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Reflections: Collaboration Benefits Student Achievement

March 18th, 2015

By Dr. Larry Feinsod

It is a concept that even the youngest students learn, starting in kindergarten: Work together and you accomplish more.

Research by a Rutgers University professor shows that, in school districts where union and management work collaboratively, where there are formal processes such as site-based decision-making, leadership teams, and joint learning opportunities, students achieve at higher levels. And these findings apply to school districts across the economic strata, Read the rest of this entry »

Reflections: The Future of Pensions, Our State and Our Schools

March 9th, 2015

By Dr. Larry Feinsod

Last week, when Governor Christie devoted almost his entire budget message to pension reform, he was not exaggerating the importance of the issue. The public employee pension system can and will affect New Jersey’s economic health and the quality of life. The pension system impacts everything from the state’s ability to finance needed public works projects to its annual budget, including state aid to education, and consequently, the operation of public school districts.

What the governor placed on the table, “A Roadmap to Resolution,” the report of the New Jersey Pension and Health Benefit Study Commission, is Read the rest of this entry »

Reflections: Showcasing Your District’s Best Practices

January 15th, 2015

By Dr. Larry Feinsod

Last night, I had the privilege of participating in a meeting of several NJSBA past presidents along with our current leaders. The board of education experience in the room spanned almost 50 years. The advice and guidance of the former presidents was impressive. In a technical sense, by drawing on their vast experience, the former presidents shared “best practices.”

Indeed, experience is often the best teacher…and it doesn’t have to be your own. This brings me to my next point.

Nearly every board member, superintendent, and business administrator can point to a program, practice or initiative in his or her school district that is successful and from which their colleagues throughout the state can benefit. We see that at our annual Workshop, in the new Sustainable Jersey for Schools program, and many other venues.

Now, NJSBA is launching a new initiative, A+ Ideas, Programs and Practices, which is a unique opportunity Read the rest of this entry »

Reflections: A Retrospective on 2014

December 22nd, 2014

 By Dr. Larry Feinsod

Happy Holidays!

As 2014 comes to a close, it’s nearly impossible to find a newspaper, a magazine or a broadcast program that does not provide a retrospective of the past year. So, in similar fashion, I’d like to use my “Reflections” column to share my thoughts about 2014 and some very positive developments in education.

Just as your physician measures certain vital signs, such as blood pressure and heart rate, during your annual check-up, we can look at Read the rest of this entry »

Reflections: A Step toward ‘De-bureaucratization’

December 5th, 2014

Read the rest of this entry »

Reflections: Fighting Fear with Facts

October 22nd, 2014

By Dr. Larry Feinsod

Monday’s Star-Ledger reported hopeful news: The incidence of illnesses from Enerovirus-D68 is declining in New Jersey, according to the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Writer Kathleen O’Brien noted that, nationwide, 825 cases of enterovirus-caused illness have been confirmed in 46 states and seven people have died. One victim Read the rest of this entry »

100 Years of Advancing Public Education

September 30th, 2014

By Dr. Larry Feinsod

Companies merge, institutions close, organizations change their focus. So, it stands as an important milestone when an Association reaches its 100th Anniversary and does so with the same vital purpose—advancing public education—that was at the core of its mission when it was founded.

I wrote these words for my column in last month’s School Leader magazine, when I offered a preview of our 100th Anniversary Celebration at Workshop 2014.

This year’s Read the rest of this entry »

Reflections: The Common Core Challenge

September 8th, 2014

By Dr. Larry Feinsod

As always, a new school year brings new challenges to boards of education, their staffs and their districts’ students.

One of the major tasks facing us this year involves the Common Core State Standards—but not the implementation of the standards themselves which, in fact, was scheduled to be completed last school year. Instead, the task at hand involves debunking the inaccurate and sometimes outrageous myths that have grown up around the concept. Read the rest of this entry »

Reflections: A Long-Term Employee, an Inspired Staff

May 30th, 2014

By Dr. Larry Feinsod

On Wednesday evening, I had the pleasure of attending a retirement dinner for an esteemed member of the NJSBA staff: Nancy Fletcher, my executive assistant.

Nancy joined the NJSBA staff on September 12, 1977, just months after graduating from high school. She served first Read the rest of this entry »

Reflections: The Nation’s Report Card, Finland, and the Achievement Gap

May 13th, 2014

By Dr. Larry Feinsod

The latest results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (also known as the “Nation’s Report Card”)  once again show that New Jersey public school students rank among the nation’s best in mathematics and reading.  In fact, New Jersey is among the few states where achievement actually advanced in recent years. As the Wall Street Journal’s Read the rest of this entry »