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September 16, 2014

EDITORIAL: A New Day For Asbury Schools

The Following is an editorial from the Asbury Park Press, here is a link to the aritcle:

Finally.

Last week, the divided Asbury Park Board of Education finally accomplished something that it had been unwilling or unable to do for months: reach a consensus on a new school superintendent.

Board members unanimously voted to appoint Lamont Repollet, principal of Carteret High School for the past eight years, as its permanent superintendent. That is major news, given the fiasco of the past year, in which a narrow board majority twice attempted to install Gregory Allen in the position, only to have it overturned by state monitor Carol Morris, who argued the process for choosing him was flawed.

This time, Morris, approved the board’s selection, citing Repollet’s “proven record of success” as well as the process by which it arrived at its choice. “I think he’s a very good fit for Asbury Park,” Morris said.… Read the rest

July 13, 2014

Teachers, Union Reps Blast ‘Flawed’ Teacher Evaluation System

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

TRENTON — Some 40 teachers, parents, union representatives and other education officials told four members of the New Jersey State Board of Education that the state’s new teacher evaluation system is fundamentally flawed and should be changed or put on hold until it can be fixed.

Identified by their “get it right!” stickers, members of the New Jersey Education Association, the state’s largest teacher union, dominated the speakers testifying at an afternoon hearing that followed Wednesday’s monthly meeting of the state board.

“I stand before you today asking you to change these regulations and delay the use of test scores in this evaluation system going forward,” NJEA president Wendell Steinhauer said. “It is unfair to teachers and students to make high-stakes decisions based on a new test, one that has not had a state-wide field test.”

The testimony followed a meeting highlighted by a presentation from Department of Education Chief Academic Officer Tracey Severns, who defended the state’s push to roll out the new computer-based test to measure student mastery of material as well as to evaluate teacher effectiveness.… Read the rest

July 12, 2014

NJ State Board Of Education Adopts New Curriculum Standards

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

TRENTON — The New Jersey State Board of Education approved new curriculum standards for seven subject areas and preschool teaching and learning today at its monthly meeting in Trenton.

The board approved new state guidelines for social studies, world languages, visual and performing arts, health and physical education and science. The standards outline the knowledge and skills students should acquire in grades K-12.

In addition, the board reaffirmed its commitment to the Common Core State Standards for language arts and math. These standards, first adopted in 2010, have been adopted by almost 40 states.

Before the vote, Tracey Severns, the education department’s chief academic officer, gave an impassioned defense of the standards and the tests that will measure them. The tests, called the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness of College and Careers, or PARCC, are computerized tests that will replace the NJASK and the HSPA tests next spring.… Read the rest

July 11, 2014

State BOE Meeting Mirrors Statehouse Concerns About Teacher Evaluations

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

Quiet meeting in July listens to more than three-dozen educators concerned about new statewide testing system

As the stop-and-start drama continues in the Statehouse, the State Board of Education just a mile away got an earful yesterday about the New Jersey’s new teacher evaluation system.

The board ostensibly was hosting public testimony on some nominal changes to administrative code, but from more than three dozen speakers, the prevailing theme was the precarious state of the evaluation system rolled out in earnest this year.

Individual teachers spoke to the challenges of being evaluated by a system in which administrators — and teachers themselves — have barely any training.

Advocates from several of the big education groups, including the state’s largest teachers union, once again asked for the state to slow down.

“I ask why the rush to put this process into place, when we don’t even know how many procedural issues there are,” said Wendell Steinhauer, president of the New Jersey Education Association.… Read the rest

July 10, 2014

Analysis: Christie’s Options Limited When It Comes To Plans For PARCC Testing

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

The governor has hinted publicly at a compromise on new PARCC tests, but what will he do and when will he do it?

When Gov. Chris Christie made a comment last month at one of his town-hall-style meetings about a compromise concerning the new PARCC exams, he sparked off a guessing game.

What would the governor propose for the controversial rollout of the online national tests? How would that fit with the Legislature’s apparent intent to press a long review — and delay — on the impact of the new tests? And when would Christie actually come forward with his compromise?

At stake is an important measurement of how thousands of teachers and hundreds of schools will be judged next year with the advent of the online Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers tests, which are tied to the Common Core State Standards.… Read the rest

June 20, 2014

Democratic Lawmakers Sending Christie Another Tax Package To Veto

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

Prieto endorses millionaire’s tax, corporate tax surcharge, and full pension funding as part of alternative Democratic budget

For the fourth time in the past five years, the Democratic-controlled Legislature will be sending Gov. Chris Christie a millionaire’s tax to veto. The only question is whether Christie will get to veto a corporate business tax increase and a cut in the Business Employment Incentive Program too.

With the June 30 constitutional deadline for passage of a balanced budget looming, Senate and Assembly Democratic leaders said yesterday they expect to pass a revised budget that will rely primarily on a millionaire’s tax to boost state revenues enough to restore $1.5 billion Christie cut from the state’s pension payment for Fiscal Year 2015. The two houses of the state legislature still have to agree on details, but the outline of the proposal is clear: increase taxes on the wealthy and include the legislatively mandated pension payment.Read the rest

June 20, 2014

Assembly Votes To Put Brakes On Impact Of Common Core And New Student Testing

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

Measure would set up task force, could delay the consequences of new standards and associated tests by as much as two years

A bill to slow the impact of the new Common Core State Standards and accompanying student testing won big — and bipartisan — approval from the state Assembly this week.

Now the question is: What happens next?

The measure won a 72-4 victory in the lower chamber on Monday, with two abstentions.

Led by state Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (D-Essex) and a dozen other prime sponsors, the bill would create a task force to review the impact of the new Common Core standards and the accompanying Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) testing.

Most importantly, it would delay the use of the new tests to measure schools and teachers until the task force’s review was complete.

Read the rest
June 19, 2014

Christie’s Lawyers Unveil Legal Strategy For Pension Court Battle

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

TRENTON — Lawyers for Gov. Chris Christie today unveiled their defense strategy for taking $2.4 billion meant for public workers’ pensions, pushing back against a flood of lawsuits from unions and financial managers challenging the plan.

In a 103-page court filing, the state Attorney General’s Office said New Jersey is facing an unprecedented budget crisis — one that requires Christie to put his own pension-reform plans on the back burner for now.

The governor’s paramount responsibility is to sign a balanced budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, assistant state attorneys general Robert Lougy and Jean Reilly wrote.

“Never before in New Jersey’s history has the state experienced such a staggering shortfall so late in the fiscal year,” Lougy and Reilly argue.

“At the brink of fiscal disaster and with only a small pool of unspent funds remaining, the state has carefully crafted a remedy that preserves essential services for the state’s most vulnerable populations, makes spending cuts across 15 departments, and maintains a balanced budget in conformity with constitutional mandate.”

Their filing came hours after the board overseeing the state’s largest public-employee pension fund voted to sue the governor, acting in response to more than 10,000 letters submitted by public workers worried about the financial security of their retirement plans.… Read the rest

June 19, 2014

NJ’s Largest Pension Fund Votes To Sue Christie Over Budget Plan

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

TRENTON — The board overseeing the largest public-employee pension fund in New Jersey today voted to sue Gov. Chris Christie over his plan to take $2.4 billion meant for the pension system over two years, acting in response to more than 10,000 letters submitted by public workers worried about the financial security of their retirement plans.

The Public Employees’ Retirement System voted 6-0 to hire private attorneys and “take all necessary and appropriate action to compel the governor” to make $3.8 billion in payments to the strained pension system over two years, instead of the $1.38 billion Christie is proposing amid a budget crisis.

With 280,000 active employees and 139,000 retirees as of 2013, PERS is by far the largest pension fund in New Jersey. The board is made up of financial managers representing Christie’s administration and unionized workers.… Read the rest

June 10, 2014

NJ Educators Learn How Common Core Works — And What Work They Need To Do

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

Conference includes key session on collaborative, multi-discipline approach described as pivotal part of new standards

They weren’t there to debate its value or argue about whether it should be delayed.

Rather, the approximately 300 New Jersey educators who attended a conference on the Common Core Standards and PARCC testing last week came to learn what they’ll need to teach and do in what many agree will amount to a sea-change in what kids learn and how they’re taught.

Among the best attended workshops was a session on “seven essential literacy strategies” for integrating the new standards and preparing for the PARCC exams. Taught by NJCU education dean Allan DeFina, the afternoon session drew more than 50 educators.

Over the course of 90 minutes, DeFina laid out the strategies and their challenges, while teachers feverishly took notes about what will be required of them.

Read the rest
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