Date: Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016
Time: 10 a.m.
Where: New Jersey Department of Education, 1st-floor conference room, 100 River View Plaza, Trenton
PARCC scores, top item: The Christie administration will use the State Board of Education meeting to release and report on the school-by-school PARCC scores from last spring, one of the earliest releases yet of statewide testing data. The meeting will also hear the annual report on the state of Newark Public Schools, as that district moves back to local control. And public testimony in the afternoon should be lively, with new regulations to essentially deregulate charter schools up for public comment.
PARCC debate redux: In August the Christie administration released the statewide scores for Year 2 of PARCC testing, showing gains large and small in every grade. But the spotlight should grow brighter as Wednesday brings the school-by-school and district-by-district numbers. Like the statewide numbers, the school reports as a whole are expected to show improvements over the inaugural year. But will the gains be enough for districts used to stellar scores, and struggling ones trying to rise? And there is sure to be a close eye on the participation numbers, as large numbers of families in some communities continued to hold back their children from taking the tests.
Charter schools debate never ends: The administration has proposed some big changes to the regulation of charter schools, led by a plan to allow select schools hire uncertified teachers. Another proposal would allow charters to use public funds to build new schools and give them added rights to vacant district buildings. More discussion is expected on Wednesday, as the State Board has already started asking questions about the proposal and why charters are to be held to lower requirements than district schools. The public is also to have a say; more than 50 people have signed up to speak on both sides of the issue in afternoon public testimony.
Inter-district choice: While charter schools get a lot of attention, the state’s renewal of regulations for its choice program between districts has not drawn the same debate so far. The administration is proposing that existing rules remain intact, upon further review. In afternoon testimony, just three people have signed up to speak.
Nothing yet on superintendent caps: The State Board will continue to deliberate on new fiscal accountability regulations mandating how schools keep their books and manage their funds. But there’s still no word on any changes to the existing and controversial regulations over superintendent pay; most school chiefs are capped on a sliding scale up to $175,000 — the governor’s pay. The caps, slated to expire at the end of this month, are expected to be extended in some form.