The Best Online Master's Programs of 2020 - Investopedia

The Best Online Master's Programs of 2020 - InvestopediaThe Best Online Master's Programs of 2020 - InvestopediaUW Students Learn How to Operate Drones in New Online Course | News - University of Wyoming NewsBachelor's Degree Center Releases National Rankings of History Degree Programs - PRNewswireThe Best Online Master's Programs of 2020 - InvestopediaPosted: 26 Oct 2020 12:58 PM PDT What Is an Online Master's Degree Program?An online master's degree program, is, as the name suggests, a graduate-level degree that can be completed partially or fully online. Other than where students are located, as online master's programs have matured, there are essentially no differences between classes offered virtually and in-person. Among the programs listed here, the professors, curriculum, assignments, and testing are all the same. Some online master's programs require attending the live lecture virtually, while others allow asynchronous viewin…

A Different Kind of College Ranking - Washington Monthly

A Different Kind of College Ranking - Washington Monthly

A Different Kind of College Ranking - Washington Monthly

Posted: 31 Aug 2020 12:00 AM PDT

It's safe to say that the current generation of college students is getting an education unlike any other in American history. They spent the spring and summer in pandemic-induced disruption, isolation, and stress, with vanished jobs and internships, taking hastily arranged online classes, and, in most cases, paying the same tuition that they would have if they had been on campus.

Check out the complete 2020 Washington Monthly rankings here.

Now, as students are beginning their fall semester, the virus is still not under control. Most have been offered the option of continuing to take online classes while being urged, and in some cases all but forced, to move back on campus and attend in-person classes by colleges that need the dorm revenue—a vast socio-epidemiological experiment that will likely be abandoned amid sickness and unnecessary death. Those attending poorly resourced state schools—disproportionately minority and low-income students—probably aren't even getting the benefit of the weekly or daily virus testing that elite private schools are providing.

Current college students have also gotten a real-world education in the power of political activism. This summer, in the wake of George Floyd's killing, large numbers of them took to the streets in support of Black Lives Matter. In November, these same students will have a chance to vote in a national election, many for the first time. It will, to say the least, be no ordinary election—especially for young people, who, by definition, will have to live with the consequences longer than older Americans.

These searing generational experiences are likely to have long-term consequences none of us can predict. But it is a good bet that in the short term they will lead today's college students to demand fundamental change from the institutions they experience most directly: the colleges and universities they attend.

What might they demand? Well, for starters, they are going to want to see schools make a greater effort to do right by students who are Black, Latino, and Native American, or who come from low-income backgrounds. They are going to want to see colleges double down on their efforts to produce the research and technologies that will create the new high-paying jobs they will need to sustain themselves, as well as the solutions to climate change and other existential threats. And they are going to want their institutions not just to tolerate their civic activism but to sincerely encourage it.

What today's students could use is a reliable tool to gauge how well their colleges measure up on these demands. As it happens, there is one. The Washington Monthly's annual college guide ranks individual schools based on how well they promote upward mobility, research, and civic engagement. These criteria are quite different from those employed by U.S. News & World Report, which ranks schools based on their wealth, exclusivity, and prestige. The resulting lists of best colleges are, naturally, quite different too, and those differences reveal a great deal about what is right and wrong with the American higher education system. 

The first thing to note about our top 20 national universities is that 11 of them are state schools. By contrast, in the U.S. News rankings, 19 of the top 20 national universities are elite private ones. The public universities on our list range from prestigious flagships like UCLA—the only public university in U.S. News's top 20—to institutions that don't even crack U.S. News's top 50—including the University of Washington, Texas A&M, and Utah State University. In fact, Utah State, number 10 on our list, ranks number 254 on U.S. News's.  

You might also notice that a number of the elite private national universities that score in U.S. News's top 20 do less well on ours—including Northwestern (number 30 on our list), Brown (37), and Johns Hopkins (54). There are differences, too, in the liberal arts category. Berea College, ranked third on our list, is 46th on U.S. News's. St. Mary's College of Maryland, number 29 on our list, is number 92 on theirs.

There's a simple explanation for these divergences: The two magazines are, in many ways, not measuring the same things. U.S. News relies on such metrics as student SAT/ACT scores, alumni donations, and the results of a survey it conducts of academics and administrators, asking them to gauge the reputations of their peer institutions. These aren't bad measures if you're an upper-income family trying to get your kid into a fancy school. None of this data, however, factors into the Washington Monthly's rankings, because we don't think it's relevant to the question we're asking, which is this: Which colleges deliver the best results for taxpayers—who invest more than $150 billion annually in student financial aid—and for typical students, especially those who are minorities, the first in their family to attend college, or of modest means?

Instead, the Washington Monthly's rankings are based on data U.S. News incorporates barely or not at all. These include the net price a school charges lower-income families (part of our social mobility category), how many of its students go on to get PhDs (part of our research category), and the degree to which it encourages its students to vote (part of our service category). 

The most noteworthy overlap between our lists and U.S. News's is at the tippy top—the Stanfords, Harvards, and Yales of the country. These universities are not only prestigious and selective. They also provide generous financial aid to the lower-income students they admit. The operative phrase, however, is "lower-income students they admit"—because they don't admit many. For purposes of comparison, consider the University of Florida, ranked 15th on the Monthly's rankings. Last year UF graduated more low-income students receiving Pell Grants than did Stanford, Harvard, MIT, Yale, Princeton, and Duke combined. (It is also the seventh-biggest producer of science and engineering PhDs in the country and gets a near-perfect score for its support of student voting.) And it manages this extraordinary feat without the kind of huge endowments that the Ivy League schools use to fund their student aid packages—endowments larger than the GDP of many countries. So while the elite schools deserve kudos for generosity toward their lower-income students, their model of financing—graduate students who go on to insanely lucrative careers in investment banking and then kick back a portion of their outsized gains to the university—isn't exactly admirable, or remotely replicable. 

This gets at a larger point: The system in which colleges are forced to operate—and that the U.S. News rankings both reflect and enable—is rigged in favor of the wealthy and well connected, and that system has to change, for the good of the country. 

You can see this most clearly in the fate of many small, private nonprofit schools that aren't havens for wealthy students. Hiram College of Ohio, for instance, has a proud history—President James Garfield was an alum—and performs well on our rankings. It ranks third on our bachelor's colleges list, in part for enrolling large numbers of first-generation college students and sending them off to PhD programs and the Peace Corps. But Hiram has also struggled financially. In 2014, deep in debt, it dropped several majors, including art history, and added more in-demand ones, like sports medicine. It also recently cut its tuition in an effort to attract more students. While these tough but necessary moves helped, the pandemic again throws its future into question. 

Another worthy but financially stressed institution is Canisius College, a private Jesuit school in Buffalo, New York. Canisius ranks in the top fifth of our list of master's universities because its graduation rate is far higher than student demographics would predict, and its students go on to get PhDs at high rates. But COVID-19 has forced the college, which was already struggling, to announce layoffs and eliminate several majors. 

The pandemic may be hastening what some have long predicted: the eventual demise of many private nonprofit colleges. The vulnerable ones are those that serve ordinary rather than elite students. Open-access public colleges and universities are also at risk, not of extinction so much as of being further hollowed out by cuts to their funding from state governments whose tax revenues are plummeting. 

An influx of federal money may stave off immediate disaster. But it won't slow the overall trend of a higher education system in which schools that attract the well-off grow richer while those that serve everyone else grow poorer—forcing non-affluent students to pay ever-higher tuition, take on ever-growing amounts of debt, and mortgage their futures.

What America needs is a New Deal for higher education—one that will reverse this trend while maintaining the institutional diversity and autonomy that has long made this country's higher education system the envy of the world. In this issue, the longtime Washington Monthly writer and guest editor Kevin Carey proposes such a plan . We think it's brilliant and pragmatic, and we hope you will, too. 

Change can't come quickly enough, especially for students of color, who are hurt the most by the inequities baked into the current system. We know, for instance, that Black students disproportionately attend under-resourced community and four-year colleges; have to take on higher levels of debt than white students to pay for it, on average; graduate at far lower rates; and, even when they do graduate, earn less in the workforce. 

What we don't know is how individual colleges contribute, for better or worse, to these outcomes. That's because little of the federal data that researchers—and this magazine—use to assess college performance is broken down by race. Until that changes, imperfect workarounds are the best we can do. We gave it a shot in this issue by tapping a new data set from the U.S. Department of Education to create a first-ever list of colleges where majors popular with Black students lead to decent-paying jobs. 

Elsewhere in this issue, Daniel Block examines some new thinking among Black academics about how to help more students of color enter and succeed in STEM fields. Jamaal Abdul-Alim looks at a program that was wildly successful at boosting completion rates at two-year schools, and why policymakers let it wither away. And Anne Kim reports on a technical training program that employers are actually willing to pay for—one that focuses on soft skills. 

Since we began publishing our annual college rankings in 2005, we've been warning that America's higher education system is an inequitable, unsustainable mess that rips off too many of the students it is meant to help. Now, with that system teetering on the brink, we may be at an opportune moment to fundamentally change it. And the current generation of students, the most screwed yet, may be the ones to push us to finally act.

Will Washington-area schools publicly report coronavirus cases? Many say no. - The Washington Post

Posted: 30 Sep 2020 03:51 PM PDT

This can make it hard to discover whether a school system has suffered an outbreak. When an employee in Montgomery County Public Schools' central office recently tested positive for the virus, news of the case trickled out informally. Spokeswoman Gboyinde Onijala confirmed it Wednesday, saying she could not release more details due to medical confidentiality but anyone potentially exposed was notified and the superintendent and school board had been informed.

But there are a few bright spots: Loudoun County Public Schools in Northern Virginia, for example, sends schoolwide emails whenever a student or employee case emerges, as well as blasting an alert to local media outlets. The school system of 82,000 has followed this policy ever since campuses shut down in March, even though Loudoun students are pursuing remote learning this fall and do not physically set foot in school buildings.

Last week, this led to a string of notifications, as eight employees across five middle schools and one elementary school tested positive for the virus in seven days.

"From the beginning, this transparency was important to me and the school board," Schools Superintendent Eric Williams said. "There is so much stress from ambiguity relating to the pandemic, and so it's a small step to take away some uncertainty, because parents and staff members know we're going to let them know."

As October gets underway — the month when many school districts in the D.C. area have said they will return select groups of students to classrooms — anxious parents, public health experts and elected officials are calling for more transparency. They want to see swift and uniform reporting of cases.

"We haven't gotten any emails or any sort of information about reported cases — emails, texts, anything," said Anna Konschak, parent to a kindergartner in Fairfax County Public Schools. "I would love to see it."

State Sen. George L. Barker (D-Fairfax), who has two grandchildren enrolled in the Fairfax school system, recently introduced legislation in the state Senate that would require school systems to publicly report outbreaks of the coronavirus.

Barker said the bill — a version of which has passed in both the Senate and the House, and is likely to land on the governor's desk within the next two weeks — does not specifically define what counts as an outbreak. He suggested somewhere between two to five cases should force disclosure.

"It's important for the public to have this information so they can be able to make decisions," Barker said.

In a statement, Gov. Ralph Northam (D) said he is "committed to transparency and he strongly supports this legislation." He added he is "looking forward" to the bills reaching his desk.

The debate over reporting in D.C. and its suburbs mirrors a larger conflict playing out nationwide. School districts throughout the country have been reluctant to release information about virus cases — although that may be shifting.

In late August, Louisiana officials debuted a disease surveillance website that offers data on coronavirus cases at K-12 schools throughout the state. In Texas, the state government on Sept. 8 began requiring that school districts file weekly reports on new coronavirus cases among students. And in late September, 24 members of Congress signed a letter urging the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to begin publishing national data on coronavirus cases in schools.

Those arguing against disclosure sometimes point to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and the federal Family Education Rights and Privacy Act. But those laws do not forbid public school systems from publishing data about cases, provided the information released does not give out personal information about the infected.

In fact, the U.S. Education Department published a letter specifically urging the disclosure of school cases back in March. "School notification is an effective method of informing parents and eligible students of an illness in the school," the letter argues.

D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) has not said how or if city officials will publicize school-related virus cases. The D.C. Health Department has said it is not disclosing outbreaks at day cares to the public.

The public school system in the nation's capital is online-only, but officials said that they are considering bringing back groups of students starting Nov. 9, and that they will notify the entire school community if someone tests positive in the building. KIPP DC, the city's largest charter network, said it is following similar protocols. The network said it has had no positive cases since some in-person learning started this fall.

Recently, at least three staff members in the traditional public school system who had been in school buildings tested positive for the virus. School officials then sent notices to employees at each individual campus. Students were not in the buildings at the time.

"This is a topic that we know that teachers and families want a complete understanding of how it works," Bowser said Monday. "When we talk about our schedule for Nov. 9 we want to have sample language that they will receive in the event — if there is an event — of a case at their school. It will be all outlined."

In the Maryland suburbs, it's not easy to find data about school-related outbreaks. The health departments in Prince George's and Montgomery counties do not post numbers about school-related cases, and neither do public school systems.

In Montgomery County, Health Officer Travis Gayles said his department has launched roughly 50 contact investigations at private and parochial schools since mid-August, which cumulatively identified at least 15 schools with positive cases. But Gayles has not released the name of any school, citing privacy and ongoing investigations.

A string of classes had to quarantine. Health officials classified one outbreak as "extensive," with a large volume of potential contacts. At one Catholic school, a teacher tested positive, the class was quarantined — and then a student tested positive, according to the Archdiocese of Washington.

The Montgomery County school system, Maryland's largest, with more than 160,000 students, remains in a distance-learning mode, without students on campus. Nonetheless, employees who have returned to school grounds have tested positive: more than 60 between March and Sept. 10. Officials have closed eight school buildings and one maintenance depot for cleaning and sanitizing, according to Onijala, the spokeswoman for the school system.

Some have urged that data be fully disclosed and easily accessed.

"I believe the public has a need to know and a right to know, and there's no need to have people speculate or jump through hoops . . . when this is a matter of public health," said Patricia O'Neill, a Montgomery County Board of Education member.

Schools in Prince George's County, which are also in all-virtual learning, required an open-records request before officials would produce any information about employees who tested positive or schools that have seen cases. A request filed by The Washington Post is pending.

In this environment, the Archdiocese of Washington may stand out: When asked, it has released the names of parish schools that experienced a case. The archdiocese began opening campuses in August; since then, it has confirmed positive cases at three schools — two in Maryland and one on Capitol Hill.

Maryland House Majority Leader Eric G. Luedtke (D-Montgomery) said school officials must balance between the need for transparency with legitimate privacy concerns. He warned against the possibility of fostering "covid stigma," but said that the state should set a standard for sharing information and that schools should be identified.

"We report in detail test scores for schools," he said. "Why can't we report coronavirus cases?"

A spokesman from the governor's office, Michael Ricci, said in an email that state and local health officers have discussed standardizing case data for schools, but some school systems raised privacy concerns.

In Virginia, as the bill requiring school reporting works its way closer to becoming law, school districts are taking varying approaches.

In Alexandria City Public Schools, which serves 16,000 students, little information is public. Asked how many employees and students had tested positive for the virus, spokeswoman Helen Lloyd said the division did not "have a data source for this information." Asked whether it planned to track and publish cases, Lloyd said "this would not be our remit." Alexandria city government officials referred all questions back to the school system.

Arlington Public Schools spokesman Frank Bellavia said 11.7 percent of school staff have "been excluded from work due to COVID health and safety procedures," and noted that this statistic is published on the system's coronavirus dashboard.

Bellavia said Arlington has no data on any of its 28,000 students because the school system is offering online-only learning. He refused to say how many schools within Arlington have seen cases of the virus, calling building-level data "private health information." Bellavia said Arlington officials notify only "relevant classes/schools/or individual[s]" of coronavirus cases, and do not publish a countywide alert.

Fairfax County Public Schools spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell said the school system of 189,000 students has identified 26 cases — all employees — since March. She noted that officials made this data available to the public in a Sept. 22 school board report.

Cases within Fairfax are ­self-reported to school officials, Caldwell said, which she admitted means "we might not have a complete figure" of coronavirus cases. When the school system becomes aware of a case, it notifies the Fairfax County Health Department, which conducts contact tracing. The school system also notifies "school communities [and] families in conjunction with health department coordination," Caldwell said.

In an interview, Fairfax Superintendent Scott Brabrand said he would like to see a statewide database tracking coronavirus cases at schools. The Virginia Health Department on Monday took a step in that direction, debuting a website that allows users to inspect "14-day case incidence" and "14-day percent positivity" by school district — but does not reveal the case count at individual schools.

"The bottom line is we want to build transparency and trust," Brabrand said. "I think the state building a dashboard mechanism for schools is the way to go."

Loudoun, meanwhile, is continuing with its internal tracking and notification processes. The school has identified 105 cases of the virus since campuses shut down, spokesman Rob Doolittle said, including 99 staffers, three nonstaff visitors and three students. Doolittle also provided a three-page PDF listing every Loudoun coronavirus case, the school affiliation of the infected individual and the last day that person visited school property.

Williams, the Loudoun superintendent, said the decision to rigorously compile and publish coronavirus data was "immediate and natural," agreed upon months ago informally — and unanimously — by himself, his top staff and members of the school board.

Williams conceded that the data may have "limited practical value" for most Loudoun families and staffers given campuses have remained closed, and mostly unused, since March.

"But symbolically, we felt it was important," he said. "And by now people don't really think about it one way or the other: It's expected, that's how we proceed, and that's how we're going to proceed."

Princeton School Board Candidate Profile: Beth Behrend · Planet Princeton - Planet Princeton

Posted: 30 Sep 2020 02:48 PM PDT

Beth Behrend

Education: I am a product of public schools, originally from Hartland, Wisconsin. I hold a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a J.D. and LLM degrees from the University of Michigan Law School. While I am President of the Board of Education, I am responding here as a private citizen and am not representing the board in any way.

Why are you the right candidate for the school board? I have a proven track record of bringing positive change for our students and am ready to tackle the challenges ahead without a learning curve. I bring professional skills in law, finance and governance; years of community service; deep PPS knowledge as a parent and volunteer; board experience; and strong professional relationships across the District, the community and around the State. In the two years I've been Board President, we have: Stabilized District finances, balancing the budget with $500,000 in cost savings and recently announcing a $2.9 million surplus to cushion against at least $1.4 million in Covid-related expenses and uncertain future State funding; Taken concrete steps toward equity by initiating free Pre-K, adopting a restorative justice approach to discipline and reducing suspensions by 70% in one year, and approving a revenue-neutral, strategic device initiative that provides all students equal access to technology through district-owned computers (with broadband connectivity thanks to an anonymous donor); Improved building maintenance, cleanliness and sustainability by hiring an experienced new facilities director; and Successfully implemented taxpayer-approved referendum projects, updating school facilities with HVAC and health and safety improvements.

What are the top three challenges the board must urgently address? We must continue making progress towards more equity and inclusion, meeting the needs of all students. We can do this by: Evaluating and ensuring accountability for initiatives already underway — and supporting and including our most vulnerable students from Pre-K onward; Updating and expanding facilities to creatively and cost-effectively accommodate enrollment increases, which are expected to increase by 10% over the next 5-7 years; and Ensuring we have adequate funds to support excellence for all students in our schools, through continued cost savings, effective spending and advocacy at the County and State level for new sources of revenue/savings.

Please name the top three qualities the next superintendent of schools should possess to lead the district. How would you evaluate the relationship between the board and the retired superintendent? From a governance perspective, how do you think you want to improve the board-superintendent relationship? We need a permanent superintendent who: Shares our community's values around equity and inclusion, with a proven track record; Develops and inspires organizational excellence, building teamwork and trust among staff, administrators, board and the community; and Brings experience and 21st century thinking to curriculum development and enrichment opportunities to meet the diverse needs of our students, preparing them for the future. As a Board member, by law I am not permitted to speak about specific personnel matters. I will note, however, that I have enjoyed an excellent working relationship with both our current and our past superintendents. Well-governed boards are continually learning and developing, together with senior staff, in order to be a more effective leadership team. NJ law is clear that the superintendent administers the schools, while the board oversees and ensures that they are well-run. State law requires board members to support staff in the proper performance of their duties. The Board's most important job is to hire an experienced educational professional to administer the District, guided by clear and measurable annual goals that reflect the community's values for education. I would welcome further professional development for our Board to help us attract and retain a top-caliber superintendent.

Do you support continuing the sending/receiving agreement with Cranbury? Why or why not? What are the criteria under which you would reevaluate the viability of that agreement? If the agreement proves to be economically unfair for the Princeton residents, would you let the potential legal procedure deter you from taking actions to terminate the send-receive relationship? Elaborate. Yes, the Cranbury relationship is an excellent example of a shared services benefiting both districts. Nearly one-third of NJ districts have send-receive relationships because they make fiscal sense and benefit students. The Cranbury relationship provides PPS with its third largest source of revenue, approximately $5 million per year (nearly 5% of our budget), outside of the 2% tax levy cap, which supports PHS educational offerings, operating costs and facilities costs. The State determines Cranbury tuition based on an audited cost-per-student number, including interest on facilities bonds. The costs associated with educating the Cranbury students at PHS, where they make up an increasingly smaller percent of the student population, are a much smaller amount, so PPS receives additional marginal revenue (over $2 million) from this arrangement. NJ law requires board members to support past board decisions, and I support the existing agreement. If a majority of the Board wished to reevaluate, I would reconsider if advised by professionals that the arrangement no longer made sense for PPS mission and finances (including legal costs of dissolution) and that, at the end of the day, the State would potentially approve a dissolution.

The charter school is sometimes pointed to as a significant financial burden for the school district. Do you agree with that statement? If yes, how do you think PPS can hypothetically accommodate the 400+ Princeton Charter School students without increasing the tax burden of Princeton taxpayers to fund the additional facilities and staff required to educate them? The State law governing the PPS and PCS financial relationship is not optimal for either PPS or PCS, and I look forward to potential joint advocacy at the State level to more effectively meet the financial needs of both entities. In the past, State law has seemed to pit the two against one another but the bottom line is that we both serve Princeton students. That is why PPS and PCS are working together to foster a positive relationship, by meeting regularly to discuss shared interests, including ways to find cost savings (such as the adjustment of bus routes and residency checks) and how to support the students we share. There is no plan to remove PCS and transfer all of their students to PPS.

Please provide your opinion on whether the school district is making strides or not when it comes to equity in education. Yes, we are outperforming state averages and neighboring districts in student growth rates as measured by the Department of Education in nearly all categories, but we have a ways to go. Positive steps, including free Pre-K and instructional coaches, training in microaggressions and culturally responsive teaching, racial literacy courses and restorative practices (decreasing suspension rates by 70%), were introduced or expanded during my first term on the Board. Since March, PPS has sent buses into the community on a weekly basis to provide 500 students and their families with daily meals. We've invested significant resources in staff positions and initiatives that have had some impact in improving "equity in education" for our students, but lasting change takes time. We should better communicate, measure and assign accountability for these ongoing initiatives and investments. We know who our most vulnerable learners are and should be supporting them K-12, measuring which supports appear to have an impact and which do not. The Board should receive regular updates through a "dashboard" of data — year-to-year growth in standardized testing is only one measure; we must also continue to gather data from climate surveys and third party assessments like the special education review due back later this year.

How will you improve diversity in the school district administration and faculty? I will encourage the administration to continue recruiting a diverse selection of qualified candidates (40% of total hires over the last several years have been educators of color) through trips to historically black colleges and universities, targeted job fairs, advertising through associations and networks and reaching out to candidates of color to encourage them to apply. Once we hire diverse candidates, we need to provide development opportunities and professional and personal supports to ensure they stay.

Do you think the approx. $530,000 spent on the concession stand and restrooms at the high school stadium was a good investment or not? Why or why not? Yes. The PHS field restroom facility, which is handicapped-accessible and supports our commitment to gender equity, includes secure, all-season storage, and a small space for booster clubs to raise funds through concessions and was identified as the Athletics Department's highest priority included in the referendum approved by Princeton taxpayers in December 2018. We had no basis on which to overturn the public's vote. The Board began implementing construction of this facility this summer by accepting the lowest bid (lower than the taxpayer-approved estimate). Prior to accepting the bid, at the recommendation of the administration, the Board moved the facility to a more accessible location, reduced the size, added space for external bottle-filling, and compared pricing and pro/cons of prefabricated modules and wood structures. The facility will provide sanitary, accessible and convenient restrooms for our female athletes and spectators, space for State-mandated ice for practices, and aligns with our commitment to student health and well-being.

Should the school district still try to buy Westminster Choir College? Why or why not? Should the WMCC site become available in the future, free and clear of litigation, I would be open to considering a recommendation that PPS, alone or together with the municipality, purchase a portion of that site. However, this would be subject to any required taxpayer approval by referendum. And any such recommendation would need to be based on professional advice regarding the feasibility of and need for the site for school use, and a financial analysis of any proposed project, purchase price, and impact on the PPS operating budget.

Do you believe the school district should buy more property or just use its existing properties/sites if the district needs to expand its buildings to serve more students? What would you use new sites for or how would you use existing land/buildings? Please explain your thinking in detail. This question is difficult to answer in the abstract. I support using our existing properties as efficiently as possible but will rely on data and professional recommendations to ultimately make decisions impacting our schools and community for decades to come. Last year, the Board retained a school planning firm (MMI) to analyze PPS buildings, sites, and educational programs in light of rising enrollments. MMI's work was interrupted by the pandemic; a report is expected later this year. This will greatly help our understanding of our property capacities, how to further maximize what we have, and plan for what additional space we may need for the future. While Board members may bring to the table expertise and backgrounds in education, law or other professions, we are prohibited from acting in those capacities. Rather, we are charged with making data-based decisions, on behalf of the community and in the interest of students, based on recommendation of the administration, using outside professionals as appropriate.

Do you agree with the school board's decision to purchase Apple computers and tablets or should the board have considered other alternatives? Why or why not? Yes, I agree. The district considered Acers, Chromebooks, and tablets, but none of them matched Apple in functionality, support, or residual resale value. We also looked at bring-your-own-device models, but private devices pose practical and cost issues with tech support, licensed software, and teacher/district access. Furthermore, private devices cannot be used for standardized testing, all of which is done via computer — and now the District no longer has to purchase separate devices specifically for this purpose. The devices (iPads for K-2, Chromebooks for 3-5, and MacBook Airs for 6-12) were purchased with the existing technology budget at no additional cost to taxpayers. This decision was recommended by the Interim Superintendent (who has extensive experience creating and running online schools) and an internal working group that researched teaching and testing needs, upfront costs and maintenance. We also consulted pro bono with Princeton University's Chief Technology Officer and the head of Bucks County Intermediate Unit Technology group (a shared service that supports 100,000 students). This initiative is not only fundamental to providing high-quality remote learning to all students—a necessity through June 2021 per the Governor's orders—but substantially advances equity by leveling the technology playing field.

Do you think the school board should keep or abolish the communications policy that was adopted in November? Why or why not? What are your thoughts on the policy? The Board's policy on Communicating with the Public (#1100 in the Board Policy Manual), was adopted on September 23, 2008, and last revised on September 4, 2018. The voluntary communications guidelines accepted by the Board in 2019 reflected board consensus and were based on a NJ School Boards Association "best practice" template, which restated the legal obligations of school board members under NJ law. They are now moot, however, because every January, the Board reorganizes and decides how to work most effectively as a team, to accomplish the work of the district on behalf of students.

Some Princeton parents have had the experience that the school district resists giving students credit for material they have already mastered. Students have been forced to repeat subjects that they can already show proficiency in. When permitted by state law, do you believe that PPS should give students credit for existing knowledge and place them in the appropriate classes? Explain your answer. If I am reelected, when the Board next sets goals, I would recommend that academic advancement be reviewed across the District to ensure that there are clear guidelines and processes for placement in all academic subjects, including computer science and languages, and that these are posted publicly and applied equitably, with consideration being given to equity, student wellness and engagement.

What will you do to prevent increases in Princeton property taxes? What are the alternatives you propose? I am in favor of doing everything possible to limit the growth of property taxes by working within the 2% tax levy cap and searching for ways to do better than that. This past year, the Board balanced the budget by finding savings of $500,000 through a culture shift to priority-based budgeting, and by making changes to the staff prescription drug plan and procurement. This past month, the superintendent announced a surplus of $2.9 million, which will act as a cushion against at least $1.4 million of Covid-related expenses, deferred maintenance and anticipated cuts in future State funding. As long as labor contracts and benefits comprise 77% of the budget (83% if one takes out mandatory payments to PCS), we will need to grow revenue significantly or find major cost reductions to keep the general fund levy from rising. It is essential that we continue to focus on already identified opportunities, while thinking creatively, to deliver a great education more cost-effectively.

Do you believe that teachers who are at a higher risk of COVID who have asked to work remotely should be allowed to do so or should have to choose between working in the school buildings or taking a year of unpaid leave? Please explain your answer. As a board member, I cannot comment on personnel matters. I can speak to the fact that, pursuant to the Governor's orders, PPS is required to provide an in-person hybrid model of school. To do so, we need teachers to be in the classrooms with our students. PPS cannot afford to hire substitutes to teach children in person while paying teachers to stay home. To address concerns and to keep our students and staff safe, we have spent nearly $1.4 million so far on health and safety improvements in our buildings and PPE for our staff, while adopting a split schedule to maintain required social distancing. In addition, students have the option of opting for all-remote learning. If teachers are not comfortable returning to our buildings, we have offered them the option of a one-year unpaid leave of absence (and we will replace them with a substitute). Where possible given numbers of students choosing remote, some teachers who wish to stay home may be assigned to teach an all-remote cohort.

How would you propose to expand PPS pre-k education now that the governor has signed legislation to provide school districts with more pre-k funding? Over the past two years, the District was able to expand tuition-free Pre-K twice, and it is now available to 75 children, including some 3-year olds and a dual-language Spanish class, by applying for a State grant of over $700,000 and partnering with the YWCA to provide additional teachers and classrooms. The District also began collaborating with local preschools to help promote parent education and to help better understand the local demand for additional free Pre-K. If additional funds do become available from the State, and the District determines there is a need for more spaces for low-income students/students receiving services, I would be supportive of the District's applying for additional State funding to expand the program further because early childhood supports have been shown to increase long-term learning outcomes and to reduce classification rates.

The recent administration presented a budget that cut support and teachers for struggling students, and the board approved it. Do you think this was the right decision given budget constraints or what would you do differently? The most recent budget, approved in April 2020, was balanced with no cuts to staff or programs, due to the introduction of priority-based budgeting and over $500,000 in savings found by our new business administrator. NJ law requires Board members to support past decisions of the Board, while remaining free to indicate the reasons why they may have voted against. In the case of the budget approved in April 2019, I supported the decision and voted for it.

How do you plan to advance the special education/general education inclusion goals in the face of the blend of in-person/virtual programming? I will support our administrators as they develop schedules to provide appropriate services to our students with often multiple and differing needs, in both remote and hybrid settings, given the scheduling, staffing, resource and other challenges of running a school district of 3800+ students during a pandemic. I will continue to encourage innovative and creative thinking outside the box to develop policies which promote inclusion and inclusive practices and find ways for special education and general education students to be together learning and socializing in our schools

How has the current school board fallen short and how will you improve? How do you plan to restore trust and credibility of the board or do you think it is already trusted and credible? Based on public comment at board meetings and my personal interactions with community members, I believe that a large majority of people in our community view the Board as trusted and credible. During the campaign, I have been fortunate to hear from many community members who have been overwhelmingly positive about the work of the Board over the past two years, including our work to cut spending and stabilize the budget, improve building maintenance and carefully implement referendum projects, the initiation of free Pre-K, the food delivery to 500 families during the pandemic process and our hiring of three talented new senior administrators and an experienced interim superintendent who is leading us through an extremely complex school restart. We always welcome dialogue with the community as to how and what we can do better.

The candidate questions were submitted by readers. We received questions from more than 100 residents. Many questions were similar and we chose a variation of the question or combined them. We eliminated questions that were obscure or unrelated to the schools, and questions that were actually statements and were not really questions.We did not edit answers unless they exceeded the word limit. All candidates were given the questions at the same time and the same deadline for completing them.

Americans Want In-Person Bar Exams, Poll Finds -

Posted: 30 Sep 2020 10:27 AM PDT

Law school graduates line up to take the New York bar exam at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in July 2013. Photo: Monika Kozak/ALM

The bar exam is under an unprecedented amount of pressure amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with four states now offering pathways to practice that bypass the test and mounting calls for the elimination or radical reinvention of the attorney licensing exam.


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