“Volatility – a Tendency to Change Quickly and Unpredictably.”

Posted by Dr. Richard Bozza, NJASA Executive Director on 10/29/2020

Many associate volatility with the stock market where, in most cases, the higher the volatility, the riskier the security. The stock market volatility that we experience today reflects the uncertainty felt by investors due to the current political, economic, and health factors facing the nation.

 

Volatility is not the sole province of the financial markets. The situation in which school district leaders find themselves today is clearly a volatile one. There are increasing announcements by district leaders evaluating the spread of Covid-19 infections in their communities to extend or move back to remote learning. Simultaneously, other districts are successfully implementing in-person learning with support of their communities and minimal effect of Covid-19 infections.

 

Community discussion about the status of schools is often highly charged as parents struggle with work and parenting obligations, staff members express concern about perceived threats to their health and that of family members, the CDC revises its definition of “close contact,” and Governor Murphy announces increased infection rates comparable to those experienced last May. It is not surprising that Chief Education Officers navigating unchartered waters during a pandemic to establish and support viable education alternatives for their students are feeling incredible pressure from constituents divided about in-person school attendance. 

 

Unfortunately, I hear a growing chorus of discontent with our NJ Department of Education leadership regarding requirements perceived to be extremely burdensome or untenable during a period of pandemic schooling. Many NJASA members have expressed their frustration to an NJ DOE “business as normal” approach to demands placed upon school district personnel during an unrivaled time of educating students. They feel that their pleas are falling on deaf ears with no curtailment of regulatory obligations typical of a normal school year. The NJASA Executive Committee has endorsed this view and expressed it to the NJ DOE leadership.

 

Governor Murphy has announced the nomination of Angelica Allen-McMillan, a lifetime New Jersey Educator, to the position of Commissioner of Education. She currently serves as the Executive Superintendent for Morris County and will assume the responsibilities as commissioner in November on an acting basis pending confirmation by the Senate. The reaction to the Governor’s nominee has been positive with NJASA members favorable toward a candidate who has “been in the trenches” in a variety of administrative positions.

 

The NJASA leadership looks forward to supporting the work of Dr. Allen-McMillan during her tenure with the expectation that the perspective of a current practitioner will influence policy and regulations to establish a less turbulent educational environment and bring the voice of her contemporaries to bear as she oversees the New Jersey school system.