3-1-17 Education in the News

NJ Spotlight--Christie’s School Funding Surprise: Maintain the Status Quo

Governor pledges 100-day window to work with lawmakers to fix funding, but caps offer with veiled threat if no solution is reached

Well into the second half of his budget address yesterday, Gov. Chris Christie turned to the topic of school funding, raising an audible murmur in the State House chamber.

It was one of the great unknowns of Christie’s eighth and final budget presentation: whether he would try to remake how more than $13 billion in state aid is distributed to public schools, continue the status quo, or follow a third path.

A few people clapped in anticipation. “Don’t applaud just yet,” Christie warned, to some nervous laughter.

But in the end, the governor’s announcement proved anticlimactic, as he presented a fiscal 2018 budget that makes virtually no change in school aid at all, announcing that no district would see a reduction — nor would any see much of an increase.


John Mooney | March 1, 2017


Star Ledger--Christie drops plan to overhaul school funding, issues new challenge

TRENTON -- Opponents of Gov. Chris Christie's plan to dramatically overhaul New Jersey school aid long considered it "dead on arrival" when it was first introduced last year.

On Tuesday, the controversial proposal, known as the "Fairness Formula," appeared to be officially buried.

In his latest and final state budget address, the governor abandoned his pitch to slash funding to urban districts and give tax relief to wealthy suburbs and instead put forth a budget on school funding that effectively maintains the status quo.

Though Christie also promised to act on his own if the Legislature doesn't agree to a new school funding formula with 100 days, Democrats who control the state Legislature questioned what leverage Christie holds.

"I don't know what he can have at his disposal," state Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson) said after Christie's speech. "I think he saw that if you actually did his Fairness Formula, it wouldn't have worked, and it wouldn't have been constitutional."

Some school districts have much more at stake in Gov. Chris Christie's school budget than others.

Christie didn't say why he declined to pursue the plan to give every district a flat rate of $6,599 per student, though he did note the attorney general's office has warned that the Supreme Court would "smack" him if he altered school funding.


Adam Clark | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com |February 28, 2017 at 7:56 PM, updated February 28, 2017 at 9:36 PM

The Record--By the numbers: Christie's 2018 budget proposal

Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday presented his budget for fiscal 2018, which begins July 1.

A look at the broad strokes of his proposal, which now heads to the Legislature for consideration:


2018 proposed: $35.5 billion
2017 adopted: $34.5 billion
Difference: An increase of $1 billion, or 2.9 percent


Nicholas Pugliese , State House Bureau|Published 7:00 p.m. ET Feb. 28, 2017 | Updated 12 hours ago


The Record--Editorial: Christie’s message: Cooperate or face the consequences

Gov. Chris Christie’s final budget address to a joint session of the Legislature on Tuesday can be summed up in two sentences he read near its completion: “I want to act with you,” Christie said. “But, if forced, I will act alone.”

The sentences were both a plea and a threat. With less than a year left in office, it’s hard to know if the governor’s words were effective on either level. What was supposed to be a no-surprise budget address contained several.

For starters, the governor suggested that Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey voluntarily take some of its more than $2.9 billion in profits — according to Christie — and establish a “permanent fund” to support the state’s “most vulnerable population who access Charity Care and Medicaid.”


NorthJersey Published 6:13 p.m. ET Feb. 28, 2017 | Updated 13 hours ago

Associated Press (via Press of Atlantic City)--Christie's plan to use lottery for pensions raises questions

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Gov. Chris Christie's new proposal to move New Jersey's lottery revenues to the state's underfunded pension is being met with interest and skepticism.

Christie unveiled the plan with few details on Tuesday as part of his $35.5 billion budget — his last as governor. He said it's an effort to shore up the state pension, which carries billions in unfunded liabilities after years of underpayment by Democratic and Republican governors and legislatures.

Democrats who control the Legislature say they'll review the idea, but also criticized it.

"It just sounds like to me smoke and mirrors," said Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto.

The proposal centers on contributing lottery revenues to what Christie called eligible pension plans — the state oversees a number of funds including teacher, public worker and police and fire. It's unclear which funds would be eligible and how much of the lotteries revenues would be shifted. Over the last several fiscal years the lottery's proceeds have topped $900 million.


By MICHAEL CATALINI Associated Press| March 1, 2017


Washington Post-- Obama also called education ‘the civil rights issue of our time’

Trump is not the first to say that education is the “civil rights issue of our time.” George W. Bush said it when he worked to pass No Child Left Behind, and it was almost a refrain for President Obama and his longtime education secretary, Arne Duncan.

Obama and Duncan injected new energy into the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights, which investigates discrimination complaints in schools and colleges. Under Obama, OCR encouraged schools to reform discipline policies to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline. It also led the administration’s charge to overhaul how schools handle complaints of campus sexual assault, and it laid out how schools should accommodate transgender students.

Critics argued that Obama and Duncan overreached their federal authority, creating rules and regulations that had no basis in law. Civil rights advocates cheered the administration for its efforts to protect vulnerable youth.


February 28 by Emma Brown


Education Week--Schools Often Fail to Educate, Support English-Language Learners

Schools across the United States often provide substandard instruction and social-emotional support to the nation's English-language learners—and fail to properly train the educators who teach them, a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine finds.

Noting that limited English proficiency remains a substantial barrier to academic success for millions of children in K-12 schools, the study explores how under-resourced schools and under-prepared educators can hinder efforts to help those students learn and master English.

The committee behind the report—consisting of a who's who of experts on language acquisition and educators—also explored the struggles of specific populations of English-learners such as those with disabilities, who are less likely than their native English-speaking peers to be referred to early intervention and special education programs. The report examined the challenges for long-term English-learners—those who are not considered proficient after being educated for seven or more years in U.S. schools.


By Corey Mitchell on February 28, 2017 11:00 AM