Last week, New Jersey’s school aid formula continued to dominate both local and regional news headlines. On the national front, reporting focused on a wide variety of issues including school resource officers, English learners and education technology, themes which have been cropping up with regularity of late.




WQXR Drive Brings Instruments to Newark Students
With the support of generous listeners, classical radio station WQXR donates over 100 musical instruments to Newark Public Schools (NPS). According to NPS Superintendent Chris Cerf, “when schools devote time and energy and resources to the arts — music, performance, visual arts — it actually contributes to student achievement in the academic subjects.”

Newark Regional Business Partnership Accepting Applications for the Young Entrepreneur Academy
NRBP is accepting applications for its Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!), a 30-week after school program starting in late October with classes on Monday from 4 – 7 PM at Rutgers Business School in Newark. Due to its commitment to New Jersey’s largest city, NRBP is sponsoring this program with an emphasis on recruiting student residents of Newark and those who attend school in Newark (however students elsewhere in the Newark region may apply). Deadline: Friday, September 30, 2016


Inside ESI Schools' Efforts to Boost College Readiness for Black and Latino Young Men
NYC Department of Education’s Expanded Success Initiative (ESI) has compiled a set of guides that provide concrete examples of how ESI schools are attempting to boost college readiness for young men of color. Each guide describes a specific approach and offers tips, discussion questions, and resources for educators who may want to pursue this strategy. Topics include: Culturally Relevant Education, Early Exposure to and Preparation for College, Improving Academic Readiness for College and Creating Supportive Bonds of Brotherhood.

Fine Print: State Auditor Calls Out ‘Convoluted’ Allotting of School Aid
The New Jersey State auditor’s report confirms what many—including the Christie administration—already knew: that the state has underfunded the School Funding Reform Act (SFRA) formula by nearly $1 billion. Although this is perfectly legal due to the appropriations act which supersedes the school funding law, the report recommends that funding should be based on enrollment data and other demographics, especially when it comes to special education and preschool.

Advocates Argue All New Jersey Schools Should Offer Arts Classes
The New Jersey Arts Education Partnership (NJAEP) is spreading the word about the Arts Ed Now campaign, which will leverage $500,000 in grant money to help students, parents and teachers educate policy makers and themselves about the benefits of arts education in schools. Newark’s political and educational leaders have recommitted themselves to arts education since the end of the economic recession and are now actively working with an unprecedented number of partner organizations to maximize opportunities for their students.

Developers to Build New Jersey City Public School
Developers have pledged to build a new elementary school for Jersey City’s Paulus Hook neighborhood as part of a housing development. This is the second privately-funded school to be approved over the past few years for overcrowded Jersey City school district.


The Big Move to Improve Head Start
The Department of Health and Human Services just released its first "comprehensive" revision of Head Start rules since they were first published in 1975. Highlights include longer hours, more professional development and coaching for teachers, new curriculum and assessment requirements, and a new "early learning outcomes framework."

Where Charter-School Suspensions Are Concentrated
An examination of disciplinary data in New York, Washington, D.C. and Boston finds that charter schools in predominantly black neighborhoods account for a disproportionately-high percentage of total suspensions as compared to public schools. Critics argue that excessive discipline is just one way in which charter schools try to “weed out” underperforming students and keep their test scores high.

The Undervaluing of School Counselors
School counselors play a critical role in linking high school to college for many low-income students, but schools and students often don’t realize the value of these staffers, many of whom are burdened with huge caseloads. In the past decade, several nonprofit organizations have stepped in to provide supplemental college advising for underserved students.

Over 100 Education Groups Want To Kick Cops Out Of Schools
The Dignity in Schools Campaign—a coalition of organizations, parents and students from 27 states—wants heavily policed campuses to be a thing of the past. Last week it released a set of recommendations to promote alternatives to harsh school discipline and youth criminalization, the strongest that DSC member organizations (including the Southern Poverty Law Center and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund) have ever made collectively on the issue of school policing.

U.S. Department of Education Releases Guidance on English Learners
The U.S. Department of Education released non-regulatory guidance to help states, districts and schools provide effective services to improve the English language proficiency and academic achievement of English learners (ELs). The guidance is an effort to ensure that students who are English learners receive the high-quality services they need to be college and career ready.

State Ed-Tech Leaders Outline Ambitious Broadband Goals
A report released this month by the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) calls on educators and policymakers to pick up the pace on building their technology infrastructure, specifically emphasizing the importance of finding more effective ways to get students connected outside of school. The goal is to bridge an emerging digital divide known as "the homework gap" that puts students without internet access at home at a particular disadvantage.