Weekly News Brief 12/30-1/5 New N.J. law requires middle-school students to learn about managing finances | ‘What if someone was shooting?’

News Clip


New N.J. law requires middle-school students to learn about managing finances – By Brent Johnson, NJ.com

Middle-schoolers in New Jersey will soon be required to take crash courses — or would it be cash courses? — in how to manage finances.

Acting Gov. Sheila Oliver signed a law Thursday that mandates the state Board of Education include financial literacy instruction in the curriculum for sixth- through eighth-grade students in public schools across the Garden State.

The lessons will begin in the next school year, which starts in September.

“Financial responsibility is an important acquired and learned life skill and with the increasing financial challenges millennials face, it is a skill that must be a necessary part of our educational curriculum," said Oliver, who signed the measure during a ceremony in Jersey City.

Oliver, the state’s lieutenant governor, was acting as governor because Gov. Phil Murphy, a fellow Democrat, was in Washington, D.C.

New Jersey’s state academic standards already require middle schools to teach students about certain aspects of financial literacy, such as the relationship between career choice and income and how the demand for certain skills determines an individual’s earning power. Middle school students are also supposed to learn about taxes.


‘What if someone was shooting?’ - By Steven Rich and John Woodrow Cox, The Washington Post

More than 4 million children endured lockdowns last school year, a groundbreaking Washington Post analysis found. The experience left many traumatized.

Locked behind their green classroom door, MaKenzie Woody and 25 other first-graders huddled in the darkness. She sat on the vinyl tile floor against a far wall, beneath a taped-up list of phrases the kids were encouraged to say to each other: “I like you,” “You’re a rainbow,” “Are you ok?”

In that moment, though, the 6-year-old didn’t say anything at all, because she believed that a man with a gun was stalking the hallways of her school in the nation’s capital, and MaKenzie feared what he might do to her.

Three times between September and November, bursts of gunfire near MaKenzie’s public charter elementary school led DC Prep to seal off its Southeast Washington campus and sequester its students. During the last one, on Nov. 16, a silver sedan parked just around the corner at 10:42 a.m., then the men inside stepped out and fired more than 40 rounds. As MaKenzie’s class hid upstairs, teachers frantically rushed three dozen preschoolers off the playground and back into the building.

“The lockdowns,” as MaKenzie calls them, have changed her, because the little girl with long braids and chocolate-brown eyes remembers what it was like before them, when she always felt safe at her Anacostia school, and she knows what it’s been like afterward, when that feeling disappeared.

School shootings remain rare, even after 2018, a year of historic carnage on K-12 campuses. What’s not rare are lockdowns, which have become a hallmark of American education and a byproduct of this country’s inability to curb its gun violence epidemic. Lockdowns save lives during real attacks, but even when there is no gunman stalking the hallways, the procedures can inflict immense psychological damage on children convinced that they’re in danger. And the number of kids who have experienced these ordeals is extraordinary.


SF lines up paid internships for high school students – By Dominic Fracassa, San Francisco Chronicle

Chances are that in the midst of the winter holidays, few San Francisco high school students are dwelling on summer vacation or the jobs they might take then to earn some money.

But 18-year-old Carolina Orozco is already making plans.

This month, Orozco and more than a dozen classmates gathered in Hilltop High School’s Room 235 to talk with Mayor London Breed about her initiative to provide paid internships and job-training programs for all San Francisco high school students by summer.

Breed announced the project in October, and businesses and city agencies have already pledged to make more than 100 new internships available.