July 18, 2015 |
A tougher test - coupled with stricter standards for evaluating the students who take it - has prompted a steep decline in this year's scores on the state's main school-achievement exam, as well as a surge in the number of children failing to earn a "proficient" rating. The news that the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) test scores fell for a fourth consecutive year has also sparked a growing debate over the fairness of using the falling scores from a changed test to evaluate teachers and struggling public schools.
May 30, 2015 |
Gov. Christie on Thursday disavowed the controversial Common Core education standards he once supported and directed his education commissioner to consider developing New Jersey-specific goals. Christie, a Republican considering running for president in 2016, had warned for months that he had "grave" concerns about the standards, which conservatives denounce as federal encroachment on the classroom. "We have to reject federal control of New Jersey's education," Christie told an audience of about 150 at Burlington County College.
March 19, 2015 |
Eighteen months after Gov. Christie reluctantly signed a law lifting the state's ban on edible medical marijuana - in response to parents of severely ill children who had lobbied for a kid-friendly form of cannabis - the administration is signaling a readiness to approve marijuana-infused tablets, drops, syrups, and other products. Michael Weisser, CEO of Garden State Dispensary in Woodbridge and president of the state's dispensary operators association, said the issuance of standards last week will allow him to revive plans he made a year ago to manufacture edibles for children.
February 28, 2015 |
U.S. Sen. Robert P. Casey (D., Pa.) called on the federal government Thursday to expedite the adoption of new standards for more robust oil-tank cars. Casey, in a letter to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), said the agency should move quickly in its review of new railcar standards following the latest oil-train accident and explosion, Feb. 16 in West Virginia. "We want the administration to have a greater sense of urgency to get this out the door," Casey said in a conference call with reporters.
February 21, 2015 |
From a Washington Township third grader to grandparents, educators, and parents, speaker after speaker at a public hearing Thursday rose to voice displeasure - or worse - with New Jersey's emphasis on high-stakes standardized tests. Most had come to complain about the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), a new and controversial exam aligned with Common Core curriculum standards. It will be given to third through 11th graders statewide starting March 2. "PARCC is a not-yet validated test that is wasting valuable classroom time for both teachers and students," said Natalia Reyes, an Eastampton mother of three, speaking to a state student assessments study commission at Camden County College in Blackwood, where the hearing was held.
February 19, 2015 |
New Jersey's largest teachers' union launched a six-week television and online advertising campaign Tuesday featuring parents and teachers voicing their concerns about a controversial standardized test soon to be administered statewide. With the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) about to be presented to students in grades three through 11 starting March 1, the ads criticize standardized tests as causing stress in children, narrowing education, and taking time and resources from other subjects and programs.
February 16, 2015 |
As a new, highly controversial standardized test draws near, the ranks of New Jersey parents opting their children out of the exam are growing, as is the number of school districts scrambling to draft policies on how to deal with the budding revolt. It's all about PARCC - the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, one of two tests developed with $360 million in federal funds and aligned with the Common Core curriculum standards. PARCC's proponents say it is a more rigorous test than the New Jersey state tests it is replacing and will help achieve the goal of high school graduates who are career- and college-ready.
July 29, 2014 |
What started out as a shared goal of improving academic standards to prepare students for college and the workforce has collided with ideological differences over states' rights and rigid opposition to President Obama. Caught in the middle is Gov. Christie, a possible presidential contender in 2016 who has made education reform a pillar of his tenure but who must be careful not to alienate potential conservative supporters now denouncing the standards as federal encroachment on the classroom.
February 10, 2014
Pennsylvania's judiciary has produced a breathtaking run of scandal, from the highest court to the lowest (Philadelphia's Traffic Court); from kids sentenced for cash, the subject of a new documentary, to tickets fixed for crab cakes (Traffic Court again). It's small consolation, but consolation nevertheless, that it wasn't all for naught. As of July, the state's judges will be governed by a substantially strengthened Judicial Code of Conduct in line with national ethical standards. While the overhaul can't correct all the judiciary's flaws - especially the elections at the root of its problems - the new standards address many of the shortcomings revealed by the scandals of recent years.
January 2, 2014 |
When Jim McLaughlin first learned about federal efficiency standards for lightbulbs - and that incandescents would change or go away - he had but one thought: Stockpile! Two years ago, the Broomall resident bought cases of bulbs. Wednesday, as the final phase of standards kicks in, his inventory has lessened. But at age 71, he figures - and hopes - his bulbs will outlast him. "We have none of the new-generation bulbs in our house, and I plan to keep it that way," he said, adding not quite facetiously, "I'm a grumpy old man. I don't want anyone telling me what to do. " In nearby Wallingford, energy efficiency aficionado David Director is ecstatic about the new bulbs.