NJSBA testified in support of the national Common Core Standards at last week’s meeting of the New Jersey State Board of Education.
The recommended standards, which seek to make basic education requirements uniform across the country, were announced earlier this month by the groups coordinating the effort, the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief School Administrators.
“NJSBA is supportive of the concepts embedded in the Common Core Standards,” John Burns, an attorney with NJSBA’s governmental relations department, said at the March 17 State Board meeting. “NJSBA also believes that authority for the management of public schools must remain with local boards of education. Federal authorities must preserve local districts’ flexibility necessary to achieve the objectives and goals of federal education programs while maintaining local control. NJSBA is supportive of the concepts embedded in the Common Core Standards as they appear to maintain that local authority.”
The New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) is urging educators in the state to weigh in on the draft standards. The complete text of the standards is available at Common Core Standards Web site. Comments can be submitted through that Web site, or via e-mail to the NJDOE. The deadline for comments is April 2.
Financial Literacy In other news, the State Board rejected a proposal from the NJDOE to postpone implementation of the graduation requirement that high school students complete a half-year course in economics and financial literacy. The course was part of the revised high school graduation requirements adopted by the board in June 2009. The standard is due to be effective with the class entering ninth grade in 2010-2011; the NJDOE had sought to delay the requirement for two years.
Last November, a law was enacting calling for a three-year pilot program to provide high school seniors in six districts with a personal financial literacy program. At the conclusion of the pilot program, the education commissioner is due to issue a report on the feasibility of implementing the programs on a statewide basis. Ten districts have been chosen to participate in the pilot program and the NJDOE wanted to delay implementation of the requirement to give the pilot program an opportunity to complete its course.
Religious Holidays The State Board also announced its annual list of religious holidays that permit pupil absence from schools. The State Board of Education has posted the full list of holidays online.
The law says students can not receive an unexcused absence or be penalized for missing school on a religious holiday. The state also notes that its list of more than 130 holidays does not preclude a local board of education from recognizing any additional legitimate religious holiday in its own district.