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Agenda: Common Core State Standards Top State Education Board’s Slate

In first meeting of new school year, board will delve deeply into benchmark standards for math and language arts

state seal

Date: Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014

Time: 10 a.m.

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

What they are doing: Taking up a big topic for the school year, the state board will hear a presentation from the Christie administration about the Common Core State Standards and what they mean for schools. That’s the highlight of the agenda, which otherwise addresses routine business having to do with updating and revising code. There are also public hearings scheduled in the afternoon on both some specific code proposals and “open topic” items.

Catching up: The state board actually already adopted the Common Core standards in 2010 and reinforced its vote again last year in a separate resolution. Still, as debate has intensified over the new standards and their associated testing, board President Mark Biedron asked the administration to make the presentation to make sure the board stays up to date.

“I’m trying to get information in front of the board and anyone who wants to come and listen,” Biedron said yesterday. “What are the standards, what are they not? There seems a lot of misinformation out there.”

More Common Core to come: The state board is only the first stop in what appears to be an emerging public campaign by the administration and others to promote and explain the Common Core standards.

Administrative code: The board’s main function is to hear and adopt state regulations; this Wednesday’s meeting will include discussion of a number of relatively routine proposals. Included will be technical revisions to regulations for serving homeless children and those living in state facilities, and some required updating of special-education code.

The board is also nearing final action on Qualified Zone Academy Bonds, a new capital-funding mechanism for eligible districts and charter schools.

Public testimony: The state board will take testimony at 2 p.m. on mostly technical changes to code pertaining to school operations and state board rulemaking. There will also be an open-topic period. The board will then hold a separate hearing on changes to state’s curriculum for technical and career education, starting at 4 p.m.

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