Press of Atlantic City: Education Blog

Education Blog

Thursday 04/07/2011
Updated: April 07, 2011 - 1:11 pm
Christie names three new education panels

Governor Chris Christie signed three executive orders this week naming panels to advisory committees on education and higher education.

Wednesday 03/09/2011
Updated: March 09, 2011 - 4:27 pm
Science fair looking for a few good judges

The annual Jersey Shore Science Fair, a prelude to the big Delaware Valley Science Fair, is looking for a few more judges.

Thursday 02/24/2011
Updated: February 24, 2011 - 5:34 pm
New state school board members

The state Board of Education swore in four new members in February who will help set policy for the Christie administration's education agenda.

Sunday 01/09/2011
Updated: January 09, 2011 - 10:48 pm
Why tenure cases drag on for so long

Tenure guarantees that teachers accused of an offense get a fair hearing. But a chronic complaint is that it can take years for the process to make its way through the system.

Tuesday 10/12/2010
Updated: October 12, 2010 - 5:54 pm
N.J. scores well for school funding fairness

New Jersey doesn't just spend a lot of money on education, it also makes a good effort  to distribute it in a fair way that benefits all students according to a report released today.

Thursday 09/30/2010
Updated: September 30, 2010 - 1:39 pm
Surprise: Best high schools are in richest towns

New Jersey Monthly’s 2010 “Top High Schools” listing shows that the best way to have great public high schools is to  locate them in rich towns.
Okay, maybe that’s a bit facetious.   But it underscores the fact that “good schools” just like “failing schools” are about more than teachers.
The magazine’s September listing of the top public high schools includes each school’s’ “district factor group,” or DFG which is a measure of the socioeconomic status of the town where the school is located.  Schools are ranked by the state Department of Education from “A” the poorest, to “J” the wealthiest.
Of the top 100 high schools on the list of 322, all but five have a DFG at least an “F,”   which puts them pretty solidly in the wealthier group of districtst statewide.   McNair Academy in Jersey City, a “B” district, was ranked second, but it’s a selective magnet high school, as is Science High School in Newark, an “A” district, which ranked 69th.
If you take out McNair Academy, the first 32 high schools are all in the “I” and “J” districts, the wealthiest in the state. The number one high school is Millburn in Essex County.
The other three in the top 100 that are not in the wealthiest group are another magnet school, Dwight Morrow in Englewood, a “D” district, Palisades Park in Bergen County, a “D” district, and our very own Ocean City High School, also a “D” district, which ranked 99th.
Now, in a very simplified world, if we just took all the students out of the so-called “failing” schools and sent to the top schools, that would solve our failing school problem.   But we all know the issue is far more complicated. Or we should know that.
Once we get into the second 100, we have Mainland Regional High School in Linwood at 139,  Southern Regional High School at 154, Schalick High School in Pittsgrove Township at 168, and Barnegat High School at 193.  Everyone else in Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland and southern Ocean County is over 200 on the list. The list does not include vocational high schools or other specialized schools.

Monday 09/27/2010
Updated: September 27, 2010 - 4:13 pm
N.J. already opposes dating violence

A bill has been introduced in the state Legislature that would require school districts to incorporate dating violence education into the health education curriculum.

Tuesday 09/21/2010
Updated: September 21, 2010 - 5:34 pm
N.J. well-educated, but more college graduates needed

New Jersey ranks sixth in the nation in the number of residents with at least a two-year college degree, according to a report released by the Lumina Foundation today.

Friday 09/17/2010
Updated: September 17, 2010 - 6:14 pm
Happy Constitution Day

If your child came home today knowing a little bit more about the U.S. Constitution you can thank Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia, who pushed for a law that would require all schools that get federal funds to acknowledge the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787.

Tuesday 09/14/2010
Updated: September 14, 2010 - 6:08 pm
Rutgers, Penn State, tops with job recruiters

College may be fun and educational, but the eventual goal is to use what you learn to find a job.

Monday 08/30/2010
Updated: August 31, 2010 - 1:58 pm
We're still getting $268 million - eventually

The $400 million in lost Race to the Top federal education funds was the hot education topic last week, and while the Legislature can have all the hearings it wants on the issue, the money has been doled out and New Jersey isn't getting any. 

Wednesday 07/21/2010
Posted: July 21, 2010 - 12:30 pm
A "C" for New Jersey's standards

New Jersey's education standards earned a "C" from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute's "State of State Standards"  released Wednesday.

Tuesday 07/20/2010
Updated: July 21, 2010 - 10:58 am
Nonpublic school commission supports nonpublic schools

The Governor's office late Tuesday afternoon released the report of the Study Commission on New Jersey Nonpublic Schools.

Tuesday 07/06/2010
Updated: July 06, 2010 - 7:06 pm
Moody's watching state college debt

Moody's Weekly Credit Outlook is a bit concerned about the debt load at New Jersey's public colleges.

Wednesday 06/23/2010
Updated: June 23, 2010 - 7:35 pm
School choice bill one step closer to law

The public school choice bill that would allow students to attend public schools in other districts, is one step closer to becoming law.

Monday 06/14/2010
Posted: June 14, 2010 - 12:57 pm
Court rules for Christie on withholding school aid

A New Jersey appellate court has upheld Gov. Chris Christie's authority to withhold excess surplus from school districts this year.

Tuesday 06/08/2010
Posted: June 08, 2010 - 10:05 pm
Abbott students back in court

The Education Law Center is heading back to the state Supreme Court in its battle with the state over funding for children in the 31 urban districts commonly known as the Abbotts.

Tuesday 05/25/2010
Posted: May 25, 2010 - 3:47 pm
Race to the Top II

The number of school districts that have signed up to join New Jersey's federal Race to the Top II application jumped from 171 on Monday to 292 as of 2 p.m. today (Tuesday.) There are 658 public school districts and charter schools eligible to participate.

Sunday 05/16/2010
Posted: May 16, 2010 - 9:36 am
The Accuplacer and me


Monday 05/10/2010
Posted: May 10, 2010 - 10:19 pm
The 2.5 percent solution

Gov. Chris Christie unveiled his promised tool kit Monday. It's designed to help schools, colleges and municipalities spend less and cope with the recession. Like most major legislation, there is something in it for everyone to love or hate. 

Wednesday 05/05/2010
Posted: May 05, 2010 - 8:51 pm
Think pink to save the teachers

 The American Federation of Teachers (the other teachers' union) has launched a "Pink Hearts, Not Pink Slips" campaign to save teaching jobs across the country.

Friday 04/23/2010
Posted: April 23, 2010 - 10:34 pm
The math behind the wage freeze

So here's another reason  to pay more attention in math class.

Monday 04/19/2010
Posted: April 19, 2010 - 9:56 pm
$628 million to save NJ teaching jobs

As voters prepare to head to the polls for one of the most difficult budgets in decades, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez was out Monday  drumming up support for the federal “Keep Our Educators Working Act.” The federal act, sort of a "stimulus II" would create a $23 billion Education Jobs Fund to prevent teacher and education job losses.

Wednesday 04/14/2010
Posted: April 14, 2010 - 9:26 pm
Federal dollars may save school jobs again

A second round of stimulus money could be on the way from the federal government, this batch specifically targeting schools and the jobs they provide.

Sunday 04/11/2010
Posted: April 11, 2010 - 9:13 pm
N.J. still one of top states in reading

New Jersey students continue to score among the top states in reading according to the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress results for students in grade four and eight.

Friday 04/02/2010
Posted: April 02, 2010 - 5:33 pm
Princeton still really, really popular


Monday 03/29/2010
Posted: March 29, 2010 - 9:29 am
Bills would create county school districts

Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula is introducing two bills that would, in effect, create countywide school districts by centralizing public school administration and governance.

Sunday 03/28/2010
Posted: March 28, 2010 - 6:29 pm
Keansburg superintendent won't get payout


Wednesday 03/24/2010
Posted: March 24, 2010 - 8:07 am
Wage freezes and the cold shoulder

Gov. Chris Christie sent a letter to the New Jersey School Boards Association and the New Jersey Education Association Tuesday asking them to consider a wage freeze for 2009-2010 to help save jobs that could be cut because of state aid reductons.

Thursday 03/18/2010
Posted: March 18, 2010 - 3:00 pm
School wage freezes, taxes and budgets

The New Jersey School Boards Association, still reeling from state aid cuts, on Thursday proposed several measures to help school districts get through next year. 

Tuesday 03/16/2010
Posted: March 16, 2010 - 9:36 am
Financial literacy course delay

The state Department of Education wants to delay a new requirement that all high school students get a half-year course in personal financial literacy.

Wednesday 03/10/2010
Posted: March 10, 2010 - 4:48 pm
Final draft of national standards


Tuesday 03/09/2010
Posted: March 09, 2010 - 9:15 pm
Adjusting the adjustment aid

There's been a lot of speculation about school aid for next year, and none of it is good. 

Saturday 03/06/2010
Posted: March 06, 2010 - 6:15 pm
Online lessons for driver's ed.

A new website,, offers New Jersey Driver Education instructors with free, ready-to-use curriculum, videos, and other information.

Monday 03/01/2010
Posted: March 01, 2010 - 10:43 pm
States slowly align high school and college

States are moving closer to aligning high school requirements with college expectations according to a report issued Monday.  But there is still quite a way to go according to the fifth "Closing the Expectations Gap"  report published by Achieve, Inc.  as part of the American Diploma Project.

Wednesday 02/24/2010
Posted: February 24, 2010 - 10:36 pm
Not a great year to become a teacher

It looks like 2010-2011 is shaping up to be the year the recession really hits school districts in New Jersey. And teachers may bear the brunt of the cuts.

Monday 02/22/2010
Posted: February 22, 2010 - 9:48 pm
Bret Schundler has no opinion

Gov. Chris Christie's candidate for Education Commissioner, Bret Schundler  came before the Senate Judiciary Committee Monday for his confirmation hearing. For someone so allegedly controversial, he was pretty low key.   

Saturday 02/20/2010
Posted: February 20, 2010 - 7:17 pm
Picking on the pensions

The state's teacher's union and its members' pensions have been taking a good deal of the blame for pretty much every financial problem in the state.

Thursday 02/18/2010
Posted: February 18, 2010 - 10:06 pm
Making education "realizable"

Acting state education commissioner Bret Schundler had a chummy first meeting with the  Assembly Education Committee Thursday in which everyone agreed that the interests of children should outweigh party politics. Glad they got that out of the way.

Tuesday 02/16/2010
Posted: February 16, 2010 - 9:13 pm
Want to run for the school board?

Everyone has an opinion on how to run their local schools.

Monday 02/15/2010
Posted: February 15, 2010 - 10:51 pm
School choice bill back again

A bill to expand the public school choice program is alive again in the state Legislature.

Saturday 02/13/2010
Posted: February 13, 2010 - 8:11 pm
Using the sun to cut college costs

Residents of the Jersey shore know all about sun worship. We rely on it to help fuel the shore economy.

Friday 02/12/2010
Posted: February 12, 2010 - 9:48 pm
Teacher education at community colleges

            Two state legislators want to make it easier for prospective teachers to start their college educations at a two-year community college.

Wednesday 02/10/2010
Posted: February 10, 2010 - 7:50 pm
Read your report card


Monday 02/08/2010
Posted: February 08, 2010 - 7:55 pm
Limiting substitute teachers

Substitute teachers are supposed to be just that - temporary replacements.

Saturday 02/06/2010
Posted: February 06, 2010 - 1:35 pm
Counting those snow days

It's still snowing out, and too early to tell if schools will open on Monday or if yet another storm may hit. With power outages on top of snow, it's not looking too promising.

Thursday 02/04/2010
Posted: February 04, 2010 - 9:55 pm
Stockton, Montclair improve minority graduation rates

Richard Stockton College and Montclair University have made impressive progress in improving the graduation rates of minority students according to a report by the Education Trust.

Wednesday 02/03/2010
Posted: February 03, 2010 - 11:50 pm
More on school legal costs

The state Department of Education has provided more information about how school district legal costs will be tracked. 

Tuesday 02/02/2010
Posted: February 02, 2010 - 9:45 pm
Watching legal costs

School districts will have to make their legal expenses a little more publicly transparent under new guidelines for how districts file their school budgets.

Monday 02/01/2010
Posted: February 01, 2010 - 9:40 pm
Let the cuts begin

Gov. Chris Christie won't give his budget message until March 16, but school districts are already well into the 2010-2011 budget planning process, and it's not going to be pretty.