Sunday Leftovers

The Star-Ledger reports on DOE changes to high school graduation testing requirements:
New Jersey's new class of high school freshmen won't have to pass the PARCC exams to graduate, and some students in 11th grade will be exempt from taking PARCC's English test this year, the state's Department of Education announced today.
In a memo sent to school superintendents, the department announced that it would extend the graduation requirements currently in place for high school seniors, juniors and sophomores to the Class of 2019, the new freshmen class.
That means those students can use a passing score on The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exams to meet graduation requirements, or they can instead use their scores on the SAT, ACT or other college entrance exams to prove they are ready to graduate.
NJ Spotlight looks at the complaint filed by Education Law Center and the ACLU against the DOE's announcement, which claims that the state bypassed proper process and is out of compliance. Here's the press release from ELC. The Asbury Park Press Editorial Board weighs in.

Education Week looks at changes in the "rancorous atmosphere that had come to dominate school board meetings during the rocky tenure of Cerf's predecessor, Cami Anderson, who stepped down in early July," although the "new superintendent's first formal outing late last month before about 200 residents, parents, students, and teachers was by no means a love-fest."

In other news from Newark, the district and the union representing custodians, techs, nurses, and security personnel just agreed to a new contract that, says the Star-Ledger, "eliminates an old step-up pay scale, and replaces it with a performance-based evaluation system. The employees will be evaluated each June. The reviews will be used to determine their salary increases and promotions, officials said."

Parents in Tenafly are upset because teachers boycotted Back-to-School night to express dissatisfaction that the union and school board haven't completed contract negotiations. Also see coverage from The Record.

NJ Spotlight looks at chronically absent students and a new study that "finds one in four districts in 2013-14 had a high number of students missing school at least 10 percent of the year." Also see the Star-Ledger and the Press of Atlantic City.  Cecilia Zalkind, executive director of Advocates for Children of New Jersey, says there is an "epidemic" of absenteeism in N.J. and suggests some "inexpensive" and effective" strategies.

Asbury Park officials are encouraging dads to walk their kids to school.

Jersey City Schools Superintendent Marcia V. Lyles "pledges" in the Star-Ledger that the district "will prepare our students for college and career. We will work each day to ensure that every student, from pre-k to high school, is prepared for a productive future."