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Garden State Coalition of Schools
Elisabeth Ginsburg, Executive Director
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Trenton, New Jersey 08608


6-1-17 Education in the News

Star Ledger--N.J.'s raging school funding debate: What your next governor would do

Gov. Chris Christie once took a hard line when it comes to the way the state funds its public schools: Spend the same amount — $6,599 — per pupil in every district. He promised it would lower property taxes, but opponents say it would decimate urban schools that lean on the state for support.

His proposal, dubbed the "fairness formula," was considered dead on arrival by the state's Democratic-controlled Legislature, which is now squabbling over a new plan. 

New Jersey funds its public schools through a formula passed in 2008 that determines how much each district needs to spend and considers each community's ability to raise revenue through property taxes. More state aid goes to poorer districts. 

New Jersey spends big on education, but Christie has regularly underfunded this formula for school aid by about $1 billion annually, forcing budget cuts and higher property taxes in some districts. 

The school funding problem will pass on to the next governor in January. Here's what the Republicans and Democrats seeking to succeed Christie would do. 


Matt Arco | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com| Updated June 01, 2017
Posted June 01, 2017


Washington Post--It’s hard to overstate how much critics hate Florida’s ‘scam’ education bill. Will the governor veto it?

It’s being called legislation by “scam” — and that’s not the worst critique of the new education bill that the Republican-dominated Florida legislature has now approved. Will Republican Gov. Rick Scott veto it, as school superintendents, school boards, public school advocates and even some Republicans are advocating?

The legislation, known as House Bill 7069, was passed by both the Florida House and Senate at the end of their legislative sessions without time for serious consideration or debate, but rather this way, as a piece in the Orlando Sentinel explains:

Instead of carefully considering education proposals one at a time, Republican leaders went behind closed doors to cram 35 different proposals — rules on everything from sunscreen use to charter-schools incentives — into a single, 278-page, take-it-or-leave-it bill unveiled at the last minute. For me to simply reprint the bill, it would take 75 columns this size … and you still wouldn’t get to the part where legislators want to siphon money away from traditional schools until column No. 46.


Valerie Strauss May 31 at 1:02 PM


The Atlantic--How School Choice Affects Test Scores

Recent studies show vouchers fail to improve some student outcomes, but that hasn’t deterred advocates of the approach.

At last week’s gathering of school-choice supporters, there was an awkward fact in their midst: A wave of new studies had shown that students receiving a voucher did worse, sometimes much worse, on standardized tests.

That was the inconvenient verdict of studies examining programs in Louisiana, Ohio, Washington, D.C., and in Indianapolis, where the advocates had convened for the annual conference of the American Federation for Children. U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, the group’s former leader, gave the keynote address.


Matt Barnum| May 31, 2017


Education Week--Is Your Child Showing Grit? School Report Cards Rate Students' Soft Skills

Where report cards may have once had a handwritten teacher's note saying a student "plays well with others," parents in some districts are now more likely to see a box that shows whether their child performs at grade level in such areas as "relationship skills."

Schools are increasingly rating students on a variety of social competencies and "learning skills" alongside their traditional grades in academic subjects.

In Montgomery County, Md., elementary school report cards indicate whether students are exhibiting traits like "intellectual risk-taking" and metacognition, which is an awareness of their own learning processes.


Evie Blad| May 30, 2017

Garden State Coalition of Schools
160 W. State Street, Trenton New Jersey 08608