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Garden State Coalition of Schools
Elisabeth Ginsburg, Executive Director
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5-15-17 Education in the News

NJ Spotlight--Democratic Hopefuls Dismiss Scheme to Funnel Lottery Profits into Pensions

Legislative leaders, unions also argue that Christie’s Lottery plan will go nowhere if it requires more givebacks from public-employee unions

Gov. Chris Christie’s administration has finally detailed how he plans to have the New Jersey Lottery help ease some of the financial burden on the state’s beleaguered public-employee pension system.

And while State Treasurer Ford Scudder labeled the proposal a “true win-win-win” at last week’s briefing, some Democrats are less than impressed.


John Reitmeyer | May 15, 2017


Star Ledger--What you need to know about Christie plan to slash N.J. pension debt with lottery cash

TRENTON -- Gov. Chris Christie's administration on Thursday released long-awaited details of its proposal to use state lottery proceeds to boost the government worker pension fund.

In a briefing with reporters, the state treasurer emphasized the impact of the proposal, saying it said would take some of the burden off the state budget to come up with more and more money each year and will do more for improve the shaky pension fund than merely contributing the full amount recommended by actuaries.

The strategy is to inject a $13.5 billion asset into the pension fund and give it a guaranteed source of revenue for the next 30 years.

Here's what you need to know:


Samantha Marcus | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com| May 14, 2017 at 8:02 AM, updated May 14, 2017 at 8:07 AM


Star Ledger--N.J. lawmaker: School funding reform must include pre-K expansion | Opinion

New Jersey has been a national leader in providing high-quality preschool education.

Nineteen years after the New Jersey Supreme Court required that all 3- and 4-year-olds in the highest-poverty school districts receive it -- including those in my home city of Newark -- we are regarded as a model for producing lasting results.

To build on the success in the 31 urban school districts covered by that Abbott V Burke decision, the landmark School Funding Reform Act of 2008 promised to provide access to quality preschool programs for every New Jersey child, not just those in the poorest communities.


By Star-Ledger Guest Columnist, M. Teresa Ruiz| Updated on May 13, 2017 at 11:17 AM Posted on May 13, 2017 at 11:16 AM


Associated Press (via Philadelphia Inquirer)-- Changes in Medicaid distributions worry school districts

For school districts still getting their financial footing after the Great Recession, the Medicaid changes being advanced as part of the health care overhaul are sounding familiar alarms.

Administrators say programming and services even beyond those that receive funding from the state-federal health care program could be at risk should Congress follow through with plans to change the way Medicaid is distributed. They say any reduction in the estimated $4 billion schools receive in annual Medicaid reimbursements would be hard to absorb after years of reduced state funding and a weakened tax base.


SALLY HO and CAROLYN THOMPSON, The Associated Press| Updated: May 15, 2017 — 3:15 AM EDT


Associated Press (via Press of Atlantic City) Group of wealthy school choice backers donate in New Jersey

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A loose-knit group that includes some of the country's wealthiest people has underwritten the political push for school choice around the country over the last two decades, including in New Jersey.

The Associated Press examined how much the relatively small group of wealthy contributors has given to state and federal candidates, political action committees and school choice-related state ballot initiatives.

A look at some of the highlights of their spending in New Jersey, among both Republicans and Democrats:


Associated Press|May 13, 2017


NY Times--How Google Took Over the Classroom

The tech giant is transforming public education with low-cost laptops and
free apps. But schools may be giving Google more than they are getting.

CHICAGO — The sixth graders at Newton Bateman, a public elementary school here with a classic red brick facade, know the Google drill.

In a social-science class last year, the students each grabbed a Google-powered laptop. They opened Google Classroom, an app where teachers make assignments. Then they clicked on Google Docs, a writing program, and began composing essays.

Looking up from her laptop, Masuma Khan, then 11 years old, said her essay explored how schooling in ancient Athens differed from her own. “Back then, they had wooden tablets and they had to take all of their notes on it,” she said. “Nowadays, we can just do it in Google Docs.”

Chicago Public Schools, the third-largest school district in the United States, with about 381,000 students, is at the forefront of a profound shift in American education: the Googlification of the classroom.




NY Times--500 Students in a One-Room School: Fallout of New Jersey’s Funding Woes

A view of conjoined elementary school classrooms at the Freehold Learning Center in Freehold, N.J. The district does not have the money to move students into traditional closed classrooms. Credit Bryan Anselm for The New York Times

FREEHOLD BOROUGH, N.J. — At an elementary school in Freehold, over 500 students share a vast, open space where bookshelves, whiteboards, storage cubbies and other pieces of furniture are the only boundaries between classrooms.

There are no walls because the building was originally designed in the 1970s to be a smaller Montessori school, Rocco Tomazic, the superintendent of the Freehold Borough School District, explained during a recent tour. But now it is noisy and crowded, and the district does not have the money to move students into traditional closed classrooms — the kind with walls and fewer distractions.

The issue for Freehold Borough — and about two-thirds of New Jersey’s 586 school districts — is the state’s nine-year-old formula for paying for public schools.




NPR--The Promise And Peril Of School Vouchers

Wendy Robinson wants to make one thing very clear.

As the long-serving superintendent of Fort Wayne public schools, Indiana's largest district, she is not afraid of competition from private schools.

"We've been talking choice in this community and in this school system for almost 40 years," Robinson says. Her downtown office sits in the shadow of the city's grand, Civil War-era Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. In Fort Wayne, a parking lot is the only thing that separates the beating heart of Catholic life from the brains of the city's public schools.

In fact, steeples dominate the skyline of the so-called City of Churches. Fort Wayne has long been a vibrant religious hub, home to more than 350 churches, many of which also run their own schools.


Cory Turner, Eric Weddle, Peter Balonon-Rosen| May 12, 20176:00 AM ET

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