4-10-17 Education in the News

Star Ledger--Why N.J. teacher attendance data doesn't add up

TRENTON -- None of Piscataway Township's teachers took a sick day last year, faculty at one Sussex County school were absent for nearly half of the year, and teachers at another school showed up only 10 percent of the time. 

Those unlikely scenarios all played out last school year, at least according to data released in the state's school report cards.

New Jersey for the first time last week released statistics for how often teachers and support staff miss school, showing that the vast majority of teachers are in the classroom more than 90 percent of the time.

But the faculty attendance rates, released amid a national push to judge schools on more than just test scores, also include a series of implausible statistics and misleading mistakes, school officials say. 

Among them: 

  • 69 schools reported a 100 percent attendance rate, meaning no teachers or academic support staff took a single sick day last school year. 
  • Some entire school districts, including Piscataway, said none of their teachers used sick days. 
  • Eight schools reported faculty attendance rates between 2 and 11 percent 
  • 110 schools, including every school in Newark, the state's largest school district, either failed to send data or somehow reported that teachers never showed up at all. 


Adam Clark | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com| April 09, 2017 at 7:00 AM, updated April 09, 2017 at 11:01 AM


Star Ledger—Op-Ed--Govs. Kean and Florio: Pre-K expansion funding should be a priority in state budget

New Jersey's school funding formula should be a clear statement of our commitment to quality education, equality, and improving educational outcomes. 

It is not.

It should establish our priorities for public education and goals for our children.

It does not.


By Thomas H. Kean and James J. Florio (Guest Columnists)| Updated on April 9, 2017 at 10:38 AM Posted on April 9, 2017 at 10:37 AM


The Atlantic--The New Champions of School Integration

The Department of Education killed a federal program supporting diversity efforts, but the fight to desegregate the nation’s classroom is far from over.

Policies that promote school integration by race and class took a significant hit last week when the U.S. Department of Education announced that it was killing a small but important federal program to support local diversity efforts. The initiative, “Opening Doors, Expanding Opportunities,” was slated to provide $12 million to school districts to boost socioeconomic diversity. The brainchild of President Obama’s Secretary of Education, John B. King Jr., the program had attracted interest from 26 school districts across the country that believed kids would be better off in schools that educate rich and poor, and white and minority students, together rather than separately.


Richard D. Kahlenberg| Apr 6, 2017


Education Week--States Get Leeway on Naming 'Dropout Factories'

Fewer schools could be targeted for help

A recent move by Congress has quietly opened a loophole that could allow states to avoid publicly identifying some of their high school “dropout factories” for intervention and support.

It happened last month when Congress voted to dissolve accountability regulations written by the Obama administration for the Every Student Succeeds Act. With his signature, President Donald Trump finalized that move March 28.

When lawmakers dumped the accountability rules, they eliminated a key clarification of a fuzzy portion of the underlying law: It spelled out exactly how states must calculate their high schools’ graduation rates to see which ones need “comprehensive support.”


Catherine Gewertz | April 4, 2017