NJ State Retiree Prescription Copays Reduced

The State Health Benefits Design Committee reached an agreement that copays will be reduced or eliminated depending on the classification of the drug and the type of plan in which the member is enrolled for the period from July 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015 and will return to 2012 rates as a baseline for negotiating new plans for 2016.…

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As Newark school budget calls for layoffs, union fights back

By Naomi Nix | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

NEWARK — A top union official criticized today a proposal from Newark Public Schools to base any teacher layoffs it makes for the next school year on performance instead of seniority alone.

“The proposal is just another scam in getting what she really wants: the destruction of tenure, seniority and collective bargaining,” Newark Teachers Union’s operations director John Abeigon said referring to Newark Schools Superintendent Cami Anderson.…

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Newark School Budget Not as Explosive, But Fireworks Still Appear Likely

No school closings planned, but hundreds of teacher and administrative layoffs seem likely under $990M spending plan

By John Mooney

One year after a controversial reorganization of Newark’s public schools, Superintendent Cami Anderson’s budget for the next school year calls for no further school closings or consolidations, at least for now.

But don’t expect smooth sailing ahead.…

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PARCC: In unanimous vote, N.J. Assembly says schools should accommodate opt outs

Adam Clark, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

TRENTON — Students who don’t want to take the PARCC exams should be able to attend regular classes or work on other school activities during testing, according to New Jersey’s Assembly.

A bill (A4165) requiring schools to accommodate students refusing the state’s standardized tests passed the Assembly 72-0 this afternoon.…

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Fine Print: New Charter School Study Praises NJ Gains, Draws NJ fire

Stanford researchers find significant gains for New Jersey urban charters over district schools

By John Mooney


The quote: “Charters undersubscribe the poorest students and oversubscribe the less poor, but CREDO treats those kids as matched anyway,” wrote Bruce Baker, a Rutgers University professor who has been among the most prolific critics. “Charters undersubscribe high-need special-education kids and oversubscribe mild learning disabilities, but CREDO treats those kids as matched.…

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Is Christie Administration Shifting to Charter School Expansions vs. New Openings?

While only one new charter application won approval, complete policy picture is more complex

By John Mooney

When the Christie administration approved just one new charter school application last week, questions arose over whether it was backing off from its previous enthusiastic support for the growth of the charter movement in the state.

A separate move to place seven other charters on probation and close two more existing schools reinforced that notion.…

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Student Privacy Debate Dominates Assembly Panel’s Meeting On PARCC Tests

Lawmakers, education officials at loggerheads over monitoring of student postings on social media

By John Mooney

Student privacy issues have suddenly moved to the forefront of the debate over the state’s controversial new PARCC tests, as state legislators yesterday grappled with how to protect students and their personal information.

The Assembly education committee meeting wasn’t expected to be an extraordinary one.…

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NJ defends PARCC social media monitoring

By Amanda Oglesby

TRENTON – School leaders may be reading students’ Tweets about the new standardized test, but state education officials say that doesn’t mean their privacy rights are being violated.

State Department of Education officials appeared before the Assembly Education Committee Thursday, where they defended actions aimed at protecting the integrity of the new Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC.…

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Assembly Ed. Committee Members Grill DOE Staffer Over PARCC Privacy Concerns

By David Cruz, Correspondent

The Assembly’s Education Committee had hoped to hear from Education Commissioner David Hespe today, but it was left to department attorney Patricia Morgan to explain — and defend — the department’s decision to contract with a testing company that monitors the social media accounts of students taking the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, also known as PARCC tests.…

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Teachable Moments: Real Reasons For Refusing The PARCC

Ultimately, forcing standardized test upon students and schools is a matter of power – and the right to protest and dissent

By Douglas B. Larkin

There are plenty of reasons to refuse to have our children participate in the ongoing PARCC exams taking place this month.

As an educational researcher who values valid empirical data, it is clear to me that the results of this assessment will be anything but valid.…

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Civil Rights Groups to Congress: Current Education Policy ‘Is Causing Real Harm’

By Jan Resseger

Congress is considering an eight-years overdue reauthorization of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), whose most recent version we call No Child Left Behind (NCLB). A couple of weeks ago, debate on a House Republican version broke down just before a scheduled vote on the House floor. Many have speculated that the cancelled House vote portends that Congress cannot find consensus on this complicated and politically polarizing piece of legislation.…

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State Renews 14 Charter Schools, But Puts Seven Of Them On Probation

Mixed numbers indicate tricky balancing act — foster charters while maintaining high standards

By John Mooney

The Christie administration renewed 14 charter schools for another five years, but placed half of them on probation in what is becoming a tough balancing act of both supporting the alternative schools and holding them to tougher standards.

The administration this week released additional information in the latest cycle of charter approvals and renewals, which included notifying seven schools that they would be renewed but under probationary status.…

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How Bad Journalism Is Driving the Collapse of Our Once-Great Public Education System

By Jeff Bryant, AlterNet

Be afraid, be very afraid, any time you see a reporter in the business media turn his or her attention to education and public schools. What will likely follow is a string of truisms used to prop up a specious argument, steeped in biased notions that were themselves picked up from ill-informed conversations promoted by other clueless business news outlets.…

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New furor over N.J. tests as student privacy concerns raised

By Hannan Adely, Staff Writer, The Record

The security of the state’s standardized tests is clashing with parents’ privacy concerns in the latest battle over the new exams.

Critics accused Pearson testing company of “spying” after it alerted the state Department of Education that a student leaked a test question on Twitter. Pearson said it was protecting test integrity and fairness, and an assistant commissioner of the state Education Department wrote a letter to school officials Tuesday strongly defending the practice, saying that Pearson is tracking content of posts not the students’ accounts.…

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