Education News Updates
Under Federal law, State and local educational agencies (hereinafter “districts”) are required to provide all children with equal access to public education at the elementary and secondary level. Recently, we have become aware of student enrollment practices that may chill or discourage the participation, or lead to the exclusion, of students based on their or their parents’ or guardians’ actual or perceived citizenship or immigration status. These practices contravene Federal law. Both the United States Department of Justice and the United States Department of Education (Departments) write to remind you of the Federal obligation to provide equal educational opportunities to all children residing within your district and to offer our assistance in ensuring that you comply with the law. We are writing to update the previous Dear Colleague Letter on this subject that was issued on May 6, 2011, and to respond to inquiries the Departments received about the May 6 Letter. This letter replaces the May 6 Letter.
The Departments enforce numerous statutes that prohibit discrimination, including Titles IV and VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title IV prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin, among other factors, by public elementary and secondary schools. 42 U.S.C. § 2000c-6. Title VI prohibits discrimination by recipients of Federal financial assistance on the basis of race, color, or national origin. 42 U.S.C. § 2000d. Title VI regulations, moreover, prohibit districts from unjustifiably utilizing criteria or methods of administration that have the effect of subjecting individuals to discrimination because of their race, color, or national origin, or have the effect of defeating or substantially impairing accomplishment of the objectives of a program for individuals of a particular race, color, or national origin. See 28 C.F.R. § 42.104(b)(2) and 34 C.F.R. § 100.3(b)(2).
Additionally, the United States Supreme Court held in the case of Plyler v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202 (1982), that a State may not deny access to a basic public education to any child residing in the State, whether present in the United States legally or otherwise. Denying “innocent children” access to a public education, the Court explained, “imposes a lifetime hardship on a discrete class of children not accountable for their disabling status. . . . By denying these children a basic education, we deny them the ability to live within the structure of our civic institutions, and foreclose any realistic possibility that they will contribute in even the smallest way to the progress of our Nation.” Plyler, 457 U.S. at 223. As Plyler makes clear, the undocumented or non-citizen status of a student (or his or her parent or guardian) is irrelevant to that student’s entitlement to an elementary and secondary public education.
To comply with these Federal civil rights laws, as well as the mandates of the Supreme Court, you must ensure that you do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, or national origin, and that students are not barred from enrolling in public schools at the elementary and secondary level on the basis of their own citizenship or immigration status or that of their parents or guardians. Moreover, districts may not request information with the purpose or result of denying access to public schools on the basis of race, color, or national origin. To assist you in meeting these obligations, we provide below some examples of permissible enrollment practices, as well as examples of the types of information that may not be used as a basis for denying a student entrance to school.
In order to ensure that its educational services are enjoyed only by residents of the district, a district may require students or their parents to provide proof of residency within the district. See, e.g., Martinez v. Bynum, 461 U.S. 321, 328 (1983).1 For example, a district may require copies of phone and water bills or lease agreements to establish residency. While a district may restrict attendance to district residents, inquiring into students’ citizenship or immigration status, or that of their parents or guardians would not be relevant to establishing residency within the district. A district should review the list of documents that can be used to establish residency and ensure that any required documents would not unlawfully bar or discourage a student who is undocumented or whose parents are undocumented from enrolling in or attending school. As with residency requirements, rules vary among States and districts as to what documents students may use to show they fall within State- or district-mandated minimum and maximum age requirements, and jurisdictions typically accept a variety of documents for this purpose. A school district may not bar a student from enrolling in its schools because he or she lacks a birth certificate or has records that indicate a foreign place of birth, such as a foreign birth certificate. 1 Homeless children and youth often do not have the documents ordinarily required for school enrollment such as proof of residency or birth certificates. A school selected for a homeless child must immediately enroll the homeless child, even if the child or the child’s parent or guardian is unable to produce the records normally required for enrollment. See 42 U.S.C. § 11432(g)(3)(C)(1).
Moreover, we recognize that districts have Federal obligations, and in some instances State obligations, to report certain data such as the race and ethnicity of their student population. While the Department of Education requires districts to collect and report such information, districts cannot use the acquired data to discriminate against students; nor should a parent’s or guardian’s refusal to respond to a request for this data lead to a denial of his or her child’s enrollment. Similarly, we are aware that many districts request a student’s social security number at enrollment for use as a student identification number. A district may not deny enrollment to a student if he or she (or his or her parent or guardian) chooses not to provide a social security number. See 5 U.S.C. §552a (note).
If a district chooses to request a social security number, it shall inform the individual that the disclosure is voluntary, provide the statutory or other basis upon which it is seeking the number, and explain what uses will be made of it. Id. In all instances of information collection and review, it is essential that any request be uniformly applied to all students and not applied in a selective manner to specific groups of students. As the Supreme Court noted in the landmark case of Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954), “it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he [or she] is denied the opportunity of an education.” Id. at 493. Both Departments are committed to vigorously enforcing the Federal civil rights laws outlined above and to providing any technical assistance that may be helpful to you so that all students are afforded equal educational opportunities. As immediate steps, you first may wish to review the documents your district requires for school enrollment to ensure that the requested documents do not have a chilling effect on a student’s enrollment in school. Second, in the process of assessing your compliance with the law, you might review State and district level enrollment data. Precipitous drops in the enrollment of any group of students in a district or school may signal that there are barriers to their attendance that you should further investigate.
We are also attaching frequently asked questions and answers and a fact sheet that should be helpful to you. Please contact us if you have additional questions or if we can provide you with assistance in ensuring that your programs comply with Federal law. You may contact the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Educational Opportunities Section, at (877) 292-3804 or email@example.com, the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at (800) 421-3481 or firstname.lastname@example.org or the Department of Education Office of the General Counsel at (202) 401-6000. You may also visit http://wdcrobcolp01.ed.gov/CFAPPS/OCR/contactus.cfm for the OCR enforcement office that serves 2 Federal law provides for certain limited exceptions to this requirement. See Pub. L. No. 93-579, § 7(a)(2).For general information about equal access to public education, please visit our website at http://www.justice.gov/crt/edo and http://www2.ed.gov/ocr/index.html.
We look forward to working with you. Thank you for your attention to this matter and for taking the necessary steps to ensure that no child is denied a public education.
In his final budget address, Governor Chris Christie on Tuesday proposed a total of $13.8 billion in education funding for 2017-2018, with approximately $9.2 billion going to direct aid to schools.
During a conference call with the state’s education organizations prior to the budget address, Acting Commissioner of Education Kimberley Harrington said that no school district will receive less in aid in 2017-2018 than it did this year. (See school aid chart.)
School districts receive their individual state aid notifications within two days of the Governor’s address. Local school districts must use these state aid numbers in budget development.
School Funding Reform In his address, Christie ripped the current school funding statute, the School Funding Reform Act of 2008 (SFRA), as unsustainable. And he called for the Legislature to take quick action on developing a new school finance system.
“…in the last few months I have finally heard the leaders of the legislature admit what I’ve been saying for eight years – this system is unfair and broken,” he said in his remarks as prepared.
“I pledge to work with the leaders of the legislature to come up with a new funding formula. Everything is on the table. No idea out of bounds for discussion. I am willing to work with you to solve this problem without any pre-conditions on the ideas brought to the table.
“However, here is my one requirement to offering compromise. 100 days,” he said. “We have 100 days to get this done.”
Meaning of 100-Day Timeline It was not clear if the Governor intends for a new formula to be in effect for the 2017-2018 school year, or if he simply wants to reach an agreement with the Legislature within 100 days. A 100-day timeline, however, would bring agreement on a new formula past the deadlines for finalizing 2017-2018 school budgets (May 12 for most districts) and striking school tax rates (May 19).
Nonetheless, Christie made it clear that his intention was to have a new school funding system ready before he leaves office next January.
“I want to act with you. But, if forced, I will act alone. But it will be fixed before I leave this town,” he said.
Last June, Christie proposed a new system, termed the “Fairness Formula,” which would base school aid on a single per-pupil allotment, regardless of community wealth.
Calls for change have come from both sides of the aisle. Senate President Steve Sweeney wants to maintain the SFRA, but address funding inconsistencies resulting from the fact that the act’s funding formula has not operated for a number of years.
NJSBA: Must Serve All Students “Once again, local school districts face another year of flat funding, a situation that does indeed warrant a long, hard look at the state’s school finance system,” said Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod, NJSBA executive director. “Operating costs don’t remain flat. It is difficult to sustain programs with flat funding year in and year out.
“Any change to school funding must be implemented in a rational and fair manner,” he continued. “A school funding system must recognize the educational needs of all students. And it must recognize a community’s ability to pay for its schools.
“There should never be ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ when it comes to the lives of children.”
Pension/Benefit Funding Christie’s budget also increases state contributions to the state’s pension systems. State funding for the Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund will increase by $411.5 million to a total of more than $1.5 billion. State contributions to teachers’ post-retirement medical benefits will increase by $69.6 million, to an amount close to $1.2 billion.
Christie addressed the state’s long-term pension problem by proposing the dedication of lottery revenue to the state funds.
“The contribution would have the immediate effect of reducing the unfunded liability of the pension system by approximately $13 billion, and would increase the funded ratio of the pension system by almost 15 percentage points in one fell swoop, from 49% to 64%,” he said.
“This would also significantly reduce the amount we have to pay into the pension system every year out of the general fund.”
In addition, the Governor called for extension of the health benefit reforms adopted by the State Health Benefits Program’s plan design committee to other state-operated health programs. In her pre-budget address telephone conference, Acting Commissioner Harrington said that adoption of the reforms by the School Employees Health Benefits Program would save $43 million.
NJ schools being pushed to deal with chronic absenteeism
The number of bullying incidents reported in New Jersey’s public schools declined in 2015-2016 and showed a significant drop over the past five years, according to the annual report on violence, vandalism and substance abuse released by the NJ Department of Education (NJDOE).
The Violence, Vandalism and Substance Abuse in New Jersey Public Schools report for 2015-2016 was issued last week. The report is produced each year to give an account of self-reported incidents from districts, and includes the numbers of offenses involving violence, vandalism, and weapons; substance abuse; and harassment, intimidation and bullying (HIB).
Overall, the total number of incidents reported in New Jersey’s public schools last year – 19,181 – was higher than the 18,332 reported in the 2014-2015 school year, but roughly the same as the year preceding that, and less than in 2012-2013.
The number of violent incidents reported this year, meanwhile, 8,261, is nearly identical in number to the 8,252 reported in the 2011-2012 school year, following three years of a slight decrease.
Regarding bullying, the report also showed an increase in the number of trainings offered in schools to reduce HIB and the number of programs offered to combat HIB.
“We are committed to finding ways to build a safer school climate and culture for our students,” said Acting Education Commissioner Kimberley Harrington. “The data in the report can be useful in helping schools improve the learning environment for students.”
Understanding that year-to-year fluctuations in the data can be erratic, reviewing the past five years of reporting can help explain longer-term trends, according to a press release issued by the NJDOE. The data shows that over the last five years from 2011-2012 to 2015-2016, offenses in four of the five major reporting areas – vandalism, weapons, substance use, and HIB – have declined.
According to the NJDOE press release:
In 2015-2016, which was the fifth full year of school districts reporting HIB in a separate category, 5,995 HIB incidents were reported by schools. This is lower than in 2014-2015, with 6,214 HIB incidents, and a marked reduction from the first year of HIB incident reporting in 2011-2012, when it was 12,024.
At least one affirmed bullying incident was reported in 1,452 schools in 2015-2016. Among schools with no affirmed HIB cases, 50 percent reported at least one HIB investigation during the school year. A majority of the schools reporting no affirmed bullying incidents were elementary schools. This number is lower than in 2014-2015, when 1,520 schools reported HIB incidents.
Schools reported providing 17,671 trainings related to reduction of HIB – a substantial increase from the previous year’s report of 14,810 trainings. The number of trainings focusing on “social skills/relationship improvement, characteristics or needs of individuals, or groups at risk for HIB,” and “social norms” grew the most from 2014-2015 to 2015-2016, increasing by 28, 25, and 25 percent, respectively.
School districts offered 25,114 programs, approaches, or initiatives to reduce HIB incidents in the 2015-2016 school year – a substantial increase from the 20,725 in 2014-2015.
Looking over the past five years, there has been some decline in reports of substance use, possession, or distribution on school grounds.
There were 3,010 incidents of substance abuse cases in 2015-2016 compared to 3,482 in 2011-2012.
75 percent of substance cases in 2015-2016 involved marijuana on school grounds with 2,270 incidents. Alcohol is the substance with the next highest frequency of use on school grounds, with 468 cases representing 16 percent of the total substance abuse incidents.
Vandalism has dropped slowly and steadily every year.
Vandalism incidents dropped from 1,924 in 2011-2012 to 1,423 incidents in 2015-2016.
Theft has decreased since 2011-12, while damage to property has increased slightly.
The number of incidents involving weapons has been relatively stable over the past five school years with some declines overall.
In 2015-2016 there were 1,000 incidents involving weapons reported, while in 2011-2012 there were 1,125 incidents.
There were two handgun incidents in 2015-2016 compared to six in 2014-2015, 99 incidents with air guns in schools in 2015-206 compared to 110 in 2014-2015, and 30 incidents with imitation guns in 2015-2016 compared to 28 from 2014-2015. There have been no rifle incidents reported by schools in the past three years.
The 8,261 violent incidents reported this year are nearly identical in number to the 8,252 reported in the 2011-2012 school year. In the three years following the 2011-2012 school year, reports of violent incidents had slightly decreased annually. However, it is unclear whether the increase in reports of violent incidents from 2014-2015 to 2015-2016 is related to an actual increase in violence in schools, or whether it reflects an increase in accuracy of reporting at the local level.
Updated training manuals, targeted monitoring visits, and additional outreach to districts during the 2015-2016 school year may have resulted in more accurate reporting by school districts. The department is monitoring the data and pledges to assist schools in implementing programs and training to address local issues as needed.
The department has been working with districts to ensure accurate reporting, and help them identify programs, practices and other resources to improve school climate. Some examples of this include: developing a new data-collection system to track violence and bullying; implementing recommendations of the Anti-Bullying Task Force; examining evidence-based practices and research in the fields of social-emotional learning; and providing a tiered system of supports to develop approaches that serve New Jersey students.
The Violence, Vandalism and Substance Abuse in New Jersey Public Schools report, which is presented annually to the governor and Legislature, transparently communicates the changes in self-reported incidents from year to year. However, the report does not analyze the reasons for the changes.
The Violence, Vandalism and Substance Abuse in New Jersey Public Schools report and summaries of district- and school-level data are available on the NJDOE’s website.
Catherine Carrera , Staff Writer, Published 11:33 p.m. ET Jan. 31, 2017 | Updated 11:35 p.m. ET Jan. 31, 2017
HILLSDALE – Cold, wet weather on Tuesday night didn’t stop about 100 parents from going to Pascack Valley High School to learn how letting their kids fail can foster their child’s competence and self-reliance.
The tips came from Jessica Lahey, a New York Times bestselling author, who was invited by multiple school districts in the Pascack Valley to talk about the benefits of letting children experience disappointment, which she says will help them become resilient adults.
Pascack Valley Regional High School, Emerson, Westwood, Park Ridge, Hillsdale, Montvale, River Vale and Woodcliff Lake school districts co-sponsored the event, which is in its second year.
Lahey, who lives in New Hampshire, is a teacher, writer and mother of two boys, ages 18 and 13. Her work, which focuses on education, parenting and child welfare, has been featured in The New York Times and The Atlantic and on Vermont Public Radio, among other publications and news outlets.
Her talk focused on her book, “The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed.”
“Over-parenting affects kids’ learning,” Lahey said.
She told a familiar story about a child who forgets their homework and relies on a parent to come swooping into school to deliver it.
Parents in that position could instead give their children a chance to develop a strategy to help address the issue of forgetting their homework, she said.
Lahey spoke from personal experience. She said her youngest son would consistently forget his homework. His strategy was to develop a checklist every night, listing things he needed to get done the next morning before school. His list included everything from getting dressed to brushing his teeth and putting his homework in his backpack, Lahey said.
“In four years, he forgot his homework twice,” she said.
“The title of my book is 'Gift of Failure' not because I want kids to fail,” Lahey said. “I want them to learn positive adaptation to failure. When we give kids the opportunity to talk about the fact they got something wrong, or did something wrong, they learn from that. And that’s called having a growth mindset.”
In her book, Lahey said she provides parents with a plan to help them step back when their children fail in various aspects of their lives, whether it's homework, social dynamics or sports.
Gina Pantoliano of Park Ridge, a parent who was in the audience, said she wants her 15-year-old daughter to grow up to be a self-reliant adult.
“I like to coddle my daughter, and I realize sometimes that isn’t always the best way for her to grow,” Pantoliano said. “I want her to grow up to be strong and independent and resilient.”
Another parent, Julie Nuciforo of Park Ridge, said she thinks many parents are “taught” to do everything for their kids, but realizes the dangers of following that mindset.
“We want to help our kids and we want to step in and save our kids, but sometimes, it seems, the better lesson is to let them fall on their bum and let them pick themselves up,” said Nuciforo, a parent of 11- and 14-year-olds. “Falling and getting back up is a skill everybody needs.”
JOHN MOONEY | SEPTEMBER 6, 2016
School funding and state controls for Newark and other cities, PARCC graduation requirements and superintendent caps — It could be a bumpy ride. State Commissioner of Education David Hespe has announced that he will be stepping down. Over the course of Gov. Christie’s administration, each year in New Jersey education policy and political intrigue seems to surpass the last.
There were the deep cuts in state aid in his first year, only to be followed by the Race to the Top drama, a new teacher tenure law, charter school wars, and most recently, PARCC testing.
Now entering Christie’s last year in office, the 2016-2017 school year is sure to be no exception, with the governor looking to cement his legacy, especially when it comes to core issues like funding and charters, while schools themselves grapple with their own challenges.
But education will have stiff competition for campaign attention in the coming year, as the state’s fiscal crunch shows no signs of letting up and problems with public-employee benefits and The Transportation Trust Fund continue unabated.
The new school year started off early with a bang, with Friday’s announcement that state Education Commissioner David Hespe would be stepping down. It has been long rumored; Hespe’s 30-month tenure at the department were as tumultuous as any.
His successor, chief academic officer Kimberley Harrington, comes from inside the department and will be the first former public schoolteacher to hold the position in more than a decade.
But that is just one change expected to be coming in the next eight months, as New Jersey schools and the policies that dictate them continue to go through seismic shifts.
Here are a few of the big topics — and questions — sure to be part of the new school year:
What, if anything, is going to happen to school funding?
Let’s start with this one, given how the state funds public education determines so much for schools. But it is maybe the least certain of all, with so many moving parts.
Christie has put forward a proposal that would essentially blow up the state’s current funding formula with a one-size-fits-all approach that would provide every district the same amount of per-pupil in aid.
Senate President Steve Sweeney, a likely gubernatorial candidate, has a more modest plan that would leave the formula in place but seek to make it more equitable.
Neither proposal has moved much since the spring, and the political prospects will likely dim as the state moves closer to the 2017 election and the campaigning that will precede it.
Nonetheless, Christie still holds the most powerful gubernatorial seat in the country, and he has plenty of chances — including in his next and final state budget — to keep it on the front burner.
And as school districts see their finances only getting tighter under the pressures of current funding and the state’s property tax caps, there is real question to how long the current situation can last.
How much will the gubernatorial election help or hinder public schools?
The school funding question aside, education is sure to be a prime topic of debate among those who want to succeed Christie — potentially setting the agenda for years to come.
Sweeney has been quick to jump on the topic, not just with his school-funding plan but also a separate proposal to expand preschool statewide. A business-funded group, PreK Our Way, has already launched a public campaign to press legislators and candidates to get on board, and it has vowed significantly more to come.
Meanwhile, how sacrosanct will Christie’s signature issues be, given his historically low approval ratings? Will candidates run against his embrace of charter schools? Will PARCC testing see a reverse with a new governor? Will the governor’s aggressive control of some districts give way to more flexibility?
Will this be the year that state control ends in Newark and elsewhere?
State and local dignitaries gathered in Newark City Hall last month to announce a plan for moving that city’s schools out of state control after more than 20 years.
The plan came out of a working group appointed by Christie and Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, and at least for a day, there was relative harmony about the state ceding controls sooner than later.
But many hurdles remain, from whether the harmony can be sustained to the logistical and financial questions to what local control will look like. A prime question is the state of the district’s finances; even the state’s appointed superintendent Chris Cerf has warned against the continued loss of resources to charter schools.
Nonetheless, the state appears to have smoothed the runway for at least some significant movement, approving a waiver for Newark to meet academic performance benchmarks — maybe the toughest hurdle of all. Further, the key benchmark of governance controls and the ability to hire the superintendent could come as soon as next summer.
Other state-run districts are watching closely. Jersey City is already close to full local control, and Paterson hopes to make the next move. The newest of the state-run districts, Camden isn’t near a similar transition as yet, but will be embarking on a new universal enrollment system this year and will continue to adapt to the growth of hybrid charter model known as renaissance schools.
Is the PARCC storm over?
The advent of the PARCC testing was the story of 2015, with tens of thousands of students sitting out in protest and teachers and other educators raising questions about the merits of the new online testing. But last spring’s testing proved less eventful, as schools continued to adjust and the opt-out movement appeared to slow.
Two years into a four-year contract with the PARCC consortium, the state’s adoption of PARCC could still go either way.
Debates could pick up again this year as the Christie administration moves to increase the weight that PARCC results will have on teacher evaluations from 10 percent in the first two years to 30 percent next year.
This comes after the State Board of Education also moved to make passing PARCC’s 10th grade language arts test and its Algebra I test required for high school graduation, starting with the Class of 2021.
The state will also be setting its policies in the coming year to meet the new federal education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and student performance on PARCC testing will play a key role in determining the state’s interventions in districts.
At the same time, Hespe and the state Department of Education maintain that districts continue to adapt to the new testing, indicating that they will see benefits in quicker and more sophisticated data. Districts this year have already received scores from last spring, unheard of in prior testing, allowing them to adjust instruction for individual students from the very start of the year.
Will this be the end of the superintendent salary cap?
This November marks the official expiration of Christie’s controversial limits on superintendent pay to no more than $175,000 — his own salary — for the preponderance of districts.
The caps have led to an upheaval in superintendent ranks, with dozens leaving the state or retiring early and others seeing their pay being surpassed by their own subordinates.
But despite the criticisms, Christie has yet to show much aversion to the limits, and now comes the time where he can make changes, ending them altogether or adding an inflation index or other adjustment.
Or he can do nothing at all, leaving them in place for another seven years.
By Times of Trenton Editorial Board
on September 22, 2016 at 7:00 AM, updated September 22, 2016 at 10:10 AM
If your fourth-grader comes home from the Robert Mascenik School #26 in Woodbridge Township and tells you she has no homework that day – believe her.
The elementary school, one of 16 in the township, has joined the ranks of schools nationwide that have dared do the unthinkable.
Its administration has placed family time over homework time, sending the message that building strong interpersonal relationships is a better use of time than memorizing the multiplication tables or identifying the major exports of Peru – although these are certainly worth knowing.
"The most important things students can do when they go home each day are play, eat dinner with their family, engage in conversations, help with family responsibilities and chores and read by themselves or with a family member," school principal Judith Martino wrote in a letter to parents.
The administration recently announced it is instituting homework-free periods for the upcoming academic year, setting aside one free weekend each semester and barring tests and projects from coming due immediately following a school break.
Another district school, Port Reading School #9, will also take part in the experiment, putting them on the cutting edge of a movement in New Jersey and elsewhere to make away-from-school time more meaningful and less stressful for today's students.
In the past few years, West-Windsor Plainsboro, Princeton and Hopewell have made similar moves. Princeton public schools announced last academic year that it was instituting homework-free periods, not only setting aside one weekend each semester but also barring tests and projects from being due immediately after a school break.
This may take parents and grandparents a while to process, especially if they're used to overseeing endless worksheets and drills teachers have traditionally send home.
But there's been much thinking in the academic world about how worthwhile these assignments are, and how truly effective they are in training young minds for the challenges ahead.
"If you think back to your own educational experiences, how many homework assignments did you do to get them done just so that you didn't get a bad grade," said Woodbridge Township School District Superintendent Robert Zega. "And how many of the did you really learn from?"
In this newer approach, responsibility lies equally with the teachers to create meaningful opportunities for students to learn during their after-school hours, and with the parents/caretakers to made sure these hours are used wisely and productively.
A study last year by the American Journal of Family Therapy found that at the elementary-school level, too much homework not only creates a negative attitude towards school, but also erodes youngsters' self-confidence, their social skills and their quality of life.
We're all for giving New Jersey's children the competitive edge they need to succeed, but we can't help feeling in our guts that in the case of homework, less is more.
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