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Email: gscschools@gmail.com
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Garden State Coalition of Schools
Elisabeth Ginsburg, Executive Director
160 West State Street
Trenton, New Jersey 08608


3-2-17 Education in the News

NJ Spotlight--Is Teacher Preparation in New Jersey Failing Students with Disabilities?

Educators say many teachers in the Garden State and elsewhere are unprepared to teach wide range of students

When Mary Fair became a teacher in Bloomfield in 2012, her classes often contained a mix of special education students and general education students. Placing children with and without disabilities in the same classroom, instead of segregating them, was a growing national trend, spurred on by lawsuits by special education advocates.

But in those early days, Fair had no idea how to handle her students with disabilities, whose educational challenges ranged from learning deficits to behavioral disturbance disorders. Calling out a child with a behavioral disability in front of the class usually backfired, and made the situation worse. They saw it as “an attack and a disrespect issue,” Fair said.

Over time, Fair figured out how to navigate these situations and talk students “down from the ledge.” She also learned how to keep students with disabilities on task and break down lessons into smaller, easier bits of information for students who were struggling.


Jackie Mader | The Hechinger Report | March 2, 2017


NJ Spotlight--Poll: Should Lawmakers Take Christie’s 100-Day School Funding Challenge?

The governor has pledged to work with Republicans and Democrats to find an equitable solution to the school-funding mess. Should legislators jump at the chance or let it pass?

Rather than try to implement the “fairness formula” school-aid plan that he has been touting for months, Gov. Chris Christie left education funding essentially flat in the budget he proposed on Tuesday, but called on legislative leaders to work with him to craft a revised formula.

Christie has called the current funding system broken, and pledged on Tuesday to work with lawmakers to hammer out a workable formula for distributing $9 billion in aid to schools. Both houses of the Legislature have been holding separate hearings on the issue and consider a different approach a priority.


NJ Spotlight|March 2, 2017


Star Ledger--N.J. shuts down 4 charter schools for poor performance

TRENTON -- The state has ordered three low-performing charter schools in Newark and one in Camden to close at the end of this school year, bringing the total number of failed charter schools to 20 under the Christie administration. 

The three Newark schools -- Newark Prep Charter School, Paulo Friere Charter School and Merit Prep Charter School -- had all been on probation for academic problems. Upon further review, the state Department of Education decided to close the schools, it announced Wednesday. 

The fourth school, Camden Community Charter School, was slated to have its charter renewed this year. It was the only one of 22 renewal applications that got rejected and was denied because of poor academic performance, according to the state. 


Adam Clark | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com March 01, 2017 at 6:32 PM, updated March 02, 2017 at 6:11 AM


Star Ledger--5 things to know about Christie's 2018 education budget

TRENTON — Though Gov. Chris Christie didn't try to blow up New Jersey's school funding in proposed state budget, he spent plenty of time talking about it in his annual address. 

Christie made it clear he still wants to revamp the state's school funding if he can strike a compromise with state lawmakers over the next 100 days. But it's too soon to tell whether that will happen or what a potential deal may look like. 

For now, here are five things to know about the budget Christie's proposed on Tuesday: 


1. School spending is the largest part of the state budget

Christie proposed spending $13.8 billion, about 39 percent of the state budget, on public schools. However, the state still isn't fully funding its formula for distributing school aid, and Christie expects plenty of complaints. 

"For the naysayers, no amount will ever be enough," the governor said during the address. 


By Adam Clark | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com| Updated March 02, 2017
Posted March 02, 2017


At rallies last year across the country, Mr. Trump said over and over again that he would use the nation’s schools to fix what he described as failing inner cities and a virtual education crisis that most hurts black and Hispanic children. In North Carolina, he called school choice “the great civil rights issue of our time.” In Florida, he declared that “every disadvantaged child in this country” should have access to school choice.




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.


MICHAEL CATALINI Associated Press| March 1, 2017


Garden State Coalition of Schools
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