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Garden State Coalition of Schools
Elisabeth Ginsburg, Executive Director
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The Buzz

4-19-19 Education in the News
CBS News--How Columbine forever changed the way we respond to active shooters The moment school protective officer Michael Ortega receives a call is the moment he starts planning what he's going to do next. "And the situation like this where it's an active shooter, I could be going in alone," Ortega said. "That's the whole purpose of an active shooter situation is to get there and stop the threat."...'

Chalkbeat--Charter networks KIPP and IDEA win big federal grants to fund ambitious growth plans Two prominent charter school networks, KIPP and IDEA, netted huge grants from the federal government to fuel their expansion...'

Education Week--Mismatch Seen Between New Science Tests and State Requirements Questions may be unfamiliar to some...'

NPR--Twenty Years Later, A Look At Columbine, Then And Now The nation was shocked on April 20, 1999, when 12 students and one teacher were killed in a mass shooting at Columbine High School outside of Denver, Colorado. In the 20 years since, through other prominent school shootings from Sandy Hook to Parkland and an ongoing rise in U.S. shooting deaths, Columbine has loomed large in our politics, policy, and culture...'

4-18-19 Education in the News
Star Ledger--Our school plan will lower taxes and make every child count, Republican legislator says For far too long, children and taxpayers around New Jersey have been the victims of an unfair school funding formula that punishes kids, simply because they live in the wrong zip code. This has to end. I believe that every child deserves the same opportunity to get a great education, regardless of where they live...'

Star Ledger--Religion may no longer be a reason children avoid vaccines if this law changes With 13 reported measles cases in the state and a massive outbreak in New York, two New Jersey state senators say they support eliminating the loophole that allows thousands of parents to cite their religious beliefs as the reason they won’t vaccinate their children...'

Education Week--Does Moving to a Brand New School Building Improve Student Learning? When it comes to student learning, school facilities matter, according to the authors of an ambitious working paper from the California Policy Lab at UCLA and UC Berkley, recently presented at the Association for Education Finance and Policy conference...'

The Atlantic--Why Are So Many Teen Athletes Struggling With Depression? When high-school sports replicate the training methods and intensity seen at the college level, players feel the toll...'

4-17-19 Education in the News
South Jersey Times--Time for action on embattled N.J. schools agency    Editorial
Now, an update — and not a particularly encouraging one — about New Jersey’s embattled Schools Development Authority, whose most recent travails include allegations of multiple patronage hiring by its latest executive director...'

Chalkbeat--What my students learned — and didn’t learn — from my efforts to teach empathy in language arts class...'

The Atlantic--The Children of the Children of Columbine Twenty years after the shooting at Columbine High School, some survivors—now parents themselves—are figuring out how to talk to their kids about lockdown drills...'

4-16-18 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Murphy, Sweeney in Accord, More Money Should Go to Expanded Pre-K Governor’s proposal would add another $68 million to the current allocation of $738 million all told...'

NJ Spotlight--Op-Ed: Community Schools Could Become Hubs for Delivering Resources Schools could be made a focal point for getting critical resources, including social services, to students and their families...'

Education Week--More Education Studies Look at Cost-Effectiveness What's more important to a superintendent: a math program shown to give a bigger boost to students' math skills in the next two years or one that gives a smaller improvement but fits the district's budget for five years? Questions like that have become steadily more common as school leaders grapple with years of shrinking budgets...'

The Hechinger Report--Beyond basic reading, kids can learn how to think like a good reader Making these thinking strategies explicit has helped close achievement gaps between English learners and their peers...'

4-15-19 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Explainer: How the SDA Was Built — and Became Scandal-Ridden New Jersey’s Schools Development Authority is mired in controversy over its CEO’s hirings and firings. But the SDA has a history of troubling activities...'

NJ Spotlight--The List: NJ Schools that ‘Underachieve’ in Serving Free Breakfast to Students The top 10 high-poverty schools in New Jersey that serve breakfast to fewer than 20 percent of eligible schoolgoers...'

NJ Spotlight--Op-Ed: NJ Should Seize Opportunity to Step Away from Graduation Tests A recent court ruling gives the state a chance to move toward ‘better forms of assessment, quality and fairness’...'

Star Ledger--The top 50 elementary and middle schools in N.J.'s state ratings How can you compare the performance of elementary and middle schools schools with vastly different resources, serving completely different populations?...'

Star Ledger--Murphy must own the SDA fiasco    Editorial
Currently, there is an internal inquiry of the hiring practices and payroll management at the Schools Development Authority, the agency still tasked with upgrading schools in our poorest communities despite its legacy of Jersey-caliber depravity...'

NY Times--Cursive Seemed to Go the Way of Quills and Parchment. Now It’s Coming Back. Nearly two dozen states have reintroduced cursive instruction since 2010, when the Common Core standards dropped a requirement that it be taught in elementary schools...'

Chalkbeat--Are teachers unions helping or hurting schools? Here’s what the newest research tells us Two new studies paint a divergent picture of whether teachers unions contribute to better schools...'

Politics K-12 (Education Week)--School Integration Champions Say Broad Support on Capitol Hill Is Possible Can advocates for school integration leverage local control as a winning argument in Congress? The answer to that over the long term could be key to some Democrats' biggest, and perhaps one of their most aspirational, policy goals in Washington...'

4-12-19 Education in the News
The Record—State Lawmakers Asked to Review Charter Schools Advocacy groups want a joint legislative committee to examine the use of public money to finance privately-owned charter school buildings...'

NJ Spotlight--Many Questions and Few Answers in Education Budget Hearing Education commissioner admits state is little closer to solving testing problems, finding increased aid for hardest-hit districts When state Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet came before the Assembly budget committee this week, legislators were clearly a little antsy....'

Hechinger Report--OPINION: Numbers evoke joy and wonder, why doesn’t math class? Let's end the myth that only some people are good at math What happens to students after they take math in high school or college?...'

4-11-19 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Budget Committee Grills SDA Head on Spending — and Hiring and Firing Embattled executive director of Schools Development Authority defers answering most questions, saying situation is under review by counsel...'

NJ Spotlight--NYC’s New Policy on Measles Vaccine Prompts Renewed Focus in NJ There have been far fewer cases of the highly contagious respiratory disease in Garden State; health officials here continue to promote vaccinations...'

Star Ledger--College admission scandal defined by all the ‘What ifs”    Opinion
There are many lessons to be learned from the world of lies and deceit of the celebrity college admission scandal, which federal investigators named the “Varsity Blues” case. Please allow us to offer a different perspective...'

Education Week--How Schools Are Responding to Migrant Children Tens of thousands of child migrants from Central America are in public schools. Many educators are working to support them, but the intensity of their needs can be a strain...'

Politics K-12 (Education Week)--DeVos Defends School Choice as Democrats Demand Answers on Arming Teachers House Democrats who focus on education peppered U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos with questions about her vision for school choice, arming teachers, and federal education law during a lengthy, often confrontational hearing here Wednesday...'

The Atlantic--College-Admissions Hysteria Is Not the Norm A focus on highly selective schools obscures the experience of the vast majority of American undergraduates...'

4-10-19 Education in the News
Star Ledger--Most of us don’t have a say in how our school taxes are spent. These 2 districts are changing that. Seven years after New Jersey adopted a law allowing school district elections in November, voters in two municipalities are going back in time...'

Chalkbeat--Feeling ‘cheated’ by her own schooling, this award-winning N.J. math teacher tried to become the teacher she never had When Carolyn Garcia tells her students at Abington Avenue School in Newark that they have what it takes to succeed, she is speaking from experience...'

Hechinger Report--OPINION: How to shatter the education system’s glass ceiling New report outlines 3 steps to help women become top school leaders In schools, we tell all children that they can be anything they want. It’s a striking irony that the leaders of our school systems — district superintendents and state chiefs — overwhelmingly are white men...'

4-9-19 Education in the News
Star Ledger: Op-Ed--A teacher says they should engender trust, not fear from their students Here is a simple proposition: Use teachers who connect with students and create trusting relationships with them, and students will learn...'

Star Ledger—Op-Ed--Dump N.J.'s school superintendent pay cap now, rabbi says. It’s not saving us any money. New Jersey's superintendent pay cap has been a failure, says Clifford Kulwin. Repeal it is not about an increase in state expenditures or an increase in local property taxes. All it does is return to each local board of education the right to decide how to allocate its own resources...'

Star Ledger--Technology answers call for phone-free school zones    Opinion
When it comes to the topic of how to improve education, many discussions center on such issues as whether or not to have standardized tests, the frequency of such testing, and overall standards. These discussions are certainly important, but they mostly focus on the results as opposed to the process of how you get there...'

Politics K-12 (Education Week)--Betsy DeVos: 'Teaching Has Gotten a Bad Beating Over the Years' A year after lambasting states' plans to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos struck a much gentler tone in speaking to state chiefs Monday...'

4-8-19 Education in the News
Star Ledger--It's Autism Awareness Month 2019. Here's a list of events to raise money, get involved in N.J...' Associated Press (via)Star Ledger--Should the SAT be optional? Bribery scandal renews debate BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — The most brazen abuses of standardized testing in the college bribery scandal could be chalked up to security lapses: the ringer hired to take the SAT, the proctors paid to look the other way, the accommodations for extra time obtained through false diagnoses of disabilities...'

The Record—Editorial: Clean up the SDA, Strengthen Its Core Mission As we learn more about the almost comical ways in which the Schools Development Authority is being run, it is important to know what is at stake here...'

The Record—Sources: Attorney General Probing Schools Authority The Attorney General’s office is reportedly investigating hiring practices and recent allegations of employee file tampering at the agency...'

Asbury Park Press—Businesses Filling Opportunity Gaps Don’t Know Where to Turn New Jersey businesses are trying to provide students with skills they need to compete in the economy, but they can run into obstacles...'

New York Times--Is the U.S. a Democracy? A Social Studies Battle Turns on the Nation’s Values Michigan spent five years debating how to teach American history. One of the biggest questions was how to describe the nation’s government...'

Politics K-12 (Education Week)--Last Time DeVos Addressed State Chiefs, It Got Awkward. Here's What to Expect Now U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos will be doing a "fireside chat" at the Council of Chief State School Officers Monday. She'll be interviewed by Molly Spearman, the elected GOP state chief in South Carolina. She's spent most of her time in office pushing for something state leaders love—local control—and chiefs are historically a polite audience. But it might not be a super comfortable venue for her this time. Here's why:...'

4-5-19 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Controversy Continues over NJ Schools Development Authority Amid storm over CEO Lizette Delgado-Polanco’s hirings and firings, a show of support for embattled leader of the SDA...'

NJ Spotlight--Health Officials Urge More Teens to Have HPV Shots as NJ Lags National Rate But some parents think the vaccinations may encourage kids to have sex, doctor says...'

Star Ledger—Guide to the New Jersey Schools Authority Scandal A lot has been written about the Schools Development Authority. This explains all that’s gone on the last several weeks...'

Education Week--Brain Science Backs Up Role of 'Mindset' in Motivating Students for Math A challenging math problem can make some students break into a cold sweat and others excited to wrap their brains around a puzzle. A wealth of research suggests that a student's academic "mindset"—whether she believes math skill is an inborn, fixed trait or that it can be grown through practice—can make the difference in how she engages with the subject...'

4-4-19 Education in the News
CBS News--Indiana school district turns unused cafeteria food into take-home meals for kids in need Students in Indiana's Elkhart School District are served breakfast and lunch at school, but may go hungry on nights and weekends. So, the school joined forces with an innovative nonprofit to ensures kids in need have enough to eat...'

NJ Spotlight--Political Firestorm Continues to Rage Over SDA Hirings and Firings Embattled CEO of Schools Development Authority deals with continued charges of patronage, favoritism...'

Star Ledger--Mercury-leaking gym floors are ‘a state problem,’ engineer says. Not just one town. A near capacity crowd squeezed into a special meeting of the Washington Township school board Wednesday, many looking for answers for what will be done about toxic mercury vapors detected in eight of the township’s 11 schools...'

The Record--SDA Workers Lack Basic Requirements for Jobs The New Jersey Schools Development Authority has said that new employees are highly qualified. But an analysis shows that a quarter of them lack job requirements...'

Asbury Park Press--Suburban School Districts Pummeled by New Jersey; Higher Taxes and Layoffs Likely Some of New Jersey’s largest regional school districts across the state are preparing to slash jobs and trim spending on books and programs...'

Education Week--Is There a Mismatch Between Career-Tech Ed and Good Jobs? Career technical education has been celebrated as a way to funnel young people into good jobs without the debt of a bachelor's degree. But a new study finds that it's not doing well enough at matching students with the jobs that pay well and are most plentiful...'

Politics K-12 (Education Week) Here's Where the Every Student Succeeds Act Stands The Every Student Succeeds Act turned three years old in December, but only recently have many districts and schools begun to experience the law's impact...'

The Atlantic--I Used to Preach the Gospel of Education Reform. Then I Became the Mayor. Policy makers need to question their assumptions about what makes a good school. During my first campaign to be Chicago’s mayor, in 2011, I promised to put education reform at the forefront of my agenda. Having participated in Washington policy debates for the better part of two decades, I felt confident that I knew what to do. Then, as now, education reformers preached a certain gospel:...'

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...'

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...'

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...'

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...'

4-2-19 Education in the News
Star Ledger--N.J. school making kids turn off their phones all day, lock them up in pricey pouches There’s no Snapchatting, texting or checking Instagram during classes at Maxson Middle School in Plainfield. That’s because students at the Union County school this week started locking their phones in neoprene pouches from the first to the last bell in a school-wide program initiated by their principal, Kevin Stansbury...'

Hechinger Report--Test prep to get into vocational education? Yup, it’s a thing New Jersey’s county-run career and technical high schools are helping to revive vocational education — but critics say some cherry-pick the best and the brightest..'

Chalkbeat--The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative has made over $100 million in education grants since 2018, new disclosure shows The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative has issued $110 million in grants to education causes since January 2018, according to new details posted to the organization’s website...'

Hechinger Report--OPINION: We must close college counseling’s equity gap Four topics of concern about advising and inequity in the wake of 'Operation Varsity Blues' Ask people of color if they are surprised by the alleged college admissions bribery case in the news, and they will likely laugh out loud. For years, the refrain has been that rich white students can buy their ways into the college of their choice — and, given the recent scandal, it looks like the chorus was right...'

4-1-19 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Murphy Pledges ‘More of the Same,’ a Focus on Schools, Transit, Finances In a sit-down with NJ Spotlight, the governor lists his first-year achievements and challenges, and the big issues the state must tackle...'

NJ Spotlight--Sweeney Proposes Switching Teachers to Cheaper Healthcare Plans Senate President maintains there would be savings for workers and for government...'

Chalkbeat (via Star Ledger)--Charter schools get a quarter of city’s school budget, so it’s asking taxpayers for $2.7M more Newark’s new schools chief has big plans for the district’s $1 billion budget — but he needs your support...'

Star Ledger—Op-Ed-We need to engage more kids in STEM, especially those without wealthy parents, education advocates say March in New Jersey is STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) Month, a time to celebrate progress in both our history and our ongoing work to foster our “Innovation Economy.” The reason to celebrate is clear: the Bloomberg U.S. Innovation Index consistently ranks New Jersey in its top five, and for good reason...'

The Record—Experts React to Our Investigation of Charter Schools Education experts and teachers’ unions weighed in on social media when we published our investigation of New Jersey charter schools. Here’s what they said...'

Politics K12 (Education Week)--Education Advocates to SCOTUS: Leave Citizenship Out of Census Next month, the Supreme Court will hear a case determining whether it's okay for the Trump administration's Census Bureau to include a question about citizenship on the Census 2020 form. The message to SCOTUS from a group of education advocacy organizations: Don't let it happen...'

The Hechinger Report--How gaps in content knowledge hold students back The Knowledge Map project helps districts identify content gaps and close them In Baltimore City Public Schools, where about 80 percent of students are black, educators have long tried to incorporate African-American culture into their teaching. In a recent review of the curriculum, however, district leaders discovered that while students spent a lot of time reading about the African-American experience, they read too few high-quality texts, and the majority of the content is focused on things like police brutality, oppression and slavery. “We never had the opportunity to celebrate the rich culture,” said Janise Lane, executive director of teaching and learning at Baltimore City Public Schools...'

3-29-19 Education in the News
NJ Spotlight--Opinion: Our Fiscal House is Fragile — on Two Counts New Jersey doesn’t need just short-term financial fixes; it needs a long-term strategy of reform...'

The Record--How NJ Can Fix Broken Financing for Charter Schools Advocates and critics offered an array of ideas for the ways that New Jersey charter schools acquire and finance buildings...'

Philadelphia Inquirer--Suicidal thoughts and other mental-health problems drive more youth to emergency rooms The number of children and young adults visiting the emergency department for psychiatric concerns rose 28 percent over a four-year period,...'

The Atlantic--Lasting Grief After a Mass Shooting Suicides among people affected by shootings are, unfortunately, a familiar phenomenon—and support for survivors often misunderstands the nature of their grief...'

The Hechinger Report--How to unlock students’ internal drive for learning Intrinsic motivators can be key to student achievement – but extrinsic motivation dominates classrooms...'

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


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