Spotlight Q&A: Arthur Levine On Raising The Bar For New Teachers

By John Mooney
Renowned critic of traditional teacher-education programs talks about theory versus practice and how to raise the standards for education schools.

Arthur Levine has never been shy about expressing his views on teacher education, and specifically what he thinks isn’t working. The former president of Columbia University’s Teachers College, Levine has been a leading critic of traditional teacher programs in colleges and universities for having too low standards and inadequate results.…

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Walton foundation donates $2 million to Newark Teach For America

By Dan Goldberg/The Star-Ledger

NEWARK — Newark’s Teach for America is getting a boost from the Walton Family Foundation, which has pledged $2 million to the program that brings young teachers into under-served classrooms.

Newark was one of several cities that will share the $20 million donation from the foundation.

“With this critical investment, Teach For America will be able to bring effective teachers into some of the most under-resourced classrooms in the country while simultaneously working to develop more of our talented corps members as long-term champions of educational equity and excellence,” said Matt Kramer, co-chief executive officer of Teach For America.…

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Abrupt For-Profit Closures Surprise Regulators

By Kelly Field

Tracy DeLorey was only three months away from graduation in January when she learned, via Facebook, that her college, American Career Institute, had closed. The news, she said, “was a kick in the face.”

“I wasted a year and a half,” said Ms. DeLorey, a single mother of three who works at the commissary at Hanscom Air Force Base, in Massachusetts.…

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Op-Ed: Putting NJ High School Diplomas to the Test

By Stan Karp

What will Common Core exams mean for the state’s proficiency rates?

There were more than 100,000 ninth-graders in New Jersey public schools this past year, and they all had one thing in common: None of them knows what they have to do to graduate.

While the state’s new teacher evaluation system is grabbing most of the attention, coming changes in state testing policies may have an even more dramatic impact.…

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From the Ivy League to Rutgers: Brian Strom prepares to become health science chancellor

By Kelly Heyboer/ The Star-Ledger

NEW BRUNSWICK — Just reading Brian Strom’s current job description is exhausting.

He is a University of Pennsylvania professor in four subject areas: public health and preventive medicine, biostatistics and epidemiology, medicine, and pharmacology. He also serves as an executive vice dean at the university’s medical school, where his duties include recruiting top faculty members.…

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College Enrollment Falls as Economy Recovers

By Richard Perez-Pena

The long enrollment boom that swelled American colleges — and helped drive up their prices — is over, with grim implications for many schools.

College enrollment fell 2 percent in 2012-13, the first significant decline since the 1990s, but nearly all of that drop hit for-profit and community colleges; now, signs point to 2013-14 being the year when traditional four-year, nonprofit colleges begin a contraction that will last for several years.…

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The Secret to One High-Poverty School District’s Success

How Union City, NJ schools achieved huge gains. Hint: It wasn’t via corporate school reform.

The following is a book review of David Kirp’s Improbable Scholars: The Rebirth of a Great American School System and a Strategy for America’s Schools.

If you believe that education can only be reformed by center-right business notions—that privately run nonunion charters will outperform public schools; that teachers need to be goaded into doing a good job—David Kirp is here to tell you that absolutely the opposite is true.…

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Senate Approves Deal on Student-Loan Interest Rates, Ending Standoff

By Cory Weinberg

Washington…The Senate voted on Wednesday to undo the increase in student-loan interest rates that went into effect this month and instead to peg rates to the financial markets, bringing a drawn-out stalemate near an end.

The bill that passed, the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act of 2013 (S 1241), was branded by its proponents as a compromise, but it still rankled more than a dozen Democrats, who said future college students would pay for the deal once interest rates rose on the 10-year Treasury note.…

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Explainer: Abbott V. Burke, Changing The Rules For Funding Schools

By John Mooney

A series of state Supreme Court rulings starting in 1985, Abbott v. Burke continues to shape and reshape education — especially for New Jersey’s poorest kids.

Summary
The state Supreme Court’s landmark school-equity rulings starting in 1985, referred to in shorthand as “Abbott,” as in Abbott district or Abbott school. Actually a series of decisions made over the past 30 years, Abbott remains the centerpiece of how the state funds its urban and suburban schools.…

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‘Shake Up’ for Higher Ed

By Scott Jaschik

President Obama vowed Wednesday that he would soon unveil a plan to promote significant reform in higher education — with an emphasis on controlling what colleges charge students and families.

“[I]n the coming months, I will lay out an aggressive strategy to shake up the system, tackle rising costs, and improve value for middle-class students and their families.…

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New Charter School Looks Hopefully to the Future

Private academy in Newark is first in state to switch to become public charter.

By John Mooney.

Fiorella Serrano concedes it will be hard to break the habit of what she says when she answers the phone at school.

“I am so used to saying St. Philip’s Academy, and now its Philip’s Academy Charter School,” said the longtime teacher and parent at the Newark school.…

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Rutgers releases independent investigator’s report on basketball scandal

By Kelly Heyboer/ The Star-Ledger

New Brunswick — Rutgers University released a 38-page report by an independent investigator today dissecting how the school mishandled the basketball scandal that led to the firing of coach Mike Rice earlier this year.

The report, written by the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, says Rutgers needs to pay closer attention to reforms made in 2008 that called for administrators to maintain closer oversight of the school’s sports program.…

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Newark superintendent Cami Anderson up for bonus while challenges mount

Entering her third year on the job, Newark’s state-appointed schools superintendent, Cami Anderson, is up for a second year of performance bonuses of up to $50,000 and negotiating the goals for a third.

The potentially handsome bonuses are based on professional goals agreed upon based on her own initiatives and the performance of Newark schools, part of a contract she reached with the Christie administration in 2011.…

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