Date: Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015
Time: 10 a.m.
Where: New Jersey Department of Education, 1st-floor conference room, 100 River View Plaza, Trenton
What they are doing: The State Board of Education kicks off what will surely be extensive discussion and debate over new licensure code detailing what’s required to become a teacher in the state. The proposal contains a host of changes, from increasing student-teaching hours to toughening requirements in the state’s vaunted “alternate route” program. The board will also get an update on the upcoming PARCC testing, including a presentation on the new reports that will be generated from the tests. And Jersey City schools Superintendent Marcia Lyles will give the annual report for her district, one of four that remains under at least partial state control.
Teacher regulations: The licensure regulations – Chapter 9 in the state’s administrative code – are voluminous, laying out the requirements for individuals seeking to become teachers and for teacher-training programs. The current code expires at the end of this year, and the Christie administration is coming back with a host of changes that it says will improve the quality of teachers coming into the classroom.
Student teaching: One of the biggest changes calls for doubling the amount of time that candidates will have to be student teachers, from the current one semester to a full year, starting in 2017-18. The idea is to give teacher candidates more clinical experience before getting a classroom of their own.
Alternate route: The alternate-route program that trains teachers on the job has been a cornerstone of teacher licensure in the state for more than three decades. The administration wants to revamp it to add to the time required and more closely align it with the traditional route to earning a teaching license. Included will be more time for pre-service training, increasing from 24 hours to 50 hours, and nearly doubling the amount of classwork to 350 hours, up from the existing 200.
PARCC continued: The new online tests starting next month have become the hottest education issue in the state, and the Christie administration continues to campaign hard to promote the benefits of the new student assessments. Assistant Education Commissioner Bari Erlichson will give the presentation this month on the reports that will be generated out of the new testing, as unveiled by the PARCC consortium this winter.
Jersey City: Superintendent Marcia Lyles is the last of the four superintendents running state-controlled districts to come before the board with their annual reports. With the issue of state operation a big one politically and legally, Jersey City is the longest-running district in the country with at least some state oversight -- and also the closest to being back under full local control.
No public testimony: There is no session planned for public testimony this month.