated Press| February 24, 2016