One Vision …. One Voice
In 2007, our Association created a vision for public education titled NEW JERSEY’S VISION: World-Class Schools for a Global Economy. The statement focused on eight factors for state educational leaders to embrace and implement. Three years ago, NJASA members began the task of updating the Association’s Vision for New Jersey schools, in part to respond to top-down calls for educational reform coming from state and national leaders who did not solicit the input of practitioners. A task force worked arduously reviewing our prior work and that of colleagues from other states issuing similar statements about effective public education, while drawing upon the collective knowledge and experience of its members. The initial work of the task force resulted in a survey of the NJASA membership and a continuing refinement of the vision statement. Video and print presentations updated members during Executive Committee reports and the intervening TECHSPO and Spring Leadership Conferences. The final plan was disseminated in 2015 titled as Our Children … Our Future, Vision 2020.
This past September, NJASA President Patrick Fletcher, Vision 2020 Co-Chairperson Judith Rattner, NJASA Government Affairs Director Melanie Schulz, and I presented the plan to the members of the Joint Committee on the Public Schools. Created in 1975 by statute, the Joint Committee on the Public Schools provides an ongoing study of the system of free public schools - it's financing, administration and operations and makes recommendations for legislative action.
We articulated to the legislators how Vision 2020 promotes eight key factors, supports eight key initiatives, identifies four key categories for our work, and offers a twelve-step plan reflecting our values and purpose to address challenges and deliver a world-class educational experience to each and every child in New Jersey. We enjoyed a productive exchange with legislative members of both parties who expressed genuine interest in our statement and our ongoing work.
Vision 2020 is broad in its scope, as it needs to be, considering the complexity of our work as educators. I liken it to an architect’s design plan. The values, culture, purpose, capacity, flow, and location inform the architect as s/he designs the concepts and relative proximity of components. S/He sees the whole system at once before designing the rooms and work of the five trades. Vision 2020 reflects our educational architect’s rendering of the preferred future, providing the structure to design educational improvement initiatives.
Vision 2020 is an evolving project, not a finished work. We are working now to identify what activities need to be taken by education constituents in our state to make Vision 2020 a reality. The plan will guide all aspects of our evolving organization from public statements to the work of our committees to the overriding purpose for our conferences.
I invite you to review our Vision 2020 plan and to reflect upon how it can inform and guide your practice. Our print and media resources can be found at: http://bit.ly/1NJkiDo.
Vision 2020 inspires our work as we speak with one voice about the future of public education in New Jersey.