NJASA Plants "Seeds of Knowledge" with the Joint Committee on the Public Schools (JCPS)
Future generations will remember September 16, 2015 as a historical occasion for each and every child in New Jersey thanks to NJASA and the Joint Committee on the Public Schools.
In a packed, legislative-hearing room of the New Jersey State House, over fifty of New Jersey’s outstanding public education leaders launched an initiative to create the finest educational environments within the New Jersey public education system.
The initiative – Our Children...Our Future NJASA’s Vision 2020 Plan – was the topic of an afternoon committee hearing of the JCPS.
During his opening remarks, NJASA President Patrick Fletcher noted that over the past three years, NJASA developed a plan called Vision 2020 that provides the groundwork for student success in the years ahead. NJASA believes our Vision 2020 plan offers very clear and achievable objectives for all involved stakeholders to concur with. It is now up to us as individuals to support this effort. We must have “One Vision” that we promote with “One Voice.”
Vision 2020 Co-Chair and NJASA Interim President-Elect Judith Rattner reiterated the Association’s long and proud tradition of advocating for children and preparing leaders to steer public school districts in the right direction for a positive future. The Vision 2020 Committee Members focused their attention on John F. Kennedy’s quote “Children are the world's most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.”
The committee, by design, was destined to create a world-class educational experience for every child in New Jersey that includes:
- Safe and secure learning environment
- Early childhood education, including universal Pre-K and full-day kindergarten
- Year-round academic intervention services
- Digital learning opportunities
- On-going student progression evaluations
- Design assessments that help teachers analyze student growth
- Learner-centered instruction
- Emphasis on life-long learning
- Partnerships that connect learning and life
- Recruiting highly qualified teachers
- Professional development for all educators
- Revised educator evaluation systems
In addressing the JCPS, NJASA Executive Director Dr. Richard Bozza said, “It is vital that we not only address the complex teaching and learning challenges of today, but also prepare our educational leaders for an evolving future. NJASA will continue to be an integral part of on-going policy conversations and debates to ensure that our members have the necessary resources and support to provide every student with a world-class education.”
In response to JCPS members’ questions regarding Why do we need a Vision 2020 plan and what are some of the challenges facing school leaders?
NJASA Executive Director Dr. Bozza replied, “New Jersey consistently ranks as one of the best public education systems in the country. Even so, it’s rare that we find educators, politicians and parents in agreement on how to move forward. This lack of agreement can put our students at risk and jeopardize everything we’ve achieved.”
He further commented on some of the key challenges chief education officers face in fulfilling the Vision 2020 plan are: a lack of sufficient school funding, growing family income disparities that negatively impact learning opportunities, never-ending legislative mandates, inadequate support of the state legislated funding formula, political rhetoric and actions that detract from a collaborative effort of bipartisan support for public education, a negative portrayal of public education, and a shrinking pool of highly qualified and certified leaders positioned to effectively replace the diminishing ranks of current school leaders. These are substantial challenges that must be circumvented in order to reach Vision 2020.
In closing, Dr. Bozza noted, “Good public education systems begin with strong leadership and we are committed to spearheading the development of Vision 2020, and to ensuring its success.”
NJASA’s next steps include continuing the process for how all involved stakeholders - the Legislature, the Commissioner of Education, the New Jersey State Board of Education, students, parents, staff and community representatives - can assist NJASA in achieving the goals of Vision 2020.
Individuals interested in participating in NJASA’s next steps should email NJASA Executive Director Dr. Richard Bozza.