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Agenda: State Board of Education

QSAC is still on the docket, but this meeting will also see the announcement of the NJ Teacher of the Year.

Date: Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Time: 10 a.m.

Place: NJ Department of Education, 1st floor conference room, 100 River View Plaza, Trenton

What they are doing: Time for the state board to get into the details of revising the state's monitoring system, with a few important developments since the last discussion. On a more celebratory note, New Jersey's Teacher of the Year will be announced, a chance for the state to recognize the stars in its classroom. Also, a new report on early childhood education will be presented, this one focusing on administrators. And stepping back, the board wants to talk a little more about its own role in the big issues facing schools.

QSAC again: A testament to the slow pace of change of the state's regulatory process, the board is finally getting back to discussing proposed revisions to the district-monitoring regulations, called QSAC (Quality Single Accountability Continuum). The department has come back with some revisions to its plan to streamline the process, this time adding some language about student progress and also what subjects matter most in the new scoring system. Arts educators especially had raised some concerns that the streamlining would narrow the curriculum still more. In the meantime, a recent report from a governor's task force has raised still more questions about the value of QSAC in general, with acting education commissioner Chris Cerf not hiding his hopes to overhaul the system.

Early childhood, top down: Advocates for Children of New Jersey is presenting a report on its latest leadership series about early childhood education. Done in collaboration with the state Department of Education, the report discusses the need to improve training for administrators, especially in the way they view preK-3 education. The report indicates that districts communicate very little with other public and private providers in their communities, and could better align planning and programs in their earliest grades.

State board's own role: Ever-bedeviled over questions about its role in policy, the state Board is trying to step up its presence in discussions about some of the major education issues in the state. President Arecelio Aponte said he hopes his board's committees will be able to delve deeper into the issues, and cited work underway toward a statewide discussion about the achievement gap. On Wednesday he plans to present on the legislative committee, with a focus on whether the state board should start taking positions or providing input on pending legislation.

Other business: Swearing in of new board member Joseph Fisicaro from Marlton (Burlington); proposal-level discussion of new regulations for districts selling advertising on school buses; and student speaker Samantha Puja of Bayonne High School.

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