Letter to the Editor

The State of New Jersey Middlesex County School Boards Association and the Trenton Legislation/Finance conferences continues to bring discussions that will affect Board of Educations throughout New Jersey.

New Jersey has recently been ranked #1 in Education in our public school systems, surpassing Massachusetts. 

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The number one issue for school districts is Mental Health and Social Emotional Learning.  Continued topics of importance are the School Funding Formula and Personal and Business interactions among Board Members.  None of these issues are new.  Over 200 School Districts were reduced in their State Aid.  

The topic of personal and business interactions among Board members drew the most discussion and commentary.  Discussion was wide ranging and focused on thought such as:  “Kids Learn What They Live”,  to the fact that elected officials need to set a positive tone, and the fact that Boards need more civility.  

Senator Diegnan and Senator Pennachio have introduced a bill with regards to Harassment, Intimidation or Bullying.  This bill sets more stringent regulations, which included State of New Jersey Department of Education forms that will be mandated to be filled out and how those forms need to be distributed. (S-3433). 

Social, Emotional Learning begins with the Chief School Administrator and their ability to work with their teachers and staff.  The discussion by two professionals included the stress that teachers are under on a daily basis, the support that Boards need to give the teachers and staff, and the retention of good teachers.  The pressure that is put on the students to succeed at all costs which contributes to Social Emotional Learning.  The issuance of large amounts of homework puts stress on the students and their ability to “perform” on state testing.  The Deputy Assistant Commissioner for Performance from the State Department of Education discussed the Graduation Assessment Requirements for the classes of 2019, 2020,2021 and 2022.  Those requirements can be found on the State of New Jersey Department of Education along with the Federal Requirements for “Every Student Succeeds Act” for ELA and Math. 

Leadership for Education Excellence, a coalition of the states’s major educational organizations, urges New Jersey Public Schools to conduct a Military Opportunities Day this fall.  They provide incredible opportunities that are offered by the U.S. Armed Forces, including scholarships, training and certification in more than 200 areas.  

I will continue to keep you updated in the upcoming months.

Debbie Boyle, NJSBA Board of Directors appointment for Legislative District #18, member of the NJSBA Finance Committee and IPPresident of the Middlesex County School Boards Association.