4-3-19 Education in the News

Chalkbeat (via NJ Spotlight)--Newark Schools Fell Back in 2018, Halting Years of Progress

While experts caution that too much should not be read into test scores, the results provide fodder for critics of district’s previous aggressive changes

After years of progress, Newark Public Schools backtracked on a number of key performance measures last school year, including the district’s graduation rate, absenteeism rate, and college-readiness scores, according to state data released this month.


Patrick Wall | Chalkbeat | April 3, 2019


Press of Atlantic City—Op-Ed--Our view: A.C. school shows how strategies, standard and unique, cut absenteeism

Last year, New Jersey enacted a law to help reduce chronic absenteeism. It required schools to report the number and percentage of students absent 10 percent or more, and to form plans to address the problem.

Experts say good data on chronic absenteeism is the first requirement, and the 19 percent rate in 2016-17 at the Pennsylvania Avenue School in Atlantic City prompted a broad examination of the issue and a strong response.

That rate is high even for South Jersey, where Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland and Ocean counties are in the top six in the state for absenteeism (Cumberland was highest at 15.9 in this 2015-16 survey).

Too many absences in high school contribute to not graduating. Too many in junior high can cause problems in high school. But even for grade schools like Pennsylvania Avenue, research shows chronic absence in grades one to three is linked to decreased attendance in sixth to ninth grades, and increased risk of dropping out.

Principal LaQuetta Small and her team addressed absences with the kind of multi-pronged effort recommended by education researchers.


Press of Atlantic City| April 2, 2019



Chalkbeat--Federal study finds charter middle schools didn’t help students earn college degrees

Attending a sought-after charter middle school didn’t increase a student’s chance of attending or graduating college, a new U.S. Department of Education study showed.

The report, released Monday, also found little connection between charter school quality, as measured by test scores, and college outcomes.

“The overall conclusion that there is little difference between charter schools and non-charter schools is not shocking to me,” said Sarah Cohodes, a professor at Columbia University’s Teachers College. She pointed to prior research showing charters perform comparably to district schools nearby.


Matt Barnum| April 2, 2019


Education Week--When Will K-12 Classrooms Scrap Those Age-Old, Rigid Desk-Chairs?

Remember that little desk/chair combo used by millions of students—and maybe even you—in school?

They’re still a mainstay in K-12, but there are rumblings that they’re on their way out. And good riddance, say some school leaders, educational furniture providers, and industry observers.

Businesses and other organizations looking for intel on the school marketplace should check out EdWeek Market Brief, a service that provides news, analysis, and original data on the ever-changing needs and priorities of schools.

What’s replacing them is school furniture that may be on wheels, adjustable for height, more versatile and more comfortable.


Michele Molnar| Associate Editor| April 1, 2019