Education

New Jersey reported another 524 cases of coronavirus Friday, bringing the state’s cumulative total to 170,584 since the start of the pandemic.

Another 44 residents died as a result of COVID-19. The state’s confirmed and probable fatalities now stand at 14,914.

School to reopen in September with restrictions

New Jersey schools will offer some form of in-person instruction this fall, but many students may also learn remotely, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Friday.

New Jersey school districts can now see how much state funding to expect next year, after Gov. Phil Murphy announced the aid levels Thursday morning.

Cities and towns across the Garden State eagerly anticipate the school funding announcement, especially after the state changed its school funding formula in 2018 and altered how districts share state money.

Murphy said that an overall increase in “formula aid” — $337 million more than last year — would help lower the cost of property taxes, which are largely driven by local education costs.

A judge ruled Friday that a major lawsuit against the state of New Jersey over racial and socioeconomic segregation in the public school system can move forward.

The complaint, first filed in 2018, alleges that New Jersey has de facto segregation of its public school system, because district boundaries roughly align with municipal boundaries, which are largely segregated by race and wealth.

A few New Jersey lawmakers want to end the stigma for students who are unable to afford school breakfasts and lunches by having the state pick up the tab.

Legislation set for a hearing in the state Senate Education Committee on Thursday would appropriate $4.5 million to cover the full cost of reduced-price school breakfasts and lunches beyond what federal reimbursements cover.

Citing thousands of computer science jobs going unfilled, the administration of Gov. Phil Murphy is offering $2 million in state grants for New Jersey schools to establish or strengthen their computer science programs.

At a Monday afternoon press conference announcing a new computer science state plan, Murphy said that increasing access to this kind of education is critical to training students for careers in high-tech.

Ang Santos / WBGO

A teacher in Ramsey, New Jersey is the latest recipient of a $25,000 award from an organization that honors educators for their work in the classroom.

Ramsey High School social studies teacher Daniel Willever can add the Milken Educator Award to his resume.  

Two New Jersey lawmakers want to allow college athletes to earn money from sports, as more states look to lift a longstanding ban on students profiting from university athletics.

“Universities are making immense profits from their athletic departments, and while students receive scholarships, one serious injury can leave them with no scholarship, no way to pay for the remainder of their degree, and no real path on how to move forward with their life or their career,” said State Sen. Sandra Cunningham, D-Hudson, who sponsored the New Jersey Fair Play Act.

New Jersey’s public schools could better equip themselves to provide mental health services to students, according to a new report.

An analysis from the New Jersey School Boards Association laid out strategies for districts interested in better serving students with mental health issues.

Frank Belluscio, deputy executive director of the New Jersey School Boards Association, said one major factor is getting students to trust staff members.

If you type “Andrew Kortyna” into Google, the top results reveal he was fired from a tenured professorship in Pennsylvania after he retaliated against two female students who accused him of sexual harassment.

But officials at Stockton University say they weren’t aware of that part of Kortyna’s record when they hired him in August to a $64,000-a-year post as a visiting assistant professor of physics.

Students say they raised concerns with administrators about the professor the day before the university’s board formally approved his hiring on Sept. 18.

A pair of New Jersey lawmakers are calling on Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration to make $100 million available so schools can update their water system infrastructure.

“In my mind, this is an emergency. It can’t continue to delay,” said state Sen. President Steve Sweeney, D-Gloucester.

Last year, voters approved a ballot initiative that would allow the state to borrow $500 million for schools, with $100 million meant to be doled out to protect students and faculty from lead contamination in the water.

The gender and racial makeup of New Jersey’s teaching workforce does not resemble the state’s student body, according to a report released Monday.

Researchers at the progressive think tank New Jersey Policy Perspective, which published the report, said the demographic imbalance could have negative effects in the classroom.

A handful of New Jersey high schools will push back their school day start times under a new pilot program administered by the state Department of Education.

Proponents of later start times argue that sleep deprivation makes high school students anxious, stressed, and less focused on classwork.

Two new laws in New Jersey will help students compare college costs more easily and protect them from potentially unfair lending practices.

Officials say the laws are meant as safeguards for students across the state who are taking on growing financial burdens to attain advanced degrees.

N.J. considers eliminating cap on superintendent pay

Jun 10, 2019

New Jersey lawmakers are considering eliminating a statewide cap on the salaries of superintendents, which would allow school districts to set higher pay and attract new applicants.

Former Gov. Chris Christie instituted the cap in 2011 to lower school district budgets and help drive down property taxes, but some people viewed the cap as a political stunt that did not achieve its stated goal.

A strike has been averted at New Jersey’s largest public university after Rutgers reached a tentative deal with the school’s main faculty union, which had been working without a contract for nearly a year.

The proposed four-year contract includes pay hikes for faculty members, pay equity measures for female and minority instructors, and better job security for some non-tenured professors.

Advocates on either side of New Jersey’s school funding debate made their views clear in Trenton Wednesday, as legislators kicked off their first round of public hearings on the next fiscal year’s budget.

Although the meetings are open to anyone who wants to speak, testimony was dominated by those weighing in on recent changes to the state’s school funding formula, which reduced aid to some districts and increased it to others.

A New Jersey appeals court has struck down state regulations dictating how high schools use the PARCC exams.

In a New Year’s Eve opinion, the three-judge panel scrapped state Department of Education rules that said schools had to give an English test in tenth grade and an Algebra test in any high school year and that students had to pass them to graduate.

According to the opinion, that policy violated state law, which says New Jersey high school students must take one combined exam in eleventh grade to determine whether they can get a diploma.

Initially billed as a cost-cutting measure, the New Jersey superintendent salary cap failed to save money and instead resulted in a higher probability that superintendents across the state would quit, according to new research from Rutgers University.

A non-profit foundation that works to improve public policy decisions in New Jersey says prompt action is needed to provide a high-quality public education for all children in the state.

Former Chief Justice Doborah Portiz chairs the Fund for New Jersey. She’s says it time for the state to give the school districts what they are were promised under the 2008 School Funding formula.

“We need to fully fund SFRA under the formula, not in any transition mode anymore, not with transition funding, but fully fund it.”

Ang Santos / WBGO

It’s been over twenty years since the state took control of Newark Public School’s because of low graduation rates and overall poor student performance.  It’s been a rocky road for the city’s education system since, and many residents believe not much has changed over the course of time.

At First Avenue School in Newark’s North Ward, about 100 city residents gathered to hear Mayor Ras Baraka’s latest updates on regaining local control of schools.  They had their own concerns.

Ang Santos / WBGO

Ever dream of securing that law degree but didn’t have the time to pursue it?  Seton Hall is launching a program to make entry level law degrees more accessible to working professionals. 

Kathleen Boozang, Dean of Seton Hall University School of Law says they’re launching a weekend program at the Newark campus to work around people’s family and work schedules.

“Two-thirds live, one-third online, so each semester the students attend in person classes eight weekends a semester, every other weekend.  Then in the off week they work in small groups with the professor online.”

Is Free Tuition Coming to NY Public Colleges?

Jan 3, 2017
Ang Santos / WBGO

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is proposing to offer free tuition at New York public colleges for eligible residents.

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plan, ‘The Excelsior Scholarship,’ would provide free tuition to State or City University of New York colleges for residents whose families earn less than $125,000 a year.

“College is a mandatory step if you really want to be a success.  The way this society said we’re going to pay for high school, because you need high school, this society should say we’re going to pay for college,” Cuomo said.