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11-3-11 Education reform on agenda...at GSCS Fall Education Forum Nov 2
Asbury Park Press - Education reform on agenda...Teacher tenure, school vouchers likely to be acted on this fall... “The lobbyists and association leaders, along with a state official, did not offer specific details during a meeting of the Garden State Coalition of Schools at Rutgers University, but instead presented a broad outline of measures being debated behind closed doors...”

Asbury Park Press - Education reform on agenda...Teacher tenure, school vouchers likely to be acted on this fall... “The lobbyists and association leaders, along with a state official, did not offer specific details during a meeting of the Garden State Coalition of Schools at Rutgers University, but instead presented a broad outline of measures being debated behind closed doors...”

 

1:14 AM, Nov. 3, 2011 |

NEW BRUNSWICK — New requirements for student achievement, changes to charter school laws, teacher tenure reform and a proposed school voucher program all could be acted upon by the state later this fall, state education leaders said Wednesday.

Legislative negotiations and action will commence shortly after next week’s election and continue until the end of the state Legislature’s term in January, the leaders told a group of representatives from suburban school districts.

The lobbyists and association leaders, along with a state official, did not offer specific details during a meeting of the Garden State Coalition of Schools at Rutgers University, but instead presented a broad outline of measures being debated behind closed doors.

Gov. Chris Christie has declared that this year he is determined to push through a number of education reform measures.

David C. Hespe, chief of staff at the state Department of Education, said officials there were working on rewriting standards expected to spell out what high school students are expected to know to be ready for higher education or for a career.

Hespe did not specify exactly what those news standards would entail or how they would be enforced, but said they would be a substantial change from current standards and would broadly affect instruction throughout the state’s public schools.

Acting Education Commissioner Chris Cerf, who did not attend the session, has said that he would like to require high school students to pass one or more rigorous tests before obtaining a diploma. The current high school test is considered written roughly on an 8th grade level.

Hespe also said he expects the legislators to discuss a series of bills aimed at revamping New Jersey’s charter schools law.

Various bills which have been proposed include a requirement that communities must approve a new charter school through a vote, which Cerf opposes. Others deal with academic accountability and financial transparency.

Ginger Gold Schnitzer, a lobbyist for the state’s largest teachers union, said the union was proposing adding a fourth year before teachers obtain tenure. That would consist of a residency program in the first year in which mentors would coach new teachers.

Schnitzer said the union, the New Jersey Education Association, was open to discussing ways to get rid of poor performing teachers as well.

“Nobody wants to keep ineffective teachers in public schools,” Schnitzer said. “Not the NJEA, not the teachers. … Now let’s talk about how to get there.”

Michael A. Vrancik, director of government relations for the New Jersey School Boards Association, noted that one bill likely to see discussion would set up school improvement panels, headed by school principals, who would sort through annual evaluations of teachers.

That would take local school boards and superintendents out of the discussion as to whether specific teachers were performing to standards or not. “It changes the equation in a dramatic way,” Vrancik said.

Several participants said they expected a smaller version of a school voucher proposal to be debated again in the Legislature.

The Garden State Coalition of Schools represents some 200 suburban school districts.

 


Garden State Coalition of Schools
160 W. State Street, Trenton New Jersey 08608
609-394-2828



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