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Agenda: State Board of Education

Wrapping up the Camden takeover, outside money to implement Common Core standards.

Date: Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Time: 10 a.m.

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

What they are doing: The big news out of the meeting will be the State Board of Education’s expected approval of the state’s takeover of Camden public schools. There are a few other weighty matters to be considered as well, including further deliberation on several key administrative code changes about teacher evaluation, special education, and other areas. A resolution is also on the agenda to approve outside private money for a new initiative, and the public will have its say with a busy public testimony session.

Camden resolution: The board’s action is the final procedural step in the state’s intervention plan, announced in March and effective by the end of this month. The board will be acting on a specific resolution that sets in motion the takeover, starting on June 25. Few expect much resistance from the state board, especially in light of the local district board agreeing to the takeover in a consent order, but the board’s president, Arcelio Aponte, said he does expect some discussion of next steps. The key next step is the appointment of a new superintendent for the district in a search process that is underway.

More teacher evaluation: The debate over the state’s teacher evaluation system and the Christie administration’s guidelines for districts continues to prompt discussions both statewide and before the state board. The board continues to deliberate on the new regulations, including its specific formula for how to rate teachers, and is slated to hear from an outside academic expert, Jonah Rockoff of the National Bureau of Economic Research, on the merits and details of the state’s plan.

Outside money: A resolution will be on the table to accept $75,000 from the New Venture Fund to pay for a department effort to help districts adapt to the new national Common Core State Standards and the new teacher evaluation system. The Christie administration has been rapped for its use of outside money to fund pet projects.

The public speaks: The board has a wide open session for public testimony, and community advocates and activists from Newark are expected to make their voices heard over the ongoing opposition to the state’s long-running takeover of the district, a timely topic given the Camden takeover. Other topics for public testimony include proposed code for school facilities and student residency.

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