|6-29-17 Education in the News|
NJ Spotlight--Could Horizon Reform Bill Derail State Budget? It’s Down to the Wire
Vitale accuses Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey of ‘trying to whip up a wave of hysteria’ over proposal to reform the insurance company
With the state’s budget deadline quickly approaching, a controversial proposal to reform Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey remains a stumbling block in the Democrats’ quest to secure Gov. Chris Christie’s support for their revised spending plan for fiscal year 2018.
The Horizon bill, approved by a key Senate panel on Monday, is scheduled for a final vote today before the full Senate, but it did not appear on the list of items to be considered by the Assembly as of Wednesday evening; Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson) has strongly opposed the plan and there was no indication Wednesday that his stance had changed.
Lilo H. Stainton | June 29, 2017
Star Ledger--Why this powerful political boss could be a big loser in Christie's last budget battle
And increasingly the cards look like they're stacked against Prieto (D-Hudson), who is blocking a pivotal piece of budget negotiations: A plan to allow the state to tap into the reserves of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, something Christie has demanded.
Nearly two dozen state and elected officials who spoke to NJ Advance Media, most on the condition of anonymity so they could talk freely, describe last-minute budget turmoil that has Democrats scrambling to find ways to force the speaker's hand or, in what would be a more dramatic move, sidestep Prieto altogether.
Matt Arco| Updated on June 29, 2017 at 9:32 AM Posted on June 29, 2017 at 7:15 AM
NJ Spotlight--Q&A: Mark Biedron, Former President, State Board of Education
Biedron reflects on his six years of service, recalls some contentious issues, and remains in the dark about why the administration didn’t reappoint him
When Mark Biedron was appointed by Gov. Chris Christie to the state Board of Education in 2011, he admitted to being naïve about the workings of New Jersey public education. But the businessman and founder of a private school in Somerset County got a crash course in how public schools operate in his home state.
Six years later, Biedron had become one of the board’s highest-profile members, serving as president and presiding over contentious votes on charter schools and PARCC testing. And then suddenly and inexplicably, the man who had originally appointed Biedron replaced him with someone else.
John Mooney | June 29, 2017
NJ Spotlight--Extensive and Expensive: Coming to Terms with NJ’s Fiscal Challenges
First report in a new series takes a nonpartisan approach to fixing the state’s financial faults, from cutting back on retiree benefits to boosting the sales tax
From a huge unfunded obligation to retired employees to the lack of a substantial rainy-day account in the annual budget, a new report on New Jersey’s renowned fiscal challenges lays out in stark detail just how strained the state’s finances will be when a new governor and Legislature are sworn into office early next year.
The report prepared by the Fund for New Jersey, a philanthropic organization that encourages informed policymaking (and a funder of NJ Spotlight), proposes a number of tough-to-swallow, but balanced policy changes to address the state’s biggest fiscal problems. They include reducing spending on retiree healthcare by providing less generous health benefits, and boosting revenue collections by increasing taxes like the state income and sales taxes.
John Reitmeyer | June 29, 2017
The Record--Editorial: Horse trading inside the State House
Last-minute horse trading is part of the budget process in Trenton. In years past, legislators made deals among themselves and with the governor to avert a government shutdown – the consequence of not producing a signed budget before midnight June 30. It has been 11 years since Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine had a mattress rolled into his State House office, stood his ground with the Democratic-controlled Legislature and allowed a state government to shut down. No one expects a replay of that this week.
We are all for compromise. And despite Gov. Chris Christie's often fiery rhetoric, throughout his two terms budget deals were made. And so, as Christie approaches his final budget, it’s expected that once again, deals will be made, mostly away from the public’s eye. That is bad for New Jersey residents.
NorthJersey Published 4:35 p.m. ET June 28, 2017 | Updated 12 hours ago
Education Week-- Students' Sense of Belonging at School Is Important. It Starts With Teachers
A student's sense of belonging at school is important to academic achievement, say educators who responded to an Education Week Research Center survey.
While most educators who took the survey use routines to help students feel welcome and safe at school—like greeting them at the classroom door each morning—many respondents say they struggle to help address some barriers to belonging.
The survey, administered by the Education Week Research Center, drew input from 528 educators who are registered users of edweek.org.
Evie Blad| June 20, 2017
Garden State Coalition of Schools