7-31-17 Education in the News

Star Ledger--What's next for Newark schools as local control looms

NEWARK -- It's been more than 20 years since the state took the reins of Newark's public school system, choosing its succession of superintendents and making decisions on staffing, instruction and budgeting. 

But next school year, the School Advisory Board is expected to shed its enfeebling title and become a fully-functioning board with the power to hire and fire its own chief of schools -- governance of Newark's 65 public schools will finally return to local control. 

"This is a heavy responsibility," School Advisory Board Chair Marques-Aquil Lewis told NJ Advance Media. "This board has not been taking this lightly at all, we have been training to prepare ourselves for local control ... The public needs to understand that at the end it's not just about the board members, we're going to need the public to be our partners."


Karen Yi| Updated on July 29, 2017 at 1:48 PM Posted on July 28, 2017 at 10:00 AM


Philadelphia Inquirer--At South Jersey Robotics, gears and switches set careers in motion

At a summer robotics camp for high school and middle school kids in South Jersey’s Salem County, failure is an option — but only temporarily.

When 17-year-old Noah Halsted switched on his team’s 3½-by-2½-foot, gear-packed robot and absolutely nothing happened, he took just a second to groan, “That failed,” before grabbing some electrical tape, fixing a cable, and sending the reenergized robot to scoot across the floor on six wheels, scooping up plastic balls with a cleverly hidden broom.

In the room next door at Salem Community College, 14-year-old Christian Goldsborough – programming a smaller robot made from Legos – said he knows the feeling. What’s “cool” about robotics, the Penns Grove teen said, is that “when you mess up and you’re frustrated, then do the right thing. A job well done is the best part.”

The kids’ can-do, blue-collar approach to high-tech wizardry reflects the scrappy nature of the program they are part of — South Jersey Robotics, a volunteer effort that for nearly a decade has steadily built a network of competitive robotics teams and worked with programs like this Gear Up! summer camp to promote tech careers in one of the poorest stretches of the Garden State, where job opportunities have been shrinking.


Kathy Boccella, Staff Writer|Updated: July 31, 2017 — 7:11 AM EDT


Princeton Packet--PRINCETON: Legal fees starting to stack up in battle between school district and charter school

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The Princeton school district and the Princeton Charter School have spent a substantial amount of money in their legal fight about the Charter School growing its enrollment, a battle that some on the Board of Education privately want to end.

School board president Patrick Sullivan, who was on vacation and did not have the exact numbers in front of him, said Friday that the bills were “substantial,” in excess of $100,000. Contacted Friday, Superintendent of Schools Stephen C. Cochrane said the expenses are "currently around $90,000."


Philip Sean Curran, Staff Writer| Jul 28, 2017 Updated Jul 28, 2017


Education Week-- States Adopt STEM Seals for High School Diplomas

Colorado educators Elaine Menardi and Jess Buller would seem an unlikely pair to be writing legislation. But neither felt that their students, then middle schoolers, were on track for meeting state benchmarks for workforce readiness in technology and computing.

So, while participating in a fellowship together, the two cooked up a solution: a STEM diploma endorsement awarded to high school students with a track record of strong achievement in those subjects. In May, Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the fruit of their labor into law.

“It was so valuable for educators to be in the thick of it all, because if a lawmaker had come up with the idea, they might have put in criteria that wouldn’t have been as rigorous,” Menardi said, noting the high grade point average students must maintain to earn the seal.

Colorado’s new law is unusual in the degree of participation educators had in shaping it, but it is not unique. Within the last school year, at least two other states created a diploma endorsement in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.


Stephen Sawchuk| July 27, 201


Education Week-- Top Democrats to Betsy DeVos: Your New Plan for ESSA Review Violates the Law

The top two Democrats for education in Congress have warned U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos that her department's new approach to reviewing states' Every Student Succeeds Act plans is riddled with problems.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., the ranking Democrats on the respective Senate and House education committees, wrote in a Friday letter to DeVos that the U.S. Department of Education's plans to begin conducting two-hour phone calls with states about their ESSA plans before providing states with formal comments will "limit the public's knowledge" about ESSA-related agreements between states and the department. 


By Andrew Ujifusa on July 28, 2017 5:26 PM