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Garden State Coalition of Schools
Elisabeth Ginsburg, Executive Director
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2-6-17 Education in the News

NJ Spotlight--State BOE Head in Spotlight as Christie Charter-School Code Gets Voted Down

BOE President Biedron — targeted for replacement by Christie — says there was nothing political in thwarting governor’s charter-school regs

In a normally inconspicuous role on a normally inconspicuous panel, state Board of Education President Mark Biedron is finding himself pretty high profile these days.

First came Gov. Chris Christie’s move in December to replace Biedron as head of the regulatory board, which oversees state code for student testing, teacher evaluation, and other areas. The action caught most by surprise, especially since Christie had appointed Biedron six years ago.

Then, as Christie’s nomination slogged through the confirmation process, came the board’s vote last week — under Biedron’s leadership — to sideline a key piece of the governor’s proposal to loosen the rules on charter schools.


John Mooney | February 6, 2017


NY Times--Are You College-Ready?

Test your math know-how with sample questions from the new Accuplacer. I graduated from college nearly 25 years ago. Wondering if I’d be considered college-ready now, I arranged at a community college to take the Accuplacer, the test used to place students into remedial classes. I went in cold, no prep, years away from my last math class, the way many community college students do. Scoring below the college’s cutoff, I tested into remedial math. Would you?

The Accuplacer is adaptive, and the difficulty of questions depends on how well, or how poorly, you do. You may get stuck in simple arithmetic or zip through to the advanced algebra and functions section. We can't replicate real test conditions, so try these practice questions from the newly revised test just for fun — yes, math can be fun. (Four-function calculators are allowed for questions 4 through 9.)  




Washington Post--An ‘alternative facts’ South Dakota bill sparks fears for science education in the Trump era

A Galapagos tortoise rests in a mud puddle in San Cristobal, Galápagos Islands. The islands are known for their endemic species and were studied by Charles Darwin and contributed to his theory of evolution by natural selection. (Dolores Ochoa/AP)

This is the text of S.B. 55 that just passed in the South Dakota Senate, which purports “to protect the teaching of certain scientific information.”

Section 1. That chapter 13-1 be amended by adding a NEW SECTION to read:
No teacher may be prohibited from helping students understand, analyze, critique, or review in an objective scientific manner the strengths and weaknesses of scientific information presented in courses being taught which are aligned with the content standards established pursuant to § 13-3-48.

It doesn’t mention any specific scientific subject, so what does it actually mean?

The Argus Leader quoted Deb Wolf, a high school science instructional coach in the Sioux Falls School District, as saying the bill says that teachers can essentially teach what they want in science class as long as they do it in a certain way: “This is horrible, but let’s say I believe in eugenics.” S.B. 55 “says that I couldn’t be prohibited, I couldn’t be stopped from teaching that, as long as I did it in an objective scientific manner, and it doesn’t specify what that means.”

The bill is one of four that have been introduced so far in 2017 in state legislatures — the others are in Indiana, Oklahoma and Texas  — that would allow science denial in the classroom.


By Valerie Strauss February 5 at 5:32 PM


Education Week--Trump Orders on Immigration Rattle Some Educators

Travel ban and uncertain fate for DREAMers stoke fears

President Donald Trump's sweeping order that halts residents of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States sent shock waves through some of the nation's schools, leaving educators scrambling to assure frightened refugee and immigrant students that their schools should be safe places.

The effort to calm those fears comes as some educators grapple with uncertainty of their own: not knowing the next steps the White House will take on immigration and how it will affect their students.

"[There are] a lot of unknowns right now," said Elizabeth Demchak, the principal at Claremont International High School in New York City. "Anytime you're talking about people's status in the country, there will be fear. We have to try and give [students] as much stability as possible."

Based in the South Bronx, Demchak's school is home to hundreds of Spanish-, Arabic-, and Bengali-speaking students, along with a growing population of refugees from Yemen, whose citizens are banned from U.S. entry for now under Trump's executive order. The school is part of The Internationals Network for Public Schools, a nationwide nonprofit that serves about 9,000 newly arrived immigrant students.


By Corey Mitchell & Francisco Vara-Orta| February 3, 2017

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