Common Core ‘Listening Tour’ Hears From Just A Handful Of Witnesses

September 30, 2015

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Few turn out for sessions scheduled after Gov. backed off from previous support of controversial education standards.

A veteran math teacher, claiming few educators were actually involved, questioned how the Common Core State Standards were developed. A father of two was in favor of them, and asked that parents be given an integral role in the state’s review of those standards.

And another person wondered if all the testimony would even matter.

That’s a sampling of what Christie administration officials are hearing on a much-touted “listening tour” being staged on the heels of Gov.

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NJ Teacher-Leader Bill Signed

September 30, 2015

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Teachers in New Jersey will be able to earn a new teacher-leader endorsement on their teaching certificate as a result of legislation championed by NJEA to strengthen the teaching profession.  The teacher-leader bill, passed this summer by overwhelming majorities in the Legislature and signed earlier today by Gov. , will allow excellent educators to advance professionally and serve as mentors to their colleagues while remaining in New Jersey’s classrooms.

NJEA President lauded the new law:

“The teacher-leader endorsement is a great step forward for the teaching profession and for New Jersey’s public schools.… Read the rest

Lower Returns On State’s Pension Investments Raise Questions, Concerns

September 24, 2015

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

Officials say 4 percent gain is still better than most similar plans, but state workers worry about impact on severely underfunded system.

After seeing investment returns swell into the double digits for several years in a row thanks to a booming stock market, New Jersey public-employee pension system’s gains have come back down to earth.

Preliminary figures released yesterday indicate the pension system’s investments earned just over 4 percent during the state’s last fiscal year. Those returns fell short of the retirement system’s 7.9 percent assumed rate of return, and well below the gains of nearly 17 percent during the 2014 fiscal year.… Read the rest

Common Core Review Committee Rolls Up Sleeves, Gets To Work On Revisions

September 18, 2015

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

Most members work in public education but panel also includes parents and representatives of business community.

Twenty-four people make up the group given the task of following up on Gov. ’s call to rethink the Common Core State Standards for New Jersey – and then there’s the 70 other people named to subcommittees.

Starting this month, and over the next three months, they will have a busy schedule as they try to come up with revisions to the state’s standards to meet ’s sudden – and some say politically driven — dictate this summer that the Common Core Standards aren’t good enough for New Jersey.

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For Asbury Park Dads, Time To Take A Walk

September 11, 2015

The following is an article from the Asbury Park Press website, here is a link to the article:

ASBURY PARK – Johnny Smith is known as the “super dad” at Barack Obama Elementary School.

He regularly shows up to speak with teachers and administrators about his 10-year-old son, helps with homework and walks him to school each day to make sure he’s safe.

It may sound like basic parenting, but school officials here are calling on more fathers and male figures to be like Smith.

On Thursday, the Asbury Park School District celebrated the first day of school inviting dads, grandfathers, uncles and male mentors to walk children to school.… Read the rest

N.J. Class Of 2019 Won’t Have To Pass PARCC To Graduate

September 11, 2015

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TRENTON — New Jersey’s new class of high school freshmen won’t have to pass the exams to graduate, and some students in 11th grade will be exempt from taking ’s English test this year, the state’s Department of Education announced today.

In a memo sent to school superintendents, the department announced that it would extend the graduation requirements currently in place for high school seniors, juniors and sophomores to the Class of 2019, the new freshmen class.

That means those students can use a passing score on The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exams to meet graduation requirements, or they can instead use their scores on the SAT, ACT or other college entrance exams to prove they are ready to graduate.… Read the rest

New Testing Policies Slowly Take Shape In Slew Of Education Department Memos

September 10, 2015

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Disgruntled families take department to court, claiming it did not follow proper procedure for setting and vetting policy

Seeking to serve political as well as educational ends, the administration yesterday sent a flurry of back-to-school memos to districts, clarifying how student will work this year for those who sit for the exams — and those who don’t.

For starters, the administration released the long-promised guidance on how districts are to deal with students who refuse to take the tests, a sizable but still-undisclosed number in last spring’s launch of the online (Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) exams.… Read the rest

Christie Pension Vetoes Defy Common Sense

August 13, 2015

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NJEA President issued the following statement regarding Gov. ’s veto of S-3100/A4605, which would have mandated quarterly pension payments, as well as S-3107/A-4606, which would have required the state to pay $300 million of this year’s pension contribution immediately, rather than waiting until the end of the fiscal year in June 2016.

“These vetoes are just more evidence that when it comes to pension funding Gov. Christie always chooses the most harmful course.

“Quarterly payments are a common-sense approach to pension funding that would lower costs for taxpayers by using the power of the market.… Read the rest

Christie Promises Veto Of Dems’ Tax Increases, Mum On Pension Cuts

June 26, 2015

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TRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie took a scolding tone with the state’s Democratic lawmakers Thursday night, saying he planned to veto $1.1 billion in tax hikes outright but declining to say how much smaller the state’s contribution to the pension system would be.

On his monthly radio show on New Jersey 101.5, answered “yes” to a question of whether he’d veto a planned “millionaires’ tax.”

But he batted away a question about how much smaller his pension payment might be, saying only that “It’s safe to say that they’ve spent a lot of money that we don’t have, and that we’re not going to be able to spend.”
The Democratic-controlled state Legislature passed a state budget Thursday that would fully fund the state’s badly listing pension system with a $3.1 billion payment — $1.8 billion more than Christie proposed in his initial spending plan.… Read the rest