At its July meeting, the State Board of Education heard updates and took action on the following items:
Election of State Board Officers—The State Board re-elected Kathy Goldenberg as president and Andrew Mulvihill as vice president.
Adoption of Educator Effectiveness Regulations The board adopted minor changes to the regulations concerning educator evaluations. Specifically, the regulations require the alignment of all approved principal practice instruments to the 2015 professional standards for educational leaders. Additionally, evaluation rubrics shall be submitted to the commissioner by Aug. 1 for approval by Aug. 15 of each year. The board withdrew other proposed changes, however. The New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) has said that maintaining the stability and predictability of the existing evaluation system is critical as school districts grapple with the ”new normal” of post-COVID-19 operations.
Lead Regulations The state board adopted regulations that will require district boards of education to test for lead every three years, rather than the current requirement of every six years. Additionally, the NJDOE has enhanced transparency by updating its webpage about testing for lead in school drinking water to include the following district-reported information: the date of the most-recent lead testing, the latest statement of assurance, and a link to actual testing results. Through this enhancement, the public can access specific lead testing results and can see if a district board of education is compliant with the requirements in the lead testing regulations.
Student Transportation The board members discussed a proposal to update student transportation regulations in response to recently enacted laws. These include the institution of three-point seatbelts in school buses (P.L. 2018, c. 118); additional licensing requirements for school bus drivers (P.L. 2018, c. 151); a required notification that a bus driver with a revoked or suspended license is no longer operating a school bus (P.L. 2018, c. 152); the requirement that school bus operations in New Jersey comply with federal regulations (P.L. 2018, c. 159); training requirements for school bus drivers and aides (P.L. 2018, c. 160); and a mandatory list of students on school buses for school-sponsored activities (P.L. 2019, c. 57); and a transportation safety study (P.L. 2019, c. 24).
Adult Education The board discussed a proposal to readopt the regulations governing adult education. The regulations provide three pathways to a high school diploma for persons age 16 years or older. The first pathway allows residents age 16 years or older who are no longer enrolled in high school to earn a state-issued high school diploma by attending an adult education program that receives Title II funding under the Federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and passing a New Jersey High School Equivalency Assessment (NJHSEA). The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDLWD) monitors adult education programs, but NJDOE provides the state-issued high school diploma. The second pathway enables persons age 16 years or older to earn a state-issued high school diploma based on the evaluation of 30 credits of college coursework. The NJDOE evaluates the college coursework and provides the high school diploma. The third pathway allows persons age 16 years or older to earn a state-endorsed diploma by attending and graduating from one of the 11 adult high schools in New Jersey. District boards of education operate the adult high schools and award a state-endorsed high school diploma to adult high school graduates.
Resolution Recognizing Commissioner Repollet The board passed a resolution recognizing Commissioner Lamont Repollet’s service to the students of New Jersey. Commissioner Repollet is leaving the NJDOE to become president of Kean University.