Defining the Future of Education
Leading the Way to its Fulfillment
As the countdown to Year 2020 continues, I thought it appropriate to reflect on a quote from our Nation’s 16th President Abraham Lincoln.
The best way to predict the future is to create it.
NJASA’s Vision for New Jersey’s Public Schools in 2020 and beyond is an excellent example of our Association’s ability to create a pathway to a better future for New Jersey students. NJASA Vision 2020 is a working plan designed to improve outcomes for New Jersey public school students enabling them to effectively compete on a global employment stage.
The NJASA Vision 2020 plan and the dedication of New Jersey’s chief education officers and school leaders to implement its tenets have indeed generated enriched learning opportunities and more equitable educational environments within the New Jersey public education system.
Although New Jersey consistently ranked as one of the best public education systems in the country, there were instances when educators, politicians and parents were not in agreement on how to move forward. This lack of agreement placed our students at risk and jeopardized future improvement. Hence, the work of NJASA members to identify challenges, focus on needed changes, and clarify the importance of leadership in achieving a brighter educational future for pupils. Here’s where stakeholders did agree as we began our work – that children are our future and each child in the state deserves the best education, regardless of his geographic or socioeconomic status.
In spite of our progress in achieving our vision, many of the same challenges identified in the Vision 2020 plan continue to impede our work: a lack of sufficient school funding, growing family income disparities that negatively impact learning opportunities, never-ending legislative mandates, political rhetoric and actions that detract from a collaborative effort of bipartisan support for public education, an often negative portrayal of public education, and a shrinking pool of highly qualified and certified educators. These substantial challenges remain today and must be mitigated in order to maintain the progress we have realized and to continue forward with our plan. As a result, NJASA leaders are now collaborating with the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association (NJPSA) to review the Vision 2020 plan and to revise and enhance it for the decade ahead. NJASA Director of Special Projects, Judith Rattner, serves as the Association’s liaison with NJPSA personnel to collaborate in preparing an updated vision for New Jersey public education. Joining her in this expansion of the NJASA Vision 2020 initiative are steering committee members Sarah Bilotti, Chief Education Officer, North Warren Regional; Kenyon Kummings, Chief Education Officer, Wildwood Public Schools; and David Miceli, Chief Education Officer, New Providence Public Schools.
Their task is to collaborate with NJPSA leaders to draft an updated vision plan that will be reviewed by both bodies for adoption as a joint proposition that will significantly guide the work of our organizations and members. The early discussions of the committee have validated much of the initial assumptions included in the NJASA Vision 2020 plan. There have been many conversations and much debate “looking forward” to define the knowledge and competencies required of future students and citizens. This joint exploration by organization leaders will continue throughout 2020 and progress will be shared with members throughout the year and opinions solicited prior to the development of a final document.
Our goal is to be proactive in supporting New Jersey students to obtain a thorough and efficient education that prepares them for their future. We ask that you join us in this venture by working to achieve the goals of the current plan and by contributing your knowledge and insight as we work to enhance Vision 2020 goals for the years ahead. What better work could there be for NJASA members than defining the future of education and leading the way to its fulfillment?
We at NJASA offer our best to you, your families, and your communities in celebrating the holidays and fulfilling your aspirations throughout the New Year.