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Public Education Discussion Panel Series

Panel Discussion 2013  -  The Future  of Public Education in New Jersey



Josephene Hernandez – Former State Board of Education Board President




Carlos Perez – President and CEO of New Jersey Charter School Association

Shelley Skinner – Executive Director for The Better Education Institute

Marlin Townes, III – Associate at Edu. Practice Group ‐ Florio, Perrucci, Steinhardt, & Fader

Steven Engravalle – Superintendent of the Fort Lee School District

LOCATION: 200 MacArthur Ave Garfield

DATE: January 30, 2013

Josephine Hernadez

Carlos Perez

Discussion Topic Areas


1. Post‐No Child Left Behind

In February 2012, it was announced that New Jersey had received a waiver from the No Child Left Behind accountability provisions and sanctions required for not making the adequate yearly progress. Instead, the New Jersey Department of Education implemented a new accountability system that measures schools based on growth and achievement. What impact do you think this new system will have on the future of education in New Jersey?


2. Tenure Reform

Earlier this year, Republican Governor Chris Christie worked with the Democratic controlled New Jersey Legislature to enact teacher tenure reform. The tenure reform legislation took two years to evolve into its current form requiring all stakeholders to make concessions and compromises. In your opinion, what does this development indicate about the Governors ability to move education related legislation? What has been the immediate impact of the teacher tenure reform law? How will this new law affect the quality of education in the long term? What education reforms should be addressed next?


3. Charter School Reform

Besides tenure reform, Governor Christie has indicated his desire to reform New Jersey’s charter school legislation to improve accountability, streamline the funding process, and give urban students more opportunity to meet their academic goals. What are some of the issues in the current charter school enabling legislation that need to be addressed? What do you recommend should be included in the new charter school legislation that can make necessary and substantial changes in New Jersey’s charter schools?


4. Impact of Technology on the Future of K-12 Education

In the last 10 years, we as a society have experienced a technology revolution. Technology has been integrated into all aspects of life from smart phones, smart boards, and the introduction of iPads in the classroom as seen here at the Bergen Passaic Arts & Sciences Charter Schools. How might technology influence K-12 education in the future, and what can we expect from public schools in regards to advancements? In which type of environment will students find themselves learning in 10, 15 or even 20 years from now?


5. Education, Demographics, and Geography

Research shows that what happens outside of the classroom have a significant impact on classroom learning and student achievement. For example, students that live in a dysfunctional home situation tend to have a particularly difficult time succeeding in school compared to students with supportive, healthy home situation or who have parents that are involved in their child’s education. From your experience, what are some of the ways that school administrators and teachers can help provide the type of support that these disadvantaged students need to excel in school?


6. How can public charter and traditional public schools learn from each other?

Public charter schools were first envisioned as laboratories of innovation, where new ideas and strategies could be tested and best practices developed. Ideally, some of these are successful practices that would be implemented in traditional public schools. While some information sharing has occurred, it is hardly a widespread practice, due in part to the distrust that sometimes exists between charter schools and school districts. How can public charter and traditional public schools learn from each other so that successful programs, practices and strategies are shared and broadly implemented? How can we remove roadblocks for successful communication practices?


Watch the full video.

Shelley Skinner

Marlin Townes, III

Steven Engravalle

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