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Email: gscschools@gmail.com
Phone: 609-394-2828 (office)
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Garden State Coalition of Schools
Elisabeth Ginsburg, Executive Director
160 West State Street
Trenton, New Jersey 08608


2-1-18 Education in the News

NJ Spotlight--Murphy Team’s Budget Wish List Could Get Cool Reception in Legislature

There are already signs that some proposals from governor’s advisory committee will meet resistance in the State House

State budget advisers say that for all of New Jersey’s fiscal problems, they see a number of steps the state can realistically take that have the potential to improve New Jersey’s notoriously poor standing. They include increasing funding for the public-employee pension system, padding rainy-day budget reserves, and reducing the use of one-time revenue gimmicks.


John Reitmeyer | February 1, 2018


NJ Spotlight--After 22 Years, Newark Enters New Era of Local Governance

As city reclaims control of its schools, leaders want to get it right

For two decades, votes cast by Newark's elected school board have carried mostly symbolic weight. Today, as the board reclaims control of the city's schools after a 22-year state takeover, even its smallest decisions will acquire new significance.

A preview of that transformation was on display at a board meeting last week, as members debated when to hold their next round of elections. Moving them from April to November, when other local elections are held, could save the school district about $250,000 per election. But doing so could also politicize the board race, discouraging ordinary citizens from throwing their hats into the ring.


Patrick Wall | February 1, 2018


Washington Post--The Daily 202: Koch network laying groundwork to fundamentally transform America’s education system

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — The Koch network will spend around $400 million on politics and policy this election cycle, but that’s only part of a grander effort to fundamentally transform America.

Making a long-term play, the billionaire industrialist Charles Koch and his like-minded friends on the right are increasingly focused on melding the minds of the next generation by making massive, targeted investments in both K-12 and higher education.

Changing the education system as we know it was a central focus of a three-day donor seminar that wrapped up late last night at a resort here in the desert outside Palm Springs.

“We’ve made more progress in the last five years than I had in the last 50,” Koch told donors during a cocktail reception. “The capabilities we have now can take us to a whole new level. … We want to increase the effectiveness of the network … by an order of magnitude. If we do that, we can change the trajectory of the country.”

Leaders of the network dreamed of disrupting the status quo, customizing learning and breaking the teacher unions. One initial priority is expanding educational saving accounts and developing technologies that would let parents pick and choose private classes or tutors for their kids the same way people shop on Amazon. They envision making it easy for families to join together to start their own “micro-schools” as a new alternative to the public system.


James Hohmann January 30


Do Students Really Need Grades? Teachers Are Divided

Do grades provide an accurate snapshot of a student's performance? Or are they anxiety-producing scores that prevent educators from focusing on true learning?

In an Education Week opinion essay by Mark Barnes, the creator and publisher of the popular Hack Learning book series, he writes that gradeless classrooms are a "brave new world" that more educators need to embrace. 

"Teachers would learn how to effectively assess academic performance, and students would become independent learners, driven by curiosity and inspiration rather than by the empty promise of a 'good' grade or the threat of a 'bad' one," Barnes writes. 

School districts across the country have been questioning and even replacing the traditional grading system with more experimental practices.


Madeline Will on January 30, 2018 10:44 AM

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

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