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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


3-5-18 Education in the News

NJ Spotlight--Opinion: NJ's High School Diplomas - Worth the Paper They're Printed On?

As state high-school graduation rates continue to climb, we need to assess if we're doing our grads a grave disservice

Last month, New Jersey's new acting Commissioner of Education Lamont Repollet described the state's sixth year in a row of increased high school graduation rates - now 90.5 percent - as "exciting," because it "demonstrates we are on a path toward closing our achievement gaps and achieving excellent and equitable educational opportunities for our children."

Mr. Repollet is both right and wrong.

New Jersey is on the right track, largely due to what our schools are teaching and how they're testing students, changes implemented by (hold the rotten tomatoes, please) the Christie administration's Department of Education.


Laura Waters | March 5, 2018


NJ Spotlight--State to Reconsider Marijuana Classification as Dangerous Drug

Reclassification will not ensure legalization or decriminalization

New Jersey officials plan to reconsider the potential dangers and possible benefits of marijuana use, a process that is separate from legalizing or decriminalizing the substance, but could impact its use in medical research or how it is regulated.

The state's Division of Consumer Affairs, under the attorney general's office, announced last week it would revisit how marijuana is classified under the New Jersey Controlled Dangerous Substances Law, which currently lists pot as a Schedule I drug - the most strictly regulated category that also includes cocaine, heroin, and LSD. These drugs are considered highly addictive and without any accepted medical value.


Lilo H. Stainton | March 5, 2018


Star Ledger--70 N.J. independent school leaders just demanded gun action

A state organization of schools is calling on lawmakers to create legislation banning certain weapons in the wake of the Parkland High School shootings in February.

The leaders of the 86-member New Jersey Association of Independent Schools (NJAIS) released an open letter Friday supporting Parkland students' efforts to ban military-grade guns and high capacity ammunition.

"We state clearly and boldly to our elected officials: Take action and share the responsibilities we have as school leaders to protect our students, and to support their emotional and physical wellbeing at school," the group said in the letter.


Chris Franklin| Updated Mar 2; Posted Mar 2


Star Ledger--Do schools have to discipline students who join gun-control protests?

Students across the county say they're determined to make a statement March 14 by walking out of their schools in a show of support for stricter gun laws — but how should schools react? 

As districts contemplate how to handle the planned 17-minute demonstration — one minute for each person killed last month in a school shooting in Parkland, Florida — agencies are weighing in on how schools should protect both students' safety and their right to political action. 

"For local school boards, the demonstrations raise issues of school attendance, the board’s discipline policies, students’ right to free speech and, above all else, safety,” Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod, the executive director of the New Jersey School Boards Association, said in a guidance document for districts


Marisa Iati | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com| Posted March 03, 2018 at 06:50 AM | Updated March 03, 2018 at 11:00 AM


The Record--Do safe schools need armed guards or armed teachers?

of having armed guards — whether that means a borrowed patrol officer or a retired cop with a license to carry around kids — has become more appealing to stressed officials and jittery parents.

Some districts, like Lodi and Totowa, did this after the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, during which 20-year-old Adam Lanza fatally shot 20 young children and six adults. For others, like officials in Garfield and Mahwah, it took the February shooting in Parkland, Florida  — which left 17 dead — to convince them that unarmed security guards just weren’t enough.


Steve Janoski, Staff Writer, @SteveJanoski Published 5:58 a.m. ET March 3, 2018 | Updated 10:52 a.m. ET March 3, 2018


NY Times--School Officer: A Job With Many Roles and One Big Responsibility

Maple syrup gumming up the gun belt isn’t normally a hazard of police work. But it is a common problem for Cpl. Pamela Revels when students have been eating pancakes at the school breakfast.

“Kids like to come up and give you a little bit of a hug,” Corporal Revels said. “They don’t wipe their hands that well.”

Ms. Revels freely dispenses hugs and smiles at the schools where she works around Auburn, Ala. But she is also a sheriff’s deputy who wears a sidearm and a bulletproof vest, drives an official S.U.V. and has an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle stored nearby.

On Thursday afternoon, when a report came in about a man in camouflage carrying a gun near school, she sprang into action. As worried students and teachers locked themselves in classrooms and closets, she bolted outdoors, hurriedly walked around the sprawling campus and scanned the nearby woods until she was satisfied that it was safe for everyone to emerge.

“I can turn into a mama bear really quick,” she said. “And I’ve made that decision that nobody is going to hurt my babies if I can help it.”




Washington Post--Teachers of the Year urge educators to do the uncomfortable: Advocate for safe schools

Most teachers have long been loathe to speak out on controversial topics. Some do not want to but others who do are afraid of antagonizing students, parents and administrators and literally, putting their jobs on the line.

In recent years, we have seen more speak out, first over the effect that over-testing was having on students as well as the teaching profession, and now, about safe schools.

Student survivors of the Feb. 14 shootings at a Florida high school, which left 17 people dead, have sparked a movement for safe schools that teachers are now joining. In the following open letter, a group of National Teachers of the Year — the highest award given to teachers — urges colleagues to come out of their comfort zone to advocate.

Here is the letter:


Valerie Strauss March 2 Email the author




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