The Buzz

6-23-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Republican Leaders Unveil A School-Funding Plan of Their Own GOP picks up a notable ally in Wendell Steinhauer, president of the NJEA The state’s GOP leaders yesterday unveiled an alternative to the Democratic school-funding plan put forward by Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto last month...'

NJ Spotlight--Pre-K Expansion, the Silent Partner in the Dems’ School-Funding Scheme Some $25 million dollars in new aid could mean full-day pre-K for another 2,500 children The possibility of nearly $150 million in new aid for New Jersey schools may be stealing the political spotlight right now, but there’s another school item in the fiscal 2018 budget debates that could have bigger consequences...'

Star Ledger--N.J. Democrats at odds over proposed budget deal with Christie

TRENTON -- With only nine days left to finalize a state budget -- and the threat of a government shutdown looming -- Democrats who control the New Jersey Legislature are at odds over a possible deal with Gov. Chris Christie regarding school funding and raiding the reserves of the state's largest health care provider, legislative sources told NJ Advance Media...'

Education Week--GOP Health Care Proposals: What Educators Should Know The Trump administration and congressional Republicans are in the midst of trying to replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act—better known as "Obamacare"—with big implications for the nation's schools when it come to special education funding, teacher benefits, and more...'

6-22-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Poll: School Aid, School Aid — Is there a Way out of the Funding Maze? The Democrats have unveiled their new plan. Should Christie go for it or walk away? School funding is at the center of debate about New Jersey’s next state budget, and it’s time for decisions. Democratic leaders in the state Senate and Assembly have proposed a plan that would boost school aid by $146 million for nearly 400 districts that have been underfunded for nearly a decade under the Christie administration. Another $25 million in state dollars would be allocated for pre-K education in select districts. At the same time, more than 100 school districts that are considered “overfunded” would also lose money under the plan, some significantly...'

Star Ledger--Christie, Democrats working budget deal linking pensions, school funding, Horizon TRENTON -- Gov. Chris Christie is attempting to broker a deal with legislative leaders that would allow Democrats to inject an extra $125 million into state education funding in exchange for legislation that would allow the governor to tap $300 million from Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey's reserves to expand access to addiction treatment, according to four legislative sources. The sources spoke to NJ Advance Media on the condition of anonymity...'

The Record--Christie raises pressure in budget talks as deadline nears Facing a budget deadline without having identified support for one of his most controversial proposals in his final year in office, Gov. Chris Christie is raising the pressure on Democrats eager to see through a spending plan several hundred million dollars larger than what the Republican governor has proposed...'

Education Week--The Future of Classroom Technology: 5 Experts Weigh In Five ed-tech experts weigh in on research needs, 1-to-1 computing, and “passive” vs. “active” learning 1. Richard Culatta CEO of the International Society for Technology in Education; previously served as the chief innovation officer for the state of Rhode Island and the director of the U.S. Department of Education's office of educational technology...'

6-21-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Sweeney, NJEA Square off in Ugly Brawl About School Funding Never good friends, the Senate president and the state teachers union punch and counterpunch over $125 million school-aid plan In an ironic twist, the fate of school funding for next year may not hinge on the usual Democratic-Republican politics, but instead on what has become a nasty feud between New Jersey’s top Democrat and its dominant teachers union...'

NJ Spotlight--Supreme Court Rules OPRA Applies to Email, Other Electronic Data In strongly worded reversal of lower court decision, top court says information stored electronically by state agencies qualifies as ‘government records’ Reporters, researchers, and regular folks should have an easier time getting access to electronic data held by New Jersey public entities as a result of a Tuesday state Supreme Court decision definitively calling information stored electronically “government records.”...'

Star Ledger--Christie says Democrats not 'stupid' enough to shut down state over school funding PENNINGTON -- Gov. Chris Christie threw down the gauntlet Tuesday on school funding, saying Senate President Stephen Sweeney's warning that "we figure it out or we have a problem" is just bluster. "I don't think it will happen," said Christie. "I don't think that Democrats would be that irresponsible. Or that politically stupid to close down government in an election year."...'

6-20-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Sweeney, Prieto to Christie: School Funding First, then We’ll Do the Budget Legislative leaders want governor to agree to school-aid formula independent of budget, so Christie can’t line-item veto changes he doesn’t like in the spending plan The constitutional deadline for a new state budget is now less than two weeks away, but Democratic legislative leaders say they won’t introduce a spending bill until they sit down with Gov. Chris Christie at the negotiating table to discuss their new plan to revise the state’s school-funding formula...'

NJ Spotlight--Opinion: Sweeney-Prieto School Aid Plan Could Defuse Campaign Issue Compromise could be seen as settling the matter for at least a year, but right now it’s still up to Christie to say ‘yea’ or ‘nay’ If Gov. Chris Christie accepts the compromise plan developed by the Legislature’s Democratic leadership to revise the formula for state aid to local school districts and increase it by $125 million, it will not only remove it from the agenda for the remainder of this year but — more importantly — will seriously diminish its impact as a dominant issue in the gubernatorial campaign...'

Star Ledger--Sweeney again says state government could shut down without a deal on school funding TRENTON -- State Senate President Stephen Sweeney on Monday said he plans to meet with Gov. Chris Christie this week on the state budget -- a negotiating session that could deliver a small dose of school reform or a messy government shutdown. If Christie won't play ball on a school funding deal Democratic leaders reached last week, Sweeney said, the Senate won't pass a budget. If the state does not have a budget when the next fiscal year begins July 1, the governor could order a state shutdown...'

6-19-17 Education in the News
Star Ledger--If Christie wants fairness, he'll back this school funding fix    Editorial
The deal just struck by state Democratic leaders on school funding, which corrects some of the most outrageous inequities in our system, is a huge step in the right direction.

It addresses a serious problem: The formula the Legislature uses to fund schools is outdated, and still awards districts state aid based on what they looked like years ago, before their real estate booms or enrollment bursts.

As a result, Jersey City or Hoboken still get aid as if their real estate markets were in the dumps, while districts that have absorbed waves of new students are starved of money...'

Star Ledger--The 20 biggest losers in controversial school funding plan TRENTON — Democratic lawmakers last week unveiled a school funding proposal that would affect most New Jersey districts' state aid for the upcoming school year. The plan, billed as a potential first step to solving the state's school funding problems, has its winners, losers and plenty of school districts that wouldn't see much of a difference either way...'

Star Ledger--The 20 biggest winners in controversial school funding plan TRENTON — Democratic lawmakers this week unveiled a school funding proposal that would affect most New Jersey districts' state aid for the upcoming school year. The plan, billed as a potential first step to solving the state's school funding problems, has its winners, losers and plenty of school districts that wouldn't see much of a difference either way. Here are the Democratic plan's 20 biggest winners for the upcoming school year based on the percentage a district's state aid would change compared to Gov. Chris Christie's budget proposal...'

The Record--School funding deal could play havoc with district planning Preparations for the coming school year are well underway, with districts purchasing textbooks, hiring teachers and making other arrangements based on budgets that were finalized earlier this year. But a school funding deal announced by Democratic leaders in the Legislature this week could play havoc with some of those plans. While about 400 districts stand to gain funding from the state, roughly 120 would lose it, forcing cuts or other tough decisions to make up the difference. “No school in the state could be expected to adjust to a budget decrease at this late date,” 18 advocacy groups and unions wrote in a joint letter to Senate Democrats this week. “Cuts will hurt students.”...'

6-16-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Interactive Map: Charting the Ups and Downs of Dems’ School-Aid Plan For critics it’s not just a matter of winners and losers; NJEA dismisses strategy as ‘sick scheme’ for proposing school budget cuts so late in the day A day after Democratic leaders announced a $125 million plan for increasing overall state funding to New Jersey’s public schools next year, the leadership released details about which districts would gain and which would lose...'

Star Ledger--Democrats say millionaires tax could fix school funding after Christie's gone TRENTON -- A day after Democratic state lawmakers announced a compromise that would increase school funding by $125 million, the legislative leaders said Thursday they're now ready to present their proposal to Gov. Chris Christie. The plan would add $100 million in new K-12 funding and $25 million to expand pre-kindergarten, and most notably, reallocate $46 million in existing school funding to some of the state's neediest districts...'

Philadelphia Inquirer--Who wins, who loses in N.J.'s new school funding plan TRENTON — Secretaries and custodians who recently lost jobs in the Kingsway Regional School District may soon be hired back if lawmakers and Gov. Christie agree on a deal that would portion out extra aid to some districts around the state...'

6-15-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Sweeney, Prieto Agreement Adds $125M to School-Funding Formula Embattled Democratic leaders shake hands on a deal, but will Christie and the rest of the Legislature buy into their vision? Yesterday’s announcement of a deal among Democratic leaders to provide an additional $125 million in state aid for public education has settled at least one political battle. But the defining one will come next, whether Gov. Chris Christie and the other key players will go along. And that’s just one of the big questions facing what until recently was among the biggest uncertainties of the budget season...'

NJ Spotlight--What Do You Want to Know About How NJ Funds Its Public Schools? Use our interactive tool to let us know your questions about school funding in the Garden State Democratic leaders yesterday announced an agreement to provide an additional $125 million to New Jersey’s public schools, a breakthrough among at least the Democrats to solving the state’s school funding crisis...'

The Atlantic--Can Scientists Help End the Teacher Shortage? Technology and math professionals are leaving the laboratory to lead the classroom. Two years ago, LaTeira Haynes was working in a quiet laboratory at UC San Diego finishing up her doctorate in biomedical engineering. Now, she’s teaching a 9th-grade biology class in South Los Angeles that is so large she uses a microphone to be heard over the constant din of teenage chatter, rustling worksheets, and the zipping and unzipping of backpacks. But to her, there is no sweeter sound...'

6-14-17 Education in the News
Star Ledger--Too hot to learn? Districts feel the heat to close schools It didn't take long for Nelson Ribon to decide to give thousands of Trenton public school students a half day off Monday and Tuesday. The scorcher of a weather forecast -- which calls for high humidity and temperatures in the 90s -- convinced the acting superintendent of Trenton's public schools that it would be too steamy to learn in most of his district's schools...'

The Record—Op-Ed--Assembly fails to resolve school funding crisis As Governor Christie’s June 8th deadline came and went, the Assembly once again failed the children of our state by ignoring the most important issue before us — resolving the school funding crisis that is plaguing our taxpayers statewide. The School Funding Reform Act of 2008 is lauded as the best school funding design in the nation, but the Legislature failed to remove the adjustment aid and growth caps as originally intended. I am dismayed that Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto failed to consider testimony after testimony heard at each education committee held throughout New Jersey...'

NY Times--Preparing ‘Emerging Adults’ for College and Beyond Some academic and “adulting” skills may seem oddly fundamental, but students who lack them can develop strategies for coping with possible challenges. Credit Nathan Weber for The New York Times Rachel Ginsberg is a clinical psychologist at the NewYork-Presbyterian Youth Anxiety Center, a research and clinical program that brings together experts from NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, Columbia University Medical Center and Weill Cornell Medicine. She is part of its Launching Emerging Adults Program aimed at teenagers and young adults...'

The Atlantic--Are Virtual Schools the Future? Despite evidence of negative student-learning outcomes, Betsy DeVos appears to think so. When Betsy DeVos returned to the advocacy group she used to lead last month, she told attendees to push for systems where students could attend any kind of school. Traditional, charter, religious, and virtual schools should be options for students, the education secretary argued, as should “an educational setting yet to be developed.”...'

Education Week--Data Dive: Devices and Software Flooding Into Classrooms More access hasn’t meant better use Public schools have more classroom technology and faster internet connections than ever before, and teachers and students alike report using the digital tools at their disposal more frequently than in years past.

But a new analysis of the National Assessment of Educational Progress survey data by the Education Week Research Center highlights two troubling trends:...'

6-13-17 Education in the News
Star Ledger--Here's how N.J. ranks in the U.S. on quality of life for kids New Jersey this year ranks eighth in the nation for the quality of life it affords its children, buoyed by its competitive academic achievements and wide access to health care but disadvantaged by the number of families that remain mired in poverty. New Jersey slipped from seventh place last year in the Annie E. Casey Foundation's annual Kids Count report released on Tuesday. The drop is likely due to the Garden State coming in 26th for economic well-being, falling from 20th place in last year's report...'

Star Ledger--Unacceptable! Poor N.J. schools close because of heat wave    Opinion
Thermometers are rising and more than 20,000 students in public schools in Plainfield, Trenton, and other districts throughout the state are being sent home early over the next two days. With the pressure of finals in the air, many students and school employees also have to contend with rising classrooms temperatures...'

NPR-- DeVos Says More Money Won't Help Schools; Research Says Otherwise Education Secretary Betsy DeVos made it clear, appearing before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee Tuesday, that she sees no connection between school funding and school performance. As evidence, she criticized the Obama Administration's $7 billion grant program to improve struggling schools, an effort that yielded no significant impacts in test scores or graduation rates...'

Education Week--Should Schools Test the 'Career' Half of 'College and Career'? The time is ripe to build better vocational assessments for schools, experts say As states move to adopt college- and career-ready accountability systems under the Every Student Succeeds Act, many educators and researchers argue that assessments will not be able to adequately measure the "career" part of that equation...'

6-12-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Should NJ Deliver In-Depth Analysis of the Affordability of Its Debt? A comprehensive debt-affordability analysis can be used as a tool to weigh future bond issues and the costs of servicing that debt Every year the state government produces a lengthy summary of just how much money New Jersey owes its bondholders. But a new report on the issue of government borrowing suggests New Jersey should consider going a step further by adding an in-depth analysis of the affordability of its debt...'

Star Ledger--5 of N.J.'s toughest teaching jobs, a look inside the classroom They are high school students who dream of attending an elite college, kindergartners learning to read and middle school students with disabilities just trying their best to master telling time. And they are all relying on someone to guide them there: Their teacher...'

Associated Press _(via Philadelphia Inquirer)--Christie misses school aid deadline, but talks continue TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has missed a self-imposed deadline for reworking how the state funds education, but he says talks with leaders toward a solution are continuing...'

NY Times--To Understand Betsy DeVos’s Educational Views, View Her Education HOLLAND, Mich. — The students formed a circle around the Rev. Ray Vanderlaan, who draped himself in a Jewish ceremonial prayer shawl to cap his final lesson to graduating seniors in his discipleship seminar at Holland Christian High School. “We’re sending you out into a broken world, in part because of my generation,” the minister told the students. Referring to God, he exhorted them to “extend his kingdom.” Mr. Vanderlaan could not have missed his lesson’s echoes of Holland Christian’s most famous graduate, Betsy DeVos,...'

Education Week--Legislative Measures Seek to Protect Student Press When 17-year-old Robbie Maher stood in front of the Vermont House judiciary committee this spring to make his case for student-press freedoms, he credited his high school journalism adviser for his ability to report on issues that matter. "It all starts at the top with the Mercury [student newspaper] adviser, Peter Riegelman," said Robbie, a student at Bellows Free Academy in St. Albans, Vt. "Mr. Riegelman ... learned the ins and outs, do's and don'ts, of journalism. As our adviser, he has passed this knowledge down to each and every BFA journalism student." The bill Robbie was testifying for grants free-speech and free-press protections for student journalists at public K-12 schools and state colleges and universities...'

6-9-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Explainer: Decoding NJ’s Budget Babble — a Dictionary of Useful Terms Just in time for budget season, a cornucopia of helpful explanations and abstruse interpretations, from Appropriations Act to zero-based budgeting Given the exciting gubernatorial election and the bizarre reality show now unfolding in Washington, you may not have noticed that New Jersey’s budget process is once again shuffling toward its yearly anticlimax...'

Star Ledger--As 100-day deadline nears, is Christie close to a school funding deal? Stay tuned, N.J. TRENTON -- Gov. Chris Christie's 100-day challenge to reform New Jersey's school funding ends when the clock strikes midnight Friday morning, but the governor isn't ready to concede that he won't soon strike a deal with the Democrats who control the state Legislature...'

NY Times--The Secret Social Media Lives of Teenagers Earlier this week, Harvard University revealed that it had rescinded admissions offers to at least 10 students who shared offensive images within what they thought was a private Facebook group chat. The students posted memes and images that mocked minority groups, child abuse, sexual assault and the Holocaust, among other things. It is easy for parents to be left wondering, “What were they thinking?”...'

PBS-- DeVos is Questioned About Campaign to Influence Climate Change Education Four Democratic senators are sharply criticizing a conservative think tank’s efforts to bring climate change skepticism into the nation’s public schools as “industry funded” and “possibly fraudulent” and demanding to know whether federal education officials have been in contact with the group...'

6-8-18 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--State Board Poised to End Control of Jersey City Schools, Newark May Follow But which state board will make the call? The makeup of the panel is still in flux, and its president and vice president could be ushered out the door The state Board of Education has seen no shortage of political drama these past few months — and still faces some weighty policy decisions. Both were on display yesterday...'

Star Ledger--N.J. targets nepotism, high salaries at schools for the disabled TRENTON -- New Jersey is clamping down on private schools that serve disabled students four years after a Star-Ledger investigation revealed numerous cases of nepotism and questionable spending paid for by taxpayers...'

The Record-- NJSIAA has received no guidance on transfer rule ROBBINSVILLE – New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Projects Manager Mike Zapicchi said the organization has received no guidance from the Commissioner of Education’s office on a new transfer rule. “It’s unfortunate,” said Zapicchi, after the NJSIAA’s executive committee meeting Wednesday. “Two hundred eighty thousand student athletes and they don’t deserve an answer? Any answer? We even asked for a simple one sentence line to say that the Commissioner’s veto stands. Nothing.”...'

Education Week--States' Special Education Work Offers a Jump on ESSA's Demands Efforts already underway focus on student growth Well before the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act—which came with a requirement for states to create ambitious blueprints to improve student performance—special education officials were already doing similar work...'

6-7-17 Education in the News
Associated Press (via Philadelphia Inquirer)--DeVos non-committal on private school LGBT discrimination WASHINGTON (AP) - Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said Tuesday that schools receiving federal money should follow federal law, but she would not commit to banning discrimination against LGBT students in private schools. The Trump administration's budget proposal significantly cuts funding for teacher training and after-school programs and student financial aid, while boosting funding for charter schools and vouchers that parents can use to send children to private schools. Critics fear that private religious schools may discriminate against students based on sexual orientation, gender identity, religion or disability...'

The Atlantic--The Downside to Career and Technical Education A new study shows that students who complete the programs have better short-term employment outcomes but struggle to pivot as industries evolve. Quick: What’s one education topic that Betsy DeVos, Randi Weingarten, Donald Trump, and Al Franken all support? It’s actually career and technical education—something they’ve all said America’s schools need in order to better prepare graduates for the economy. President Trump even praised Germany’s approach to vocational education recently...'

Education Week--Senators Hammer at DeVos on Planned Budget Cuts, Proposed Vouchers Senators had a clear message for U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos in a budget hearing here Wednesday: Don't get too attached to your budget proposal. Republican and Democratic senators on the Senate education appropriations subcommittee expressed skepticism about cuts and eliminated programs in the budget proposal for the U.S. Department of Education. And Democrats sparred with DeVos over how the spending blueprint for fiscal 2018 handles Title I spending on disadvantaged students, and how a voucher proposal would handle issues of discrimination...'

6-6-17 Education in the News
NY Times--The Silicon Valley Billionaires Remaking America’s Schools In San Francisco’s public schools, Marc Benioff, the chief executive of Salesforce, is giving middle school principals $100,000 “innovation grants” and encouraging them to behave more like start-up founders and less like bureaucrats. In Maryland, Texas, Virginia and other states, Netflix’s chief, Reed Hastings, is championing a popular math-teaching program where Netflix-like algorithms determine which lessons students see...'

Washington Post-- Why should the federal government support high-quality early education? Every year the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, releases a report on state-funded prekindergarten programs in the United States. It is the only national report with detailed information on preschool enrollment, funding, teacher qualifications and other policies related to quality, such as the presence of a qualified teacher and assistant, small class size and low teacher-to-student ratio...'

Associated Press (via Press of Atlantic City)--Lawmakers tout plan to ensure safe drinking water in schools HACKENSACK, N.J. (AP) — Two federal lawmakers from New Jersey are touting legislation that would help schools test water for lead and replace outdated water infrastructure. Sen. Cory Booker and Rep. Josh Gottheimer were at Hackensack High School on Monday to discuss the proposed "Get the Lead Out of Schools Act."...'

Education Week--States Struggle to Define 'Ineffective Teachers' Under ESSA Teacher evaluations—both their role and the mechanics of carrying them out—are a politically fraught subject, and the Every Student Succeeds Act has kicked the dust up once again as states wrestle with how to comply with teacher-quality sections of the new law. ESSA, which goes into effect this fall, does away with the "highly qualified teacher" mandates under its predecessor, the No Child Left Behind Act. It also bans the U.S. secretary of education from dictating the ways in which states grade their teachers, a sore spot under the NCLB law...'

6-5-17 Education in the News
Star Ledger--Candidates promise school funding reforms These days almost everyone agrees that the way New Jersey doles out aid to its public schools is unfair. There is less agreement on what that means or how to fix it...'

Philadelphia Inquirer--Students use cellphones in school to text, bully, plan fights, and sometimes learn Once banned by most school districts, cellphones now are as much a part of the class day for many students as No. 2 lead pencils were for their parents. Teachers put them to use as metronomes in music classes, for instance, and give quizzes through a popular app called Kahoot! Parents text their kids to ask when they’ll be home or remind them to walk the dog when they get there...'

Thirty-five states have policies engineered toward sending extra dollars to needy districts. But not all are successful. Districts serving many low-income children in New Jersey receive nearly $5,000 more per pupil from the state government than districts with a fewer poor students. If that same district was located in Montana, it would only receive an extra $18 per student from the state...'

6-2-17 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Public Education and the Candidates: Putting the Issues in Perspective The hot topics are no secret — funding, PARCC testing, and charter schools — but teasing out where the candidates stand is the real test This story is part of a regular series exploring where the candidates stand on major issues and assessing key considerations in this year’s elections. Follow these links for a look at where the gubernatorial candidates stand on undocumented immigrants and legalizing marijuana; the hottest district races; an overview of the legislative landscape; the candidates’ plans to ease New Jersey’s fiscal crisis; why the Democrats favor single-payer healthcare; and the reasons the Republicans are cool on the ACA replacement bill. Public education has already played a big role in the race to be New Jersey’s next governor — maybe as much as in any gubernatorial election in recent memory...'

Washington Post--The long game of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos Education Secretary Betsy DeVos speaks at the ASU GSV Summit at the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City on May 9. (Leah Hogsten/Salt Lake Tribune via AP) Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has been pushing the expansion of school choice — alternatives to traditional public schools — for decades. You could say she has been playing a long game. DeVos, a Michigan billionaire who has publicly called traditional public education a “dead end,” says all parents should have educational choices for their children. Her critics argue that she has been trying to privatize public education, with her advocacy efforts having begun in Michigan and then moving to other states...'

Education Week-- In Race for Test-Takers, ACT Outscores SAT—for Now But both organizations are making a strong play for statewide test markets The University of Pennsylvania reached a milestone of sorts with its fall entering class: For the first time, more students had taken the ACT than the SAT. The changeover at the Ivy League university in Philadelphia reflects a more general shift taking place in the college-entrance-exam marketplace...'

6-1-17 Education in the News
Star Ledger--N.J.'s raging school funding debate: What your next governor would do Gov. Chris Christie once took a hard line when it comes to the way the state funds its public schools: Spend the same amount — $6,599 — per pupil in every district. He promised it would lower property taxes, but opponents say it would decimate urban schools that lean on the state for support. His proposal, dubbed the "fairness formula," was considered dead on arrival by the state's Democratic-controlled Legislature, which is now squabbling over a new plan...'

Washington Post--It’s hard to overstate how much critics hate Florida’s ‘scam’ education bill. Will the governor veto it? It’s being called legislation by “scam” — and that’s not the worst critique of the new education bill that the Republican-dominated Florida legislature has now approved. Will Republican Gov. Rick Scott veto it, as school superintendents, school boards, public school advocates and even some Republicans are advocating? The legislation, known as House Bill 7069, was passed by both the Florida House and Senate at the end of their legislative sessions without time for serious consideration or debate, but rather this way, as a piece in the Orlando Sentinel explains:...'

The Atlantic--How School Choice Affects Test Scores Recent studies show vouchers fail to improve some student outcomes, but that hasn’t deterred advocates of the approach. At last week’s gathering of school-choice supporters, there was an awkward fact in their midst: A wave of new studies had shown that students receiving a voucher did worse, sometimes much worse, on standardized tests...'

Education Week--Is Your Child Showing Grit? School Report Cards Rate Students' Soft Skills Where report cards may have once had a handwritten teacher's note saying a student "plays well with others," parents in some districts are now more likely to see a box that shows whether their child performs at grade level in such areas as "relationship skills." Schools are increasingly rating students on a variety of social competencies and "learning skills" alongside their traditional grades in academic subjects...'

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The Special Education Task Force Report was released  in November 2015. GSCS, a Task Force member,  is looking forward to discussion on this important topic.  See below for links to the report.