Unions update lawsuits over New Jersey pensions

By John Rietmeyer and Melissa Hayes, State House Bureau, The Record.

An amended complaint from the unions was submitted to Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson.
New Jersey public-employee unions suing to overturn Governor Christie’s decision to cut state contributions to the pension system filed new court papers Tuesday outlining the Legislature’s recent attempt to generate more money to cover the benefits of retired state workers.…

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New Poll Reflects Unease About Tying Teacher Ratings to Test Scores

By John Mooney

Fairleigh Dickinson survey reveals New Jerseyans not knowledgeable about Common Core standards

Public support for teacher and school accountability in New Jersey may only go so far.

That’s one conclusion that can be drawn from a new poll from Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Public Mind, which last week released its findings on what residents think about the new national Common Core State Standards and how New Jersey teachers are to be evaluated.…

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Best way to grade New Jersey teachers debated

By Hannan Adely, Staff writer, The Record

New Jersey’s adoption of teacher evaluations that relied on student test scores was hailed by Governor Christie as a way to make educators accountable for how much students learned.

Last week, however, under pressure from lawmakers, parents and teacher unions, the governor announced plans to lessen the impact that those test scores will have on judging teachers.…

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Teacher Tenure Lawsuits Spread From California To New York

By Beth Fertig, Anya Kamenetz and Claudio Sanchez

Why are so many low-income and minority kids getting second-class educations in the U.S.?

That question is at the center of the heated debate about teacher tenure. In New York today, a group of parents and advocates, led by former CNN and NBC anchor Campbell Brown, filed a suit challenging state laws that govern when teachers can be given tenure and how they can be fired once they have it.…

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How the Government Exaggerates the Cost of College

By David Leonhardt

The government’s official statistic for college-tuition inflation has become somewhat infamous. It appears frequently in the news media, and policy makers lament what it shows.

No wonder: College tuition and fees have risen an astounding 107 percent since 1992, even after adjusting for economywide inflation, according to the measure. No other major household budget item has increased in price nearly as much.…

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Senators in Both Parties Agree: States Must Do More for Higher Education

By Eric Kelderman

Congressional hearings often feature bitter partisanship and acrimonious finger pointing. But there was mostly agreement on Thursday at a higher-education hearing of the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

Both Sen. Tom Harkin, a Democrat of Iowa, and Sen. Lamar Alexander, a Republican of Tennessee, agreed that states should take a leading role in paying for and overseeing public colleges.…

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Newark Civil-Rights Probe Mirrors Investigations in Other U.S. Cities

By John Mooney

Administration, state-appointed superintendent, will cooperate but keep low profile for time being

The federal civil-rights investigation of the “One Newark” plan for reorganizing that city’s schools is part of a campaign that is taking place in a dozen cities nationwide, where school closures in urban districts are being contested.

The investigation was announced in front of Newark City hall yesterday; advocates from across the country, including New Orleans and Chicago, were in attendance.…

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Fine Print: DOE Details Teacher Evaluation After Christie Compromise

By John Mooney

Summer training and deadlines for schools following Christie rollback on use of student test scores in evaluations.

What it is: The State Department of Education sent to districts last week the details of the administration’s updated mandates for teacher evaluation in 2014-2015, following Gov. Chris Christie’s decision a week ago to change some of the criteria in the face of growing political opposition.…

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Newark parents cheer federal investigation into controversial school plan

By Peggy McGlone, The Star-Ledger

NEWARK — The U.S. Department of Education is investigating whether Newark’s school reorganization plan discriminates against African-American students after people opposed to the plan filed a federal complaint about it.

The investigation by the department’s Office of Civil Rights comes after parents and a local education advocacy organization filed a civil rights complaint in May charging that the One Newark plan — set to begin in September — unfairly harms African-American children and their families.…

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Labor solidarity in Montclair

AFT Local 1904 members (Rich Wolfson, Ken Brook, Bill Sullivan) supporting trade union brothers and sisters at the demonstration against developers LCOR/Pinnacle, at the Valley & Bloom construction site in Montclair on Tuesday July 8. The demonstration was organized by Thomas F. McIntyre (far left) from the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers.

Keep up the Pressure: Tell LCOR to Abide its Contract and Create Union Jobs

The Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers of New Jersey (BAC/ADC) organized a demonstration this week to call on LCOR – the developer behind the “Valley and Bloom Project” in Montclair – to abide by its contractual agreement and use union pension funds it received from California teachers unions to create union jobs.…

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CD 5 race: AFT endorses Dem Cho against GOP’s Garrett

By Mark Bonamo 

RIDGEWOOD – The American Federation of Teachers New Jersey (AFTNJ) has announced its endorsement of Roy Cho for Congress in the Fifth Congressional District, citing his commitment to strengthening public education and pulling the nation out of its higher education affordability crisis.

“We appreciate Roy’s commitment to education and support for teachers,” said AFTNJ President Donna M.…

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Hespe Helps Take Hearsay Out of Newark ‘Working Group’

By John Mooney

In one of his first public statements, acting commissioner details plans and purpose for working group, comments on Anderson’s annual review

The state-appointed “working group” that will serve as a community sounding board for embattled Newark superintendent Cami Anderson will have as many as 18 people and start its work in the next couple of weeks, said acting state Education Commissioner David Hespe yesterday.…

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College of New Jersey’s ‘Campus Town’ development beginning to take shape

By Brendan McGrath, The Times of Trenton

EWING — Campus Town, the $86 million private-public project that will bring college housing, restaurants and shops to The College of New Jersey, is becoming a reality, as much of the steelwork already towers above the construction barrier that has lined Route 31 for the last year.

“It’s exciting to see the buildings take shape,” said college spokesman David Muha.…

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