January 23, 2015

Frustrated by PARCC? Tired of over-testing?

The following is an article from, here is a link to the article:

It’s time to do something about it!

Colleen Daly Martinez

Colleen Daly Martinez of Montclair speaks to a reporter following her testimony at the January State Board of Education meeting.

The Study Commission on the Use of Student Assessments in New Jersey just announced it will be holding three public testimony sessions next week.

They’ve heard plenty from the usual group of education policy wonks. Now it’s time for them to hear from the people who really know what’s happening in classrooms across New Jersey.

This is your chance, but time is short!

To testify you must pre-register online at or call 609-984-6024. Please bring 10 copies of your testimony so it can be shared with all Study Commission members.

If none of the scheduled sessions are convenient for you, please write the commission to request that they schedule additional hearings at more convenient times and locations.… Read the rest

January 16, 2015

State Contends In Court That Christie’s 2011 Pension Reform Is Unconstitutional

The following is an article from, here is a link to the article:

Lawyers enter ironic argument while asking judge to dismiss union lawsuit that state must fully fund public employee retirement funds

In what is an ironic turn of events for the Christie administration, the state is contending in Superior Court that legislation considered the governor’s signature achievement — the 2011 pension reform law — may be barred by the state constitution and might itself be illegal.

The argument presented in court Thursday is that New Jersey’s constitution bars legislators from approving large financial liabilities without specific approval by voters, and that they cannot force future lawmakers to spend money.

Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson is presiding over the lawsuit lodged by pension fund trustees fighting Gov. Chris Christie’s decision last spring to cut $2.4 billion in mandated pension contributions over two years.

The daylong hearing concluded without a ruling.

Read the rest
January 15, 2015

Chris Christie’s Jersey Nightmare: Why His State Hasn’t Touched The Economic Recovery

The following is an article from Here is a link to the article:

Why do half of his state’s residents want to leave? Strip away his antics, and there’s a devastating economic story.

Late in October of 2009, New Jersey gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie used the Ridgewood Moving Company in Mahwah to stage a campaign event headlined by former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. The cavernous warehouse was packed floor to ceiling with shrink wrapped pallets holding the possessions of dozens of families leaving New Jersey. It vividly symbolized the thousands of Jersey households that made the same decision that year to pull up stakes in hopes of a brighter future anywhere else.

The site was a compelling backdrop for Christie’s core campaign message. He was the candidate most likely to staunch the trend that had become so pronounced since the state’s congressional delegation shrank from 15 seats in the ’70s to 12.… Read the rest

January 14, 2015

Governor Trumpets Reforms – And Makes Surprising Pitch For School Vouchers

The following is an article from, here is a link to the article:

Speech also touts initiative in Camden district but barely mentions more controversial changes in Newark

The issue of school vouchers just won’t die in New Jersey.

Gov. Chris Christie gave vouchers a surprising second life — or was it the third or fourth life? — during his State of the State address yesterday in Trenton.

“More school reform is needed, and a great first step is to listen to the visionary leadership of Sen. (Thomas) Kean and pass the Opportunity Scholarship Act,” Christie said, alluding to the voucher bill sponsored by Kean.

“Let’s keep driving for better outcomes, and let’s give parents and students more choices, not less,” Christie said.

School vouchers have been a pet issue for Christie throughout his five years in office, but this time his call appeared to be wishful thinking, at best, as Democratic leaders scoffed at the idea and even some Republicans appeared to be caught by surprise.

Read the rest
January 14, 2015

Christie’s State Of The State Address Light On Pension Specifics

The following article is from, here is a link to the article:

TRENTON — In his fifth State of the State address Tuesday, Gov. Chris Christie called the state’s struggling pension system “an insatiable beast.”

But despite rumors swirling the past week that he might use the platform to unveil a massive pension overhaul based on the recommendations from his pension commission, Christie offered little on how he intended to tame it.

The governor, who spoke at length about drug treatment and a Camden turnaround, dedicated roughly 10 percent of his remarks to the pension system without delivering any solutions.

“This is not just a New Jersey problem. This is a national problem,” he said. “A long-term solution and sustainable future for our pension and health benefit plans are difficult but worthy things to achieve.”

While crediting his 2011 reforms with saving the taxpayers more than $120 billion over the next three decades, Christie said pensions remain one of New Jersey’s “largest and most immediate” obligations.… Read the rest

January 13, 2015

Pension Reform Talk May Heat Up As Christie Readies State Of The State Address

The following is an article from Here is a link to the article:

TRENTON — When Gov. Chris Christie delivers his 2015 State of the State address Tuesday, lawmakers and public workers will no doubt be listening for remarks on pension reform.

On the eve of that speech, and months after a commission’s report on recommendations for the ailing pension system was expected to be released, legislators, union leaders and lobbyists say they are expecting to hear from the governor on one of the biggest issues facing Trenton. Christie’s office has not yet provided any details about his annual address to the state Legislature.

The governor made mention of the ailing public employee pension system nine times in his 2014 address, proposing to crack down on pension fraud and engage on pension reform.

“If we do not choose to reduce our soaring pension and debt service costs, we will miss the opportunity to improve the lives of every New Jersey citizen, not just a select few,” he said at this time last year.… Read the rest

January 13, 2015

AchieveNJ: Teacher Evaluation Scoring Guide

AchieveNJThe New Jersey Department of Education has released presentation regarding evaluation ratings for teachers under AchieveNJ, here is a link to the document.

 … Read the rest

January 12, 2015

Release of 2013-2014 mSGP Scores

The following is an email sent out to educators from the New jersey Department of Education regarding Student Growth Percentiles, it contains links to some very important documents:

Dear Colleagues,

As teachers, you do the most critical work of our public education system by helping students learn and grow. This is why the AchieveNJ team members at the New Jersey Department of Education – most of us former teachers ourselves – are committed to providing you the best and most accurate information about the evaluation system. Today, as the Department releases 2013-14 median Student Growth Percentile (mSGP) scores to school districts for all their qualifying educators, we are providing this summary to help inform your conversations about these scores.

As you know, SGP scores are based on student growth on the NJ ASK test from one year to the next. For 2013-14, mSGP scores comprise 30% of qualifying teachers’ evaluations (this weight has changed to 10% for 2014-15). … Read the rest

January 12, 2015

Now It Counts: NJ Releases First Data Linking Test Scores, Teacher Ratings

‘Median Student Growth Percentiles’ based on results of statewide exams will factor into annual evaluations

Results of the first test run of New Jersey’s new system linking evaluations of individual teachers and administrators with their students’ performance on state testing were released yesterday.

The state education department informed districts that they could now access the measurements –- called “median Student Growth Percentiles” (mSGPs) – for approximately 16,000 teachers and another 4,000 principals and assistant principals.

The mSGP will represent up to 30 percent of a teacher’s rating, with the rest of the evaluation determined through classroom observations and attaining classroom “objectives” not measured by the state tests.

For now, the mSGP only applies to language arts and math teachers in grades 4-8, which are the grades in which the state administers its tests. This year, that amounts to less than 20 percent of teachers statewide.

The release of the SGP information is just the start of a process that is likely to take another month or two, as state officials yesterday said there will be a vetting and validation of the scores before final reports are forthcoming.… Read the rest

January 9, 2015

State Board Of Education Members Put To The Test By Anti-testing Turnout

The following is an article from NJSpotlight, here is a link to the article:

Foes of switching to controversial PARCC exams enliven normally sedate monthly meeting in Trenton

They’re usually pretty sleepy affairs, but a small crowd descended on the State Board of Education’s monthly meeting yesterday. They came from a variety of places, but they had a common cause: protesting the state’s new regimen of student testing.

The New Jersey Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union, promoted the meeting as a chance for its members to give public testimony about the testing –and even bought lunch for those who showed up.

Grassroots groups came out in force, too, from places like Montclair and South Brunswick.

It proved to be an interesting display of a small but growing protest movement that is starting to make its mark.

The turnout of close to 100 people was notable for a monthly state board meeting, albeit not unprecedented.… Read the rest

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