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Elisabeth Ginsburg, Executive Director
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3-31-17 Education in the News

NJ Spotlight--Republicans Reach Across Aisle to Work on Reforming Sick-Day Payouts

Bipartisan effort spurred by NJ Spotlight’s analysis of flawed system that has let public workers amass nearly $2 billion in unused sick and vacation leave

A trio of Republican state senators asked the Democratic leaders of both houses to work with them to reform the system that has created a $1.9 billion tab for New Jersey public workers’ unused sick and vacation leaves.

The senators, Jennifer Beck (R-11), Michael Doherty (R-23) and Joe Kyrillos (R-13), were reacting to Thursday’s NJ Spotlight article detailing the total amount that current practices of allowing workers to collect at least some money for unused absence days will cost the state’s taxpayers: $929 million for police and municipal workers, $715 million for teachers and other school employees’ and $216 million for county workers.


Colleen O'Dea | March 31, 2017


The Atlantic--The Psychological Approach to Educating Kids

Increased focus on kids’ psychological health may seem like the education world's flavor of the day, but it's achieving results.


On a recent Monday morning, 25 freshmen filed into Rudolph “Keeth” Matheny’s wood-paneled portable classroom on the campus of Austin High School in Austin, Texas. But not before the shake. Matheny greeted each student by name, then extended his hand.


“I won the handshake competition, and there’s an art to it,” one student said. “You have to do webbing to webbing, that’s the trick.” Shake firmly, but not too hard, look the person in the eye, smile. The student demonstrated and, indeed, his handshake was a winner.

The Psychological Approach to Educating Kids

In addition to perfecting handshakes, Matheny, an ex-college football coach, teaches Methods for Academic and Personal Success (MAPS), and he happens to be on the frontlines of a growing movement in education: social-emotional learning (SEL). SEL—also called whole-child education—is a systematic, evidence-based approach to teaching kids how to achieve goals, understand and manage emotions, build empathy, forge relationships, and make responsible decisions. In 2012, the Chicago-based nonprofit Collaborative for Academic Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) partnered with eight districts around the country to implement SEL in their schools. Today, CASEL is working with 10 large districts—including Anchorage, Alaska;  Austin; Chicago; Cleveland; Nashville, Tennessee; and Oakland, California—and a growing number of smaller ones.


Victoria Clayton| Mar 30, 2017


Education Week--Open Educational Resources Movement Scales Up

The online movement to share free educational materials is adding entire curricula to its offerings, rather than just individual lessons and units

Open educational resources typically have been offered to educators in bite-sized chunks—an individual lesson here, a classroom module there—and have been meant to fill in holes the core curriculum does not address.

But over the past few years, a number of organizations and state and local education agencies have begun creating openly licensed resources that they say will meet schools' appetites for full platefuls of curriculum, covering entire subjects and grade levels, and not just slivers of them.

Efforts to fashion large-scale open materials are being led by organizations like Open Up Resources, a nonprofit that aims to wrest K-12 contracts from the control of commercial publishers, as well as by individual districts that are asking teachers to help craft open curricula and share it with other systems.


Sean Cavanagh|March 28, 2017

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