5-24-17 Education in the News

NJ Spotlight--How Democratic, Republican Candidates Say They'd Ease NJ’s Fiscal Crisis

School funding and tax phase-outs, pension benefits and closing loopholes — here’s a look at where this year’s gubernatorial hopefuls stake their claims

As might be expected, the Democratic and Republican candidates in this year’s gubernatorial primaries have very different views about how to solve the state’s biggest fiscal dilemmas. What might be less expected, however, are the differences and disagreements among candidates of the same party.

The Democrats have widely criticized Gov. Chris Christie’s approach to the state budget and taxes, and they’ve also openly talked about hiking some taxes to help ensure priorities like the public-employee pension system and school-aid law are fully funded.


John Reitmeyer | May 24, 2017


Star Ledger--The uncomfortable truth about race in N.J.'s top high schools

ROCKAWAY -- Daniel Zhao walked into the summer orientation program at his new high school four years ago and said he was immediately struck by the faces looking backing at him.

Nearly all of them were Asian, like him.

"I noticed, definitely, from the very first day. It was overwhelmingly Indian and Chinese," said Zhao, the oldest son of Chinese immigrants.

Zhao's school, the Academy for Math, Science and Engineering in Rockaway, ranks as one of the best public high schools in New Jersey and the nation. Students from around Morris County take an admissions exam and go through interviews to get one of the coveted spots in the county-run school.


Kelly Heyboer| Updated on May 23, 2017 at 4:36 PM Posted on May 23, 2017 at 7:37 AM


Washington Post (via Philadelphia Inquirer)--Are charter schools widening racial divides?

Max Becherer For The Washington Post| Updated: May 23, 2017 — 9:27 AM EDT

VACHERIE, La. — At the new public charter school in this Mississippi River town, nearly all students are African-American. Parents seem unconcerned about that. They just hope their children will get a better education.

"I wanted my girls to soar higher," said Alfreda Cooper, who is black and has two daughters at Greater Grace Charter Academy.

Three hours up the road, students at Delta Charter School in Concordia Parish are overwhelmingly white, even though the surrounding community is far more mixed.

As the charter school movement accelerates across the country, a critical question remains unanswered — whether the creation of charters is accelerating school segregation. Federal judges who oversee desegregation plans in Louisiana are wrestling with that issue at a time when President Donald Trump wants to spend billions of dollars on charter schools, vouchers and other "school choice" initiatives.


Education Week--Trump Budget Would Slash Education Dept. Spending, Boost School Choice

President Donald Trump's full budget proposal for the U.S. Department of Education, released on Tuesday, includes big shifts in funding priorities and makes cuts to spending for teacher development, after-school enrichment, and career and technical education, while ramping up investments in school choice. 

A $1 billion cash infusion for Title I's services for needy children would be earmarked as grants designed to promote public school choice, instead of going out by traditional formulas to school districts. These would be called Furthering Options for Children to Unlock Success (FOCUS) grants, according to a summary of the department's budget, that would provide money to school districts using weighted student funding formulas and open enrollment policies.

That would bring Title I grants up to $15.9 billion in all. However, in Trump's budget, states would lose out on the $550 million increase in formula-based funding that Congress approved in a budget deal earlier this year. Total Title I grants to districts through those formulas would be funded at $14.9 billion in Trump's proposed budget.

And charter school grants, which currently get $342 million in federal aid, would get nearly a 50 percent increase and get $500 million. Finally, a program originally tailored to research innovative school practices would be retooled to research and promote vouchers, and get a funding boost of $270 million, bringing it up to $370 million.


By Andrew Ujifusa on May 23, 2017 1:45 PM