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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 »

Reflections: Special Education—A Service, Not a Place

March 31st, 2014

By Dr. Larry Feinsod 

Early last year, I devoted my Reflections column to special education, and a new commitment NJSBA had made to study the way our state provides special education.

Special education has always been close to my heart as an educator. I began my career as a special education teacher, and throughout my four decades in education, I have always felt a special responsibility to help children with disabilities achieve their utmost. But even the most ardent supporters of special education have to acknowledge that the cost of the programs and services is presenting long-term challenges to public schools—challenges that often divide our school communities into general education and special education factions. Read the rest of this entry »

Reflections: An Effective Relationship

March 13th, 2014

By Dr. Larry Feinsod

Folk singer Mary Travers used to say that fans would sometimes ask her, “Which one are you married to, Peter or Paul?”  In fact, the answer was neither, but she would explain that in many ways, the trio’s professional relationship was like a marriage.

The same can be said about board presidents and superintendents. Read the rest of this entry »

Reflections: Higher Standards for Educators

February 4th, 2014

By Dr. Larry Feinsod

This installment of Reflections is based on an OP-ED column by Dr. Feinsod, published by the Asbury Park Press on January 23.

Every child should know a “Miss Ann Sloan.”  Miss Sloan was my fifth grade teacher and the person who inspired me to enter the field of education.  She connected with each child and set high standards in academics and behavior.

Just about everyone, I’m sure, will recall being taught by an excellent educator like Miss Sloan.  And everyone—students, parents and school officials—has likely experienced a teacher who is not effective; one who needs focused attention or, perhaps, even a new career.

If we are sincere about our primary mission to improve student achievement, we must ensure that the people who teach our students, and the process of teaching, are top grade.  But that’s not how educator evaluation worked in all schools Read the rest of this entry »