The Buzz

9-26-18 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Camden Schools Get Something to Celebrate: PARCC Scores Are Picking Up One renaissance school — Camden Prep — sees double-digit jumps in test results; other city schools post more modest gains...'

Education Week--Are Too Many Students Working Below Grade Level? The United States’ system of mandatory public schooling operates under an unspoken social contract with students: Work hard, get good grades, and you can succeed in college, work, and life...'

Education Week--Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' Ambitious Pre-K Move Sparks Wary Reactions

The world's richest man says he wants to help tackle one of the biggest issues in education: improving early-childhood learning. But what exactly does Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos mean when he says the new network of nonprofit preschools he's planning will be "Montessori inspired," and will "use the same set of principles" that have pushed his giant online retail and cloud-computing company toward a $1 trillion valuation? Experts in the fields of early childhood, the business of education, and ed tech confess to not being sure...'

9-25-18 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--New Jersey’s Youngest Parents: Short on Skills, Cash, and a Viable Future Without education and training — or even affordable childcare — the Garden State’s youngest families can trap two generations in a cycle of poverty and disappointment, report says...'

Star Ledger--The 50 N.J. high schools with the best SAT scores It's only a test — a rigorous, three-hour assessment of a student's skills in reading, writing and math. But the SAT is the test for many New Jersey high school students, the one that could potentially make or break their chances of getting into their dream college...'

Education Week--E-Cigarettes Aren't Just for Tobacco: Students Use Them for Marijuana, Too...'

9-24-18 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--NJ Among Most Vulnerable States if Recession Hits — Ratings Analysts Moody’s, S&P fault Trenton’s reliance on last-minute scrambling for one-time sources of revenue, inadequate reserves, and absence of sustainable fiscal policies If New Jersey’s budget gets rocked by the next economic recession, this time Wall Street analysts will be able to say, “We told you so.”...'

Star Ledger--These N.J. kids won't do homework every weekend, and that's OK Public schools in Wayne are the latest to embrace the no homework movement, aimed at giving young children and teenagers an occasional break from their demanding schedules...'

Star Ledger--On PARCC, Murphy is failing the neediest kids    Editorial
Gov. Phil Murphy tossed the PARCC test into his campaign like a political frisbee, reviving the anger of a muted opt-out movement when he vowed to eliminate it entirely.

Since then, he's backed off, twice. He sought to pare the test down, and then, after an outcry, to re-examine it...'

NY Times--The Couple Who Helped Decode Dyslexia NEW HAVEN, Conn. — By now, Sally and Bennett Shaywitz might have retired to a life of grandchild-doting and Mediterranean-cruising. Instead, the Shaywitzes — experts in dyslexia at Yale who have been married to each other for 55 years — remain as focused as ever on a research endeavor they began 35 years ago...'

Education Week--Cash-Strapped Teachers Are Getting Up Early to Tutor Students in China Chinese Sites Offer Flexibility, Pay Most days, Lisa Newhouse, a library media specialist with the Upsala Area schools in Minnesota, wakes up at about 4 a.m., gets ready for work, and sits at her computer to teach her first students of the day—who live in China...'

9-21-18 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Sarlo Announces Money-Saving Reforms of Public-Employee Medical Claims Move, coming hot on the heels of governor’s benefit reform plan, is held out as potentially saving taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars...'

Star Ledger--The 50 N.J. school districts spending the most per student Salaries and benefits. Books and supplies. Facilities and maintenance. Add it all up, and you've got one big bill. The average New Jersey school district spent $20,849 per student during the 2016-17 school year, about a $500 increase from the year before, according to new data released by the state...'

NY Times--Jeff Bezos Cites a Big Number, but Few Details, in Plan for Low-Income Montessori Preschools When Jeff Bezos announced last week that he and his wife, MacKenzie Bezos, would create and operate a national network of Montessori preschools, few were more surprised than Montessori organizations and leaders themselves...'

9-20-18 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Poll: Should PARCC Testing Stay or Should It Go? The standardized test of NJ public school students has been controversial from the get-go. Opponents can’t wait for its demise. Supporters say it has its merits. Where do you stand?...'

The Atlantic--The Curse of America’s Illogical School-Day Schedule It starts too early for teens’ sleep patterns, and ends too early for working parents. Does the country have to be stuck with it?...'

9-19-18 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Governor Punts on PARCC as Fate of Controversial School Test Still Unclear Murphy maintains his opposition to the ‘high-stakes’ exam but defers to state education commissioner on whether and when it will be replaced...'

Star Ledger--Biggest scam you’ve never heard about: How N.J. schools may be losing lots of money Some school officials and coaches call it one of the biggest scams in high school sports, with districts getting duped out of untold amounts of dollars that could help fund their programs...'

Star Ledger--Here are the N.J. school districts getting money to expand pre-K under Murphy plan Gov. Phil Murphy on Tuesday revealed the more than two dozen New Jersey school districts chosen to receive the first round of millions of dollars in new funding in his push to expand public pre-school across the state...'

Star Ledger--Murphy defends hiring of ex-official jailed for taking bribes Gov. Phil Murphy on Tuesday defended his administration's decision to hire a former Passaic City councilman who served prison time for taking bribes...'

Associated Press (via Philadelphia Inquirer)--Murphy still wants to phase out PARCC despite pushback TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy says his mind is unchanged about phasing out a controversial standardized test despite legislative concerns over dropping the exams...'

Asbury Park Press--Make time for school recess: Editorial New Jersey’s mandatory recess law was supposed to have kicked in with the new school year...'

Associated Press (viaWashington Post)--Bill Gates calls for more global education assessments data SEATTLE — Bill Gates is rallying behind school quality in developing nations with a push for more assessment data, a new initiative that links the Microsoft co-founder’s signature U.S. education priorities with his more prominent global philanthropy work...'

Education Week--Opioid Epidemic Raising Special Education Concerns Tens of thousands of babies are born each year to mothers who abused opioids when they were pregnant...'

9-18-18 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Edgy Debate in Trenton Over Murphy’s Planned Changes to School Testing Democratic legislators clash with education commissioner, suggest administration is moving to scale back and ultimately ditch controversial PARCC test without having properly prepared a replacement..'

NJ Spotlight--Murphy’s Revisions to Public-Employee Health Plans Could Save Taxpayers $500M Workers should see only slight increases to premiums, or possibly small reductions, while governor claims the deal shows what happens when cooperation replaces conflict...'

Star Ledger--What you should know about the deal Murphy just struck with public worker unions Gov. Phil Murphy struck a deal with public workers over changes to health care plans for active and retired employees, his administration announced Monday...'

StarLedger--Not so fast on axing PARCC in N.J., lawmakers tell Murphy Gov. Phil Murphy vowed on the campaign trail last year to eliminate the controversial PARCC exam as soon as he took office. That didn't happen. And now his administration's plan to at least begin phasing the test out has some state lawmakers saying:"Not so fast."...'

The Record--Editorial: Please, don’t save PARCC The state Board of Education appears reluctant to take action on curbing the impact of the standardized PARCC exams, despite the intentions of both Gov. Phil Murphy and his education commissioner, Lamont Repollet, to dump PARCC as soon as it is feasible. We have just one question for board members: Why?...'

Associated Press (via Philadelphia Inquirer) DeVos to students: Don't hide behind a Twitter handle PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Monday encouraged students to engage others with respect and not to "be nasty" while hiding behind Twitter handles, leading one student to wonder why her boss, President Donald Trump, doesn't appear to abide by those rules...'

Education Week-Dual-Language Learning: 6 Key Insights forSchools For decades, two factors drove the demand for dual-language education: a desire to preserve native languages and recognition that dual-language learning can boost overall achievement for English-language learners. Now, a growing number of states also see bilingualism as key to accessing the global economy,...'

9-17-18 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Conflict Continues Over What It Should Take to Graduate High School in NJ State wants to give students option of more than one type of test to graduate, but debate is strong over consequences, unintended and not...'

Star Ledger--These 23 N.J. school districts are hemorrhaging students and it could spell trouble New Jersey public schools have far fewer students coming into the system than in years past, a trend that, should it continue, could threaten the viability of some rural districts as enrollment plunges...'

Education Week--In Some Cities, Closing Achievement Gaps Is Not for Schools to Fix Alone If a mother needs after-school child care to work extra hours but can't afford to pay for it, who is responsible for helping her figure it out?...'

Education Week--Why Generation Z Learners Prefer YouTube Lessons Over Printed Books Video learning outranks printed books in survey...'

The Atlantic--Teens Are Protesting In-Class Presentations Some students say having to speak in front of the class is an unreasonable burden for those with anxiety and are demanding alternative options. For many middle- and high-school students, giving an in-class presentation was a rite of passage...'

9-14-18 Education in the News
Times of Trenton--Gov. Murphy's investing $10M to grow apprenticeships    Editorial
A non-profit organization working to improve the state's urban communities says it's found a key to economic prosperity in a tried-and-true labor arrangement that's been with us for generations...'

Press of Atlantic City--Pediatric nurse offers tips to keep students happy and healthy Classes are underway at school districts around the region, and parents may be wondering what they can do to ensure students get the most out of their days...'

NY Times--Quiz: Could You Get Into a Gifted Program? Try your hand at the types of questions included on elementary school intelligence tests. The role of intelligence and ability tests has been hotly debated in American education for a century. Supporters of the tests say they are a fair measure of cognitive ability. Critics of the tests say they are biased against children who have fewer books or educational games at home, or who have not attended quality preschool...'

Education Week--Teen Vaping Has Hit 'Epidemic Proportions,' FDA Leader Says in Enforcement Call Youth use of electronic cigarettes "has reached an epidemic proportion," the leader of the Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday. He gave the manufacturers of popular vaping devices, like Juul, 60 days to make plans to limit their sales to minors or risk seeing their products pulled from the market pending new regulations. He also announced new enforcement actions against retailers who sell the products...'

9-13-18 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--In Surprise Move, State Board Tables Vote on Cutting Back PARCC Board president and education commissioner say more discussion needed, but some wonder if there were enough votes to make the change...'

Star Ledger--Reported threats against N.J. schools doubled last year. Keep being vigilant, state tells students. The number of reported school threats in New Jersey more than doubled during the 2017-2018 academic year, according to the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness...'

9-12-18 Education in the News
Star Ledger--NJEA president: These PARCC reforms prioritize learning, not testing    Opinion
When PARCC was first administered here in 2015, eighth grade students took 12 hours and 50 minutes of standardized tests across math, language arts and science. That was nearly an hour longer than the New Jersey bar exam taken by law school graduates...'

NPR--If 'Free College' Sounds Too Good To Be True, That's Because It Often Is To millions of parents and students, they're magical words: free college. But is the idea pure fantasy?...'

Education Week--It's Time to End Football in High School Traumatic brain injuries are a serious concern, even for players who don't suffer concussions More than one million high school students participate in tackle football programs at their schools, during which they each sustain hundreds of violent blows to the head over the course of a season. According to our analysis, the cumulative effect of rattling this many brains this many times is that each year roughly 264,000 high school students suffer traumatic brain injury and cognitive impairment that diminishes their ability to think, learn, and succeed in school...'

9-11-18 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Law Requiring Minimum Recess in Elementary Schools Is Put on Hold Years in the making, a new obligation for elementary schools to provide at least 20 minutes of recess daily won’t go into effect this year...'

Star Ledger--Do teachers make enough? Here's the median salary in every N.J. district It's the question that inevitably comes up in any discussion about schools and money. Are teachers paid enough? Or, depending on your perspective, are teachers paid too much?...'

Asbury Park Press--Is tax relief on the way? It has been a month since a fiscal reform task force created by New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney released its report. It included more than 30 recommendations on ways to make New Jersey government more efficient and the state more affordable for taxpayers...'

Education Week-- Teen Social Media Use Is Skyrocketing. But Don't Panic, New Research Says Teens' use of social media has exploded over the past six years, while their preference for face-to-face interactions with friends has markedly declined. But the sky does not appear to be falling, according to the results from a new national survey of teenagers by the nonprofit Common Sense Media...'

9-10-18 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Opinion: A Good Start Toward a Multiyear Budget Strategy for New Jersey There are no quick fixes for the state’s ongoing budget crisis, but the best place to begin is with the chronically underfunded pension system...'

Philadelphia Inquirer--Old schools, hot buildings: A ‘public health concern’? When Rafi Cave dropped his daughter off at school Friday, it felt like a revelation — it was the first time since classes began Sept. 4 that children at Evans Elementary in Yeadon had a full day's instruction...'

Asbury Park Press--PARCC testing still here, but defanged: Editorial Three facts: 1) New Jersey public schools are consistently rated among the best in the nation. 2) More than half of New Jersey students wouldn’t even receive a high school diploma if current PARCC exam scores were used as a graduation requirement...'

Press of Atlantic City--Our view: Sweeney candid on pensions in push for true fiscal reform State Senate President Steve Sweeney’s bipartisan task force has delivered an impressive list of recommendations on how to restore financial responsibility to state government...'

NY Times--Does Teacher Diversity Matter for Students’ Learning? Research shows that students, especially boys, benefit when teachers share their race or gender. Yet most teachers are white women...'

Education Week--State Grades on K-12 Achievement: Map and Rankings...'

9-7-18 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Op-Ed: More Than Academics — It’s Time to Elevate HS Graduation Requirements It’s up to the state Board of Education to continue New Jersey’s national leadership in innovation and quality education Speaking as a New Jersey school superintendent, I believe the state Board of Education should approve proposed changes to New Jersey’s standards and assessments that reduce the number of high school PARCC tests and require students to pass them to graduate...'

Star Ledger--Kids are sweating in school, and many aren't getting AC anytime soon The 2018-19 school year is starting amid a heat wave, and that is a rough development for the many students and teachers whose classrooms lack air conditioning...'

The Record--Teacher-student texting grows, but so does concern about the trend More educators are using text messages to communicate with students, recognizing that texts can be the quickest and most effective way to distribute information about class assignments, schedule changes and exams...'

North Jersey Record--Should you buy a 'bulletproof backpack' for your child? We tested their performance In a sign of the times, 'bulletproof' backpacks for kids are now on some parents back-to-school shopping lists. Do they work?...'

NY Times—“How Do You Walk Back Into a Classroom Again?” Teaching in the Age of School Shootings...'

Education Week--Here's What's Behind the Nation's 'C' Grade on Student Achievement When it comes to ranking school quality, one high-profile marker—academic achievement—takes center stage. How much students actually learn, whether they complete their K-12 education, and how states stack up against each other can offer a rough proxy for how well the nation's public school system is doing its job...'

9-6-18 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Opinion: New Jersey’s Short-Term Fiscal Fixes Mean Long-Term Disaster The ‘Sweeney commission’ has shown that one-shots and other revenue gimmicks can only lead to trouble, but will the pols and the public unions give them up?...'

Trenton Times--Trump wants to kick kids out of school. There's a better way to discipline them    Editorial
There was a time, not so long ago, when teachers believed whipping unruly children was perfectly acceptable...'

Star Ledger--Armed guards, panic buttons. A look at the increased security in N.J. schools this year. Over the past eight months, school safety and security has been almost a constant conversation for schools around the country. In the wake of the tragic Parkland, Florida school shooting, many districts have made a significant effort to reevaluate their safety protocols and procedures...'

Star Ledger--Why N.J. students dominate the U.S. in learning foreign languages Bonjour! Salaam! Ni hao! Guten tag! Namaste! Konnichiwa! Merhaba!

If your child goes to a New Jersey school, chances are they will know the meaning of at least some of those words...'

The Record-- NJ schools: 7 big changes for the new school year 7 changes to expect in the 2018-19 school year For 1.4 million New Jersey students who return to classrooms this fall — and their families — the new school year will bring significant changes that impact testing, tax bills and safety regulations...'

Asbury Park Press--Back to School: How much should NJ schools spend on security? Voters will decide Some Jersey Shore schools will ask voters to pay for cops in schools or new security upgrades. Here's what you should know...'

NY Times--Raising Student Performance the Right Way Can Good Teaching Be Taught?...'

Washington Post--The education of Betsy DeVos: Why her school choice agenda has not advanced The many controversies of Betsy DeVos...'

Education Week--5 Big Tech Trends Worth Watching This School Year Sure, there will be new apps, devices, and gadgets in schools across the country this year. But deeper forces are also at work:...'

2018 - 2019 Announcement Archives
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The Special Education Task Force Report was released  in November 2015. GSCS, a Task Force member,  looks forward to discussion on this important topic under the Murphy administration.  See below for a link to the report.

Final Report of NJ Task Force on Improving Special Education for Public School Students