8-14-17 Education in the News

NJ Spotlight--State Board Issues Guidelines for Social and Emotional Education …

… and NJ Spotlight speaks with Rutgers’ Maurice Elias, international leader in emotional intelligence, school success, and character development

Any school would probably say it supports a child’s social and emotional learning, but it’s difficult to define what exactly that means and what exactly it entails.

At the behest of the State Board of Education, state officials put out school guidelines this month about the components of such teaching and learning, from emphasis on self-awareness to relationship skills to “responsible decision-making.”


John Mooney | August 14, 2017


Star Ledger--Q&A with former schools chief about Christie's legacy on charters

Chris Cerf is the superintendent of schools in Newark, where charter schools now educate 1 in 3 students, which is by far the largest segment of any district in the state besides Camden.
But unlike many superintendents, Cerf is not opposed to charter schools – as long as they are good schools –  and argues that poor, minority kids are the big winners.
He served as education commissioner under Gov. Chris Christie, and oversaw an expansion that doubled the number of New Jersey students in charter schools, while closing more than 10 percent of charters when they were failing.


By Star-Ledger Editorial Board| Posted August 13, 2017 at 08:08 AM | Updated August 13, 2017 at 11:38 AM


Associated Press (via Philadelphia Inquirer)--DeVos undeterred by critics even as agenda remains stalled

WASHINGTON (AP) - Among the paintings and photographs that decorate Education Secretary Betsy DeVos' sunlit, spacious office is the framed roll call from her Senate confirmation. It's a stark reminder of the bruising process that spurred angry protests, some ridicule and required the vice president's tie-breaking "yes" vote.

Six months on the job, DeVos is no less divisive.

Critics see her as hostile to public education and indifferent to civil rights, citing her impassioned push for school choice and her signing off on the repeal of some protections for LGBT students.

Conservatives wish she had been less polarizing and more effective in promoting her agenda, noting that the department's budget requests are stalled in Congress and no tangible school choice plan has emerged.

DeVos is undeterred.


MARIA DANILOVA, The Associated Press| Updated: August 14, 2017 — 3:01 AM EDT


New York Times-- A New Kind of Classroom: No Grades, No Failing, No Hurry

Few middle schoolers are as clued in to their mathematical strengths and weakness as Moheeb Kaied. Now a seventh grader at Brooklyn’s Middle School 442, he can easily rattle off his computational profile.

“Let’s see,” he said one morning this spring. “I can find the area and perimeter of a polygon. I can solve mathematical and real-world problems using a coordinate plane. I still need to get better at dividing multiple-digit numbers, which means I should probably practice that more.”

Moheeb is part of a new program that is challenging the way teachers and students think about academic accomplishments, and his school is one of hundreds that have done away with traditional letter grades inside their classrooms. At M.S. 442, students are encouraged to focus instead on mastering a set of grade-level skills, like writing a scientific hypothesis or identifying themes in a story, moving to the next set of skills when they have demonstrated that they are ready. In these schools, there is no such thing as a C or a D for a lazily written term paper. There is no failing. The only goal is to learn the material, sooner or later.

Mastery-based learning, also known as proficiency-based or competency-based learning, is taking hold across the country.