Agenda: Hearings Set on New Academic Standards, H.S. Graduation Requirements

John Mooney | February 9, 2016 | Education
State Board of Education will hear testimony on revised state standards and proposal for new PARCC exit test

state seal
Date: Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016

Time: 10 a.m.

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

Busy policy day: The State Board’s monthly meeting will be highlighted by public hearings in the afternoon on two of the hottest topics of the year: the Christie administration’s revisions to the Common Core State Standards and new high-school graduation testing requirements scheduled to take effect in 2021.

The board will also hear from the leaders of two of its state-run districts, Jersey City and Paterson, and will consider a resolution to loosen at least some of its controls in Paterson.

And it will get updates on the release of the latest PARCC scores, as well as new recommendations for revising the state’s anti-bullying law.

[related]High-school exit test: The Christie administration has proposed new graduation requirements based on the new PARCC tests, suggesting that graduates starting in 2021 be required to at least pass the 10th-grade language arts test and the Algebra I math test.

The public will have a chance to comment on the proposal Wednesday during the afternoon testimony session; more than 70 people had signed up as of last week.

Standards go before the public: Gov. Christie Christie last year disavowed the Common Core State Standards, and moved to revise the state’s standards. Revisions suggested by a task force were unveiled last month, with many of them amounting to changes in wording more than substance. Now the public will have a chance to comment on the proposed changes before the state board. A final vote on the revisions is slated for May.

PARCC update: The state last week released the school-by-school results of last spring’s PARCC testing. The board will hear from Bari Erlichson, the former assistant commissioner, about her current work in local districts to use those results — and those for individual students — to help improve instruction.

Bullying revisions: A state commission charged with monitoring New Jersey’s landmark anti-bullying law has come up with a series of recommendations for improvements, including changes in the definition of bullying itself. The board will hear a presentation on those recommended changes on Wednesday, but the code itself has yet to be introduced.

State-operated districts: The board will hear from representatives of two of its four state-run districts, with Paterson and Jersey City school leaders giving their annual progress reports on student performance, budgets and operations.

This year’s reports will have more at stake in light of the Christie administration’s apparent intent to cede at least some controls. Specifically, the board has before it a resolution that would return personnel and fiscal controls to the local Paterson board, while important controls over governance and instructional programs would remain with the state.