Agenda: State Board of Education

John Mooney | April 30, 2013 | Education
TEACHNJ back on the agenda, along with career and technical education

Date: Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Time: 10 a.m.

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

What they are doing: After a busy couple of months, the state Board of Education will have less on its agenda, but nonetheless some important issues to address. Top of the list will be the next stage for the Christie administration’s regulations for the new teacher tenure law, Teacher Effectiveness and Accountability for the Children of New Jersey Act (TEACHNJ). The board will also hear from career and technical education experts and educators on the state of that sector of schooling.

TEACHNJ proceeds: Not much has changed — at least not in public — since the administration’s new teacher evaluation code continues its way through the regulatory process. The administration did make some small changes to the proposal following last month’s public comment, but many of the most controversial provisions about the use of student test scores in measuring teachers look largely intact. The board’s president, Arcelio Aponte, said he did not expect a great deal more discussion from the board on Wednesday, but he did not rule it out. “This is the opportunity for the board members to raise anything new they want to discuss,” he said. The regulations will have another round of public comment next month.

Plenty of comment: The board heard from close to 150 individuals about the new TEACHNJ code, from concerns that it may discourage some from teaching in low-performing schools to whether the state will provide additional funds. In each case, the department said it would monitor employment patterns but would not be supplying additional money besides existing funding earmarked for professional development. The questions and the responses are included in the latest revisions.

Jobs for kids: The board annually devotes one of its monthly meetings to career and technical education, and this year it is bringing in both educators and policymakers to discuss the state of the programs. Among those presenting will be the state’s deputy labor commissioner Aaron Fichtner, discussing the latest data about the job market and what it can teach the state’s public schools. The board will also hear from educators in both comprehensive high schools and specialized ones about specific programs and curricula, including agricultural sciences and another model for “green” construction, design, and energy. Teacher preparation for such studies will be another topic, with a presentation on an ongoing “alternate route” pilot for career and technical education teachers.

Other code: After several months of new administrative code being proposed and voted on, the board has a relatively quiet month beyond the deliberation about TEACHNJ. Other code on the agenda but drawing far less discussion and comment so far has been that for adult education and for school requirements to ensure equity and access.