Date: Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014
Time: 10 a.m.
Where: New Jersey Department of Education, 1st floor conference room, 100 River View Plaza, Trenton
What they are doing: The agenda isn’t long, but it will be a busy meeting as the State Board of Education hears from embattled Newark Superintendent Cami Anderson about the state of her district board. And that is just the first act; the board will receive the annual report for the 2013-2014 school test results, which will include scores for every school in the state.
Anderson appearance: State board president Mark Biedron said Anderson has agreed to come before the board to present what she sees as her progress report for New Jersey’s largest district. The report is an annual occasion for the state board to talk with each of the leaders of its four state-operated districts, but also comes at a time when Anderson remains under fire from local officials and activists in her city.
Biedron quote: “Anybody who reads the newspaper knows there are some strong sentiments for and against what is happening in Newark, so let’s hear what she has to say.”
Test scores: This would be the lead item of the meeting any other day, since the annual release of the state’s assessment report is seen by some as judgment day for New Jersey’s schools -- at least as judged by state test scores. The scores have already been made available to schools and districts, and the state has already said there was not much change in terms of statewide averages. But this is when they are released for the first time to the public, with average scores and proficiency rates in each of the tested grades in elementary, middle, and high schools.
Other business: The board is expected to give final adoption to code for regulating charter schools, but it is largely just renewing existing policies before they expire this month. The legislature is currently reviewing several bills that would overhaul the state’s charter law, which, if approved, will surely bring new regulation.
New business: The board is expected to at least start the discussion on new regulations about teacher preparation and induction, prompted by a recent report from several major education groups calling for improvements in New Jersey’s system. Biedron said he has circulated the report to board members, and hopes to hear from the administration as well. “This is very exciting, because I think everybody is in alignment in going forward,” he said. “Now we need to hammer out what that will look like.”
No testimony: The state board had scheduled public testimony for the afternoon, but no members of the public signed up in time.