The week’s wrap-up of K-12 education news covers familiar topics including charter schools and the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Teachers are the subject of a dual-focus for how they teach in their own classrooms (social justice) and how they must be taught (teacher preparation rules).



The 30th Anniversary Dodge Poetry Festival Runs in Newark From October 20-23
Newark will be buzzing with poetry for four days when the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival takes over nine venues in Brick City October 20-23.

The Newark Arts Council’s Open Doors Citywide Arts Festival Runs From October 19-23
Open Doors welcomes residents and tourists to participate in Newark’s biggest festival of the visual arts and other art forms. For four days, Newark’s bustling arts scene will explode with an array of exhibits, talk-backs, performances, street displays, studio open houses, and more.


$1 Million Endowment Established to Support Field Trips for Newark Students
The Community Foundation of New Jersey, the Victoria Foundation, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and Newark Public Schools announced the creation of the Pi Chubb Newark Field Trip Fund, a $1 million dollar endowment ensuring Newark children get outside their classrooms to experience field trips that enhance learning for many years to come.

PTA: Newark High School is Overcrowded & Under-Resourced
Newark’s Central High School has wrestled with overcrowded classrooms and inadequate resources this year as a result of the district's universal enrollment plan, according to the school's parent teacher association. Commissioner Cerf acknowledges that the school had higher-than-projected enrollment and assures that additional resources and teachers will follow these students.

Al Sharpton Christens Newark Tech Center to Bridge Digital Gap
Al Sharpton, founder of the National Action Network (NAN) joined with Newark officials to announce the creation of the NAN-Newark Tech World, a technology education center, which will operate in the building once occupied by the South Ward Boys' & Girls' Club in Newark. NAN-Newark Tech World will serve as a high-tech community center for the City of Newark, offering Newark students courses in web design, graphic design, digital literacy, networking and more.


NAACP Ratifies Charter School Moratorium After Murphy Expresses Reservations
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) approved a resolution calling for a moratorium on charter school growth despite an effort by New Jersey Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy to put the brakes on the vote. But charter school advocates argue that this would deny educational opportunities to families in urban areas like Newark, where traditional public schools have failed generations of children of color, and where there are thousands of children on waiting lists to attend the city’s charter schools.

20 Trenton School Buildings Test High For Lead Levels
Trenton Public Schools have found elevated levels of lead in more than three-quarters of its buildings. Test results released by the district show that 20 of the district's 26 buildings had at least one sink or water fountain that had water with more lead than the federal Environmental Protection Agency's "action level" of 15 parts per billion. 

Should Christie Get to Revise N.J.'s School Rating System?
With the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) set to take effect next school year, Governor Chris Christie's administration has the chance to revise New Jersey's school rating system just before he leaves office. But Democrats feel that the state should wait until a new governor is elected before deciding what factors New Jersey schools are rated on and what to do about schools that don't meet the state's expectations.

These Teachers Say They Were Fired for Teaching About Social Justice
A growing group of educators from New Jersey and New York who teach from a social justice perspective say they’ve been fired for doing so. The state boards of education say they have no record of an educator being terminated for teaching a social justice curriculum.

Workshop 2016: Recognizing the Value of Every Student
A panel discussion featuring leaders of New Jersey’s Legislature, a conversation with the new acting Commissioner of Education, and the introduction of Future Ready Schools—New Jersey,  a statewide initiative to encourage and support digital learning are among the highlights of the New Jersey School Boards Association’s annual Workshop conference, October 25-27, at the Atlantic City Convention Center. Programs will focus on student achievement, school security, STEAM education, labor relations, school law, school finance, bullying prevention and sustainability/green schools.


How the Stress of Racism Affects Learning
A recent study from Northwestern University suggests that the stress of racial discrimination may partly explain the persistent gaps in academic performance between some non-white students, mainly black and Latino youth, and their white counterparts. The team of researchers found that these students’ physiological and psychological responses compound and lead to black and Latino students whose concentration, motivation, and, ultimately, learning is impaired by unintended and overt racism.

In a Tumultuous Presidential Campaign Season, a Rare Spotlight on Education Issues
Edley, Jr., a former U.C. Berkeley School of Law dean and a senior policy advisor to the Hillary Clinton campaign, channeled the Democratic presidential candidate at an intimate question-and-answer session hosted by Teachers College at Columbia University, iterating her policies on charter schools, early childhood education, and how to better serve English Language Learners. He also hinted at a different kind of accountability era under a Clinton administration.

U.S. Department of Education Issues First-Ever Pay for Success Awards to Expand Opportunity in Career and Technical Education, Dual Language Programs   
The U.S. Department of Education will offer its first-ever awards supporting Pay for Success (PFS) strategies. The awards will use the innovative PFS funding approach to improve outcomes for at-risk youth by finding and scaling career and technical education (CTE) programs, as well as to advance effective dual language programs for early learners.

Workin’ 9 to 5: How School Schedules Make Life Harder for Working Parents
The Center for American Progress analyzed the calendars, schedules, and policies of the largest school districts in the country, in addition to data from the National Center for Education Statistics, to create its report on school schedules and working parents. The resulting analysis reveals the multitude of ways that U.S. public schools make life unnecessarily harder for working parents.

Modern E-Rate Puts Telephones On Hold in K-12
In 2014 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) set out to modernize the federal E-rate program, which helps schools and libraries cover the cost of telecommunications services, by focusing on support for high-speed internet connections and internal wireless networks. But the added support for broadband has come with a cost: diminishing support for older telecommunications technologies upon which the K-12 sector still relies heavily.

Final U.S. Teacher-Prep Regs Allow Flexibility on Student-Outcome Measures
The U.S. Department of Education released its long-awaited final rules on teacher preparation, which aim to hold teacher-training programs accountable for the performance of their graduates, and make it mandatory for states to provide aspiring teachers with a way of pre-evaluating programs. Under the rules, states will be required to rate all of their traditional, alternative and distance prep programs as either effective, at-risk, or low-performing, and will have to provide additional support to programs rated as the latter.

A Sesame Study In Kindness
A according to a new survey from the educational nonprofit Sesame Workshop, it’s important to teach children about being kind. But the two groups have different definitions of what the word means.