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Agenda: State Board Just as Busy with What’s Not on the Docket This Month

Light agenda belies work still going on behind the scenes over teacher prep proposal

state seal

**Date: Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Time: 10 a.m.

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

What they are doing: After a slew of activity through the winter, the State Board will have another relatively light public meeting, with the agenda almost entirely made up of procedural matters. But notable is what’s not to be discussed this month in the pending proposal for revamping the state’s teacher education rules. The proposal has been on hold for a few months now, due to ongoing questions and discussions about the Christie administration’s plan.

What’s at stake: The proposal has garnered considerable debate and discussion centered on plans to remake the state’s alternate route program, as well as lay out new rules on existing university-based programs.

Who’s at the table: The administration and board members have met with a number of the key players, including those from the state’s teachers unions and also those representing higher education and school districts.

Quote: “We still have a lot of homework to do,” said board president Mark Biedron yesterday. “It’s pretty unprecedented that we have kept putting this off, but this is important stuff.”

The new timetable: Biedron said he hopes to have a revised proposal ready for a special public hearing on May 20, after which the board may be able to proceed to at least the proposal level at its June monthly meeting. The board would then have further public deliberations on the new proposal.

Meanwhile, other business: The board will also hear proposals for tinkering with the state’s requirements for teachers to pass the national Praxis exams in early childhood instruction. And it will also hear a resolution for celebrating May as Physical Education and health Month.

Public hearings: The board will also hear public testimony on several relatively routine measures, including those that codify the expansion of county special-services schools in Passaic and Middlesex to serve students outside their borders.

Night hearings: Going forward, the board plans to hold public hearings across the state and at different hours, starting later this month. The first is tentatively scheduled for May 27 in Teterboro. Biedron said his intent is to open up the board’s business to more people and those who can’t make the midday sessions in Trenton.

Newark activity: State Sen. Ronald Rice (D-Essex) has requested to come before the board to discuss the ongoing controversies in Newark public schools under the leadership of state-appointed superintendent Cami Anderson. No public session has yet been scheduled.

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