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The Public Education System is Failing Our Kids

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress, aka the nation’s “report card,”  was released last April and its was filled with some very sobering facts on public education. As we head into 2019 the Ridgewood thought it was time to restate some of the findings.

According to the report only 37 percent of 12th-graders tested proficient or better in reading, and only 25 percent did so in math. Among black students, only 17 percent tested proficient or better in reading, and just 7 percent reached at least a proficient level in math.

The atrocious National Assessment of Educational Progress performance is only a fraction of the bad news. Nationally, our high school graduation rate is over 80 percent. That means high school diplomas, which attest that these students can read and compute at a 12th-grade level, are conferred when 63 percent are not proficient in reading and 75 percent are not proficient in math.

For black students, the news is even worse. Roughly 75 percent of black students received high school diplomas attesting that they could read and compute at the 12th-grade level. However, 83 percent could not read at that level, and 93 percent could not do math at that level.

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Nearly Two-Thirds of Americans Can’t Pass a Basic Test of Financial Literacy

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Madeline Farber / Fortune
5:12 PM ET

Apparently the message of the financial crisis didn’t get across

Quick: If you take out a $1000 loan that has a 20% rate, how much will you owe a year in interest?

Answer: $200. But if you got that wrong, you’re not alone. Nearly two thirds of Americans can’t calculate interest payments correctly, according to a new study. About a third said they didn’t even know how.

One of the silver linings of the financial crisis was that it was supposed to have taught many Americans a lesson, albeit painful, about the dangers of debt, and financial issues in general. Apparently, the message, though, didn’t get across.

All told, a new study, which was released today, estimated that nearly two-thirds of Americans couldn’t pass a basic financial literacy test, meaning they got fewer than four answers correct on a five-question quiz. Worse, the percentage of those who can pass the test has fallen consistently since the financial crisis to 37% last year, from 42% in 2009.

http://time.com/4403643/american-financial-literacy-test-fail/

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Ridgewood’s Super Science Saturday : Be Part of Super Science Saturday’s Award-Winning Day

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December 14,2015
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Find out first-hand why Super Science Saturday, the biggest science and technology exhibition in Northern New Jersey, has won a prestigious award from the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame.

Science professionals, parents, teachers and students are all welcome to play a role in making this award-winning event an even bigger success in 2016. Super Science Saturday welcomes new members for the all-volunteer Executive Committee that is planning the next exhibition, scheduled for February 27 at Ridgewood High School.

There also are a variety of other volunteer opportunities for those who are passionate about science and technology and want to be involved in a high-impact program like Super Science Saturday– from helping spread the word about this award-winning exhibition, coordinating with new adult and student presenters or just assisting on the day

The 28th annual Super Science Saturday is a particularly special event, as the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame (NJIOF) recently recognized Super Science Saturday for its

“Advancement of Invention & Process.” This award recognized Super Science Saturday for creating and sustaining this annual half-day exhibition, which showcases the marvels of science and technology for attendees of all ages.

NJIHOF honors inventors whose lifetime work has contributed significantly to the prosperity of New Jersey. Inaugural award winners include Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison. Over the years, NJIOF has recognized Nobel Laureates and prominent researchers in many fields, including those who have pioneered life-saving drugs, and contributed to advanced communications technology, astrophysics and NASA missions.

Super Science Saturday’s Executive Committee is proud to be recognized along with such distinguished award-winners.

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Ridgewood Schools Still Shine but Nationally Math, Reading Scores Slip for Nations’s School Kids

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2015 Ridgewood District-wide Science Testing Report
Click here to read the District-wide State Testing Report for Science 2014-2015, presented to the Board of Education on October 19, 2015 by the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, Cheryl Best.

BY JENNIFER C. KERR
ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON (AP) — Results from national math and reading tests show slipping or stagnant scores for the nation’s schoolkids.

Math scores were down for fourth and eighth graders over the last two years. And reading grades were not much better: flat for fourth graders and lower for eighth graders, according to 2015 results released Wednesday for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) exam.

The falling mathematics scores for fourth and eighth graders mark the first declines in math since 1990.

The results suggest students have a ways to go to demonstrate a solid grasp or mastery in reading and math.

Only about a third of the nation’s eighth-graders were at proficient or above in math and reading. Among fourth graders, the results were slightly better in reading and in math, about two in five scored proficient or above.

The report also found a continuing achievement gap between white and black students.

There were a few bright spots: the District of Columbia and Mississippi both saw substantial reading and math gains.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan urged parents, teachers, and others not to panic about the scores as states embrace higher academic standards, such as Common Core.

“We should expect scores in this period to bounce around some, and I think that ‘implementation dip’ is part of what we’re seeing here,” Duncan said in a phone call with reporters. “I would caution everyone to be careful about drawing conclusions.”

Chris Minnich, executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers, echoed Duncan.

“One year does not make a trend,” Minnich said at a panel discussion Wednesday. “We set this new goal for the country of college and career readiness for all kids. Clearly, these results today show we’re not quite there yet and we have some work to do.”

The Common Core standards were developed by the states with the support of the administration. They spell out what students should know in English and math at each grade level, with a focus on critical thinking and less of an emphasis on memorization. But they have become a rallying point for critics who want a smaller federal role in education and some parents confounded by some of the new concepts being taught.

The NAEP tests, also known as the “nation’s report card,” don’t align completely with Common Core, but NAEP officials said there was “quite a bit” of overlap between the tests and the college-ready standards.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_NATIONS_REPORT_CARD?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2015-10-28-04-16-08

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Why Math geeks are so excited about March 14, 2015, at 9:26:53

Pi

Pi

Why Math geeks are so excited about March 14, 2015, at 9:26:53
BY Rebecca Jacobson  March 13, 2015 at 5:26 PM EDT

It’s a most auspicious holiday for math lovers. Saturday, March 14, 2015 is Pi Day, a celebration of the irrational number that describes the ratio of a circle’s diameter to its circumference. Pi is approximately 3.141592653, but it continues at random to infinity. No matter how many numbers after the decimal place you use, the only way to get it exactly is to use the symbol pi.

Pi Day is a holiday for math (and pie) enthusiasts to celebrate their love of numbers. And this year marks a once-in-a-century occurrence. At 9:26:53 a.m. the date and time will read 3.14.15 9:26:53. That’s 10 digits of pi.

It’s odd for something out of math to become so popular, David Blatner, author of “The Joy of Pi” told the NewsHour in 2013. But there’s something special about pi that people connect with, he said.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/happy-pi-day-how-are-you-celeb

Why Pi Matters

By Steven Strogatz

Every March 14th, mathematicians like me are prodded out of our burrows like Punxsutawney Phil on Groundhog Day, blinking and bewildered by all the fuss. Yes, it’s Pi Day again. And not just any Pi Day. They’re calling this the Pi Day of the century: 3.14.15. Pi to five digits. A once-in-a-lifetime thing.

I’m dreading it. No hope of solving any equations that day, what with the pie-eating contests, the bickering over the merits of pi versus tau (pi times two), and the throwdowns over who can recite more digits of pi. Just stay off the streets at 9:26:53, when the time will approximate pi to ten places: 3.141592653.

http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/pi-day-why-pi-matters

new kind of science

http://mathworld.wolfram.com/Pi.html

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SUPER SCIENCE SATURDAY IS COMING FEBRUARY 28

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SUPER SCIENCE SATURDAY IS COMING FEBRUARY 28

The largest science extravaganza in northern New Jersey, this year’s Super Science Saturday will feature the incredible 25-foot egg drop challenge; the traditional great paper airplance contest and the live rocket launch, in addition to project presentations by students.

Admission is Free
Location: RHS
9 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Super_Science_-Saturday_theridgewoodblog.net_

1.12.15: Workshop Dates are Announced
A three-session workshop will be held on February 13, 20 and 26 from 4:15-6 p.m. at Benjamin Franklin Middle School. This workshop will provide an opportunity for students to choose a project, set it up and lay it out. Click here for more information.

Full details of the day, including registration forms, can be found on the Super Science Saturday website atwww.supersciencesaturday.org.

Super Science Saturday is proudly presented by The Ridgewood Education Foundation  (http://www.ridgewoodedfoundation.org/) and  Valley Hospital (http://www.valleyhealth.com/).

Click here for the latest Super Science Saturday flyer.

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EXPLORE Science for December Recess 12/29

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EXPLORE Science for December Recess 12/29

Explore Science, Inc. offers December Recess

Special Programs to Village Youth

Ridgewood Parks and Recreation welcomes Explore Science, Inc. during the December recess with fun hands-on building events:

Balloon Buggies – Grades K through 2

Monday, December 29th, 10 am to 12 noon, at the Stable, 259 N. Maple Ave.

Cost: $40 per person, all materials provided (non-residents $50 if space allows).

Students will create their own balloon buggy while learning the third law of motion – for every action in nature there is an equal and opposite reaction. The group will enjoy racing fun with their finished projects.

Young Inventors Little Bits Engineering and Robotics – Grades 3 through 8

Tuesday, December 30, at the Stable, 259 N. Maple Avenue.

Grades 3-5, 10 am to 12 noon

Grades 6-8, 1 to 3 pm

Cost: $40 per person, all materials provided (some for on-site use only).

(non-residents $50 if space allows).

Youth will engage in the scientific process of invention with the newest electronic components. Little Bits puts the power of electronics in their hands allowing them to turn something ordinary into something extraordinary. Modules include pressure sensors, LED sensors, sound sensors, fan sensors and more. Students will showcase their inventions at the end of the session.

Register online at www.ridgewoodnj.net/communitypass, or by mail/in person at The Stable, 259 N. Maple Avenue. Locate the registration forms on the Recreation homepage at www.ridgewoodnj.net/recreation.

Don’t hesitate to contact the Recreation Office at 201-670-5560 with questions or if special accommodations are needed.

Callaway RAZR Fit Xtreme & X Hot

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New Jersey making passing new tests a graduation requirement

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New Jersey making passing new tests a graduation requirement

OCTOBER 1, 2014, 4:59 PM    LAST UPDATED: WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2014, 11:59 PM
BY HANNAN ADELY
STAFF WRITER
THE RECORD

New Jersey is making all students pass new tests in English and math or hit a minimum grade on a college admissions exam to get a high school diploma beginning in 2016.

The decision appears to be a reversal for the administration, which had promised the new tests wouldn’t count right away.

Acting Education Commissioner David Hespe denied that the administration was backing off its promise, because the tests will not be the only option. Students can also graduate if they reach certain minimum scores on tests such as the SAT or ACT or can show a portfolio, he said.

Two years ago, Governor Christie publicly endorsed the new tests based on standards adopted by New Jersey and other states. But as the standards, which are known as the Common Core, have grown controversial among parents and conservative voters, the governor has said little publicly about them. In July, he said he would form a commission to examine the new tests and standards, but no members have been announced yet.

Asked whether the governor agreed to the changes, Hespe said, “that’s between you and the governor’s press office.” Christie’s office declined to comment when reached late Wednesday, and the governor was in California for a Republican Governors Association fundraiser.

The change drew rebukes from parents, teachers and education activists who say it’s unfair to rely on tests that are unfamiliar.

– See more at: http://www.northjersey.com/news/new-jersey-making-passing-new-tests-a-graduation-requirement-1.1100217#sthash.qVibM0yy.dpuf

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Space Camp in Ridgewood inspires young students

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Space Camp in Ridgewood inspires young students

July 18, 2014    Last updated: Friday, July 18, 2014, 12:31 AM
By Jodi Weinberger
STAFF WRITER

Ten-year-old Richard Augustine-Hamilton plans on being an astrophysicist when he grows up.

With his best friend, Connor O’Hara, by his side, the two carefully studied the instructions for a model rocket ship, the culminating project of Ridgewood’s two-week Space Camp.

“This isn’t, like, rocket science or anything. Oh, wait…” Connor joked to Richard.

“Imagine how hard it must be to make an actual rocket,” Richard replied, staring at the rocket parts. “I just can’t imagine.”

Each summer, classroom 141 at Hawes School is transformed into a space station of sorts, with the school’s gym serving as the astronaut’s training center and a neighboring classroom housing a planetarium.

It’s Richard and Connor’s third year at Space Camp, so they build the rockets on their own; meanwhile teachers Tom Harney and Tom Trubac guide the other 9- and 10-year-old earthlings through the process.

“I like getting messy,” said Emma Remis, 10, handling a bottle of Elmer’s glue.

Other girls at the table chimed in with their favorite parts of space camp – including the zip lines set up in the gym and hearing stories of the constellations.

– See more at: http://www.northjersey.com/community-news/space-campers-reach-for-the-stars-1.1053597#sthash.fIIhKwdJ.dpuf

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Ridgewood school district’s five-year math review under way

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Ridgewood school district’s five-year math review under way

JULY 11, 2014    LAST UPDATED: FRIDAY, JULY 11, 2014, 12:31 AM
BY JODI WEINBERGER
STAFF WRITER
Print

With big changes in state testing and curriculum standards coming down the pike, the Ridgewood school district is embarking on a five-year review of its math program.

Although curriculum reviews are routine – Superintendent Daniel Fishbein said they are done every five years – part of the process will look at the sequence of classes and lessons to make sure math topics are adequately covered in time for the standardized testing dates.

“The Common Core has come through and has changed the landscape,” said Greg McDonald, supervisor of mathematics, science, and technology.

The review began during the 2013-14 school year with a committee of teachers and administrators researching best practices and analyzing the current program, along with compiling standardized test results and conducting satisfaction surveys.

In response to one question, 100 percent of teachers in grades K-8 said they supplement the current math program in some form.

– See more at: http://www.northjersey.com/news/education/five-year-math-review-under-way-1.1049840#sthash.BPn5Cbam.dpuf