Agenda: QSAC, Paterson Schools and State Testing to Top Discussion

John Mooney | January 5, 2015 | Education
State board to hear more on state monitoring and likely an earful on coming PARCC tests

state seal
Date: Wednesday, Jan. 7, 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 will continue its discussion of the state’s monitoring system for schools, known as QSAC, and also hear from the superintendent of the state-controlled Paterson schools, Donnie Evans. But much of the drama will come in the public testimony in the afternoon, where nearly 100 people from the general public have signed up to speak, most about the state’s new testing regimen.

QSAC, the sequel: Two months ago, the state board asked state Education Commissioner David Hespe and his staff to make presentations on QSAC, which stands for the Quality Single Accountability Continuum.

At the meeting last month, the administration presented an overview of the system and announced streamlining for districts that consistently fare well. This month, it will delve into the details of what the state is doing for districts that fall below the required thresholds.

Not just the usual suspects: While most of the attention goes to some of the state’s larger urban districts, scores of districts across the state fail to meet the state’s requirements that they meet at least 80 percent of criteria in five key areas, from instruction to personnel to fiscal controls.

Often, it is the instructional programs — and specifically their test scores — that trip them up. Of the six districts that completed the process over the last month, three of them – Burlington City, Hainesport and Pine Hill — are below 80 percent in the instructional area.

Paterson annual report: Every year, the board hears a report from the superintendents of the four state-controlled districts. Newark and Camden school officials gave reports over the last month, and next up is Paterson Superintendent Donnie Evans.

Public action and reaction: Much of the meeting’s drama may come in the afternoon public testimony. A big crowd has signed up to testify in what is an open-topic format. For most of them, though, the topic will be the state’s upcoming PARCC testing, which has been drawing more and more protests over its high stakes and long hours.

Code business: The board will also go through some routine matters in reviewing and adopting new administrative code and regulation. This month, special education code is on the agenda, although it is largely keeping to status quo as a governor-appointed task force looks at ways to improve special- education services statewide.