Technology Earns High Marks In Opening Round Of Online Testing

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While itself remains controversial, state officials report new computer platforms had high rate of success

As controversial as the new PARCC tests continue to be, the technology behind the state’s new online exams passed its own test this spring.

A total of 98 percent of the students who took the tests – more than 800,000 in all – successfully completed the first round of tests using new computer platforms that essentially had never before been used for that purpose, state officials reported this week.

It was the highest success rate, in terms of using computer platforms, among the dozen states administering the PARCC exams, they said.

“It distinguishes New Jersey among a host of states (taking the PARCC), and brings us into a next generation of assessment,” state Education Commissioner David Hespe said in an interview Wednesday.… Read the rest

Court Can’t Force Christie To Recommend Larger N.J. Pension Payment, State Attorney Argues

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TRENTON — Lawyers for the state argued in a brief filed Thursday that the court can not dictate how large a pension contribution Gov. recommends in his state budget proposal.

Responding to a lawsuit filed by public employee unions over a $1.3 billion pension payment included in the budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, the state said ’s $33.8 billion spending plan was merely a first draft for the Legislature to consider, amend and ultimately adopt.

Christie’s recommendation is less than half of what is required under a 2011 law, and the unions contend Christie has breached their contractual right to a $3.07 billion pension payment in the next fiscal year.

The unions had also asked the courts to intervene in the current budget year, and Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson decided in February that workers were entitled to the full payment that Christie slashed to balance the budget.… Read the rest

15 Percent Of 11th-Graders Refused To Take First Round Of PARCC Tests In March

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Opt-out rate was as low as 3 percent statewide in state’s elementary schools

A precise count of the number of New Jersey students who refused to take the new exam last month remains an elusive target.

But state now says the “opt-out” rate ranged from 3 percent in the elementary schools to 15 percent among students in their junior year of high school, according to memos sent to school districts yesterday by the administration.

State officials said they wanted to give school officials additional information for when they talk to families about the controversial standardized tests.

And they said they view the percentages as a positive sign, given the intense debate over the that has gripped the education establishment for several months.

“Our goal is to have these numbers much smaller,” said state Education Commissioner David Hespe in an interview.

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Christie Argues About Pensions With Teacher’s Husband At Bergen County Town Hall

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HASBROUCK HEIGHTS — Dozens of teachers wearing bright red shirts and carrying picket signs gathered outside Gov. Chris Christie’s town hall forum in Bergen County on Thursday to protest the governor’s handling of New Jersey’s troubled public-worker pension system.

Inside, the topic was the same: The state’s pension problems — and ’s latest plan to fix them — dominated more than half of the governor’s 135th town hall, held at a crowded VFW hall in Hasbrouck Heights.

The Republican governor, a potential presidential contender, even spent 16 of the event’s 90 minutes holding a surprisingly cordial argument over the issue with the husband of a kindergarten teacher.

New Jersey’s pension system has been underfunded for more than a decade. And though Christie’s latest state budget proposal includes a $1.3 billion payment into the system — nearly two times the current fiscal year’s contribution — it’s still far below what the governor agreed to under a 2011 pension overhaul he signed into law.… Read the rest

Student Entrepreneurs Enroute To Made In Monmouth

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Jets Vied For Start Up Capital

Junior Entrepreneur Training [JET] members are readying for their first business venture at Saturday’s Made in Monmouth Expo at Monmouth University.

The group’s 17 middle school-aged students, who were divided into two groups, will sell their handmade chocolate covered treats and fashion forward tees during the 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. annual vendor event.

And while their road to success was launched in November, they’ve spent the past 12-weeks brainstorming, creating business plans and product their offerings.

Last week the groups vied for funding in a “Shark Tank” like competition, hosted by Interfaith Neighbors, at the Senior Citizen’s Center on Springwood Avenue.

The judges included Councilwoman Yvonne Clayton; Asbury Festhalle & Biergarten co-owner Jennifer Lampert; New Life Barber Shop and Salon owner Isaac Jones; Interfaith Neighbors associate director Paul McEvily; and former mayor and Mr.… Read the rest

Number 9…


Today is the 9 year anniversary of the Asbury Park Education Association website. Over the past 9 years we have used this website and the association’s mailing list to keep membership informed of the pressing issues of our day. We will continue to use this website as a way to promote the association as well as bring information to our membership. As we look forward, here’s to 9 more years!

No tags for this post.… Read the rest

Making Full Pension Payment Would Have ‘Incredible’ Impact On N.J. Residents, Treasurer Says

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TRENTON — Gov. ’s treasurer said Monday that the administration has reached out to lawmakers to comply with a judge’s orders to work together to restore a $1.6 billion to this year’s pension payment, but stressed that actually doing that would mean lots of budget pain for New Jersey residents.

A state Superior Court judge ruled last month that the administration and legislators must work together to come up with the cash, which slashed last year to balance the budget.

Christie plans to appeal the ruling, and Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff said they’re “quite confident” in their legal position that the state can’t be forced to make the payment. Labor unions, meanwhile, have argued the governor broke a contract requiring him to ramp up payments into the public worker pension system.

The treasurer’s office contacted lawmakers to “indicate our willingness” to review the state’s resources and unspent balances.… Read the rest

K-12 Aid Down In N.J. Despite Christie Promise Of ‘Historic’ Funding

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Gov. has touted a budget proposal that promises a fifth straight year of historic education funding for New Jersey. But an NJ Advance Media analysis of 10 years of state spending data shows that K-12 funding for school districts has actually dropped in the last decade when adjusted for inflation.

That aid, which can be used by districts in the classroom, is still recovering from major cuts in ’s first budget. With inflation factored in, K-12 funding in ’s 2015-16 budget proposal is more than $350 million lower than it was in 2005-06, according to the analysis.

“There is no question that in real dollars New Jersey school districts are receiving less support for public education,” said John Donahue, executive director of the New Jersey Association of School Business Officials.

Christie isn’t wrong to say education funding has increased under his tenure, but this says little about where that money is going.… Read the rest