With the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary the focus, it seems relatively quiet here in NJ.  While there are plenty of things going on – the commission to look at the treatment of women in NJ politics is having its first meeting, the Senate passed a bill to allow college athletes to sign endorsement deals, and Senate President Sweeney is proposing a ballot question to dedicate money for NJ Transit — the statehouse seems calm.

Last week, the State Board of Education met, and although the board didn’t vote on regulations surrounding student assessment, they did approve, to publish at proposal level, changing some rules around teacher evaluation, including making all teachers, both tested and non-tested, have 15% of their evaluation based on Student Growth Objectives (SGOs).  Teachers in tested subjects would still have 5% of their evaluation based on Student Growth Percentiles (SGPs).  You can read more about it below.

Trenton always abounds with rumors, but last week the rumor about Commissioner Repollet being considered for the job of president at Kean University also surfaced in reputable journalistic sources.  No other news on that … stay tuned! 

In the News

Today is the New Hampshire primary, but there are other stories in the education world.

 Take Action

Results from Monday, Feb. 10

  • S960 – Requires parent to provide completed financial information to Higher Education Student Assistance Authority if parent’s dependent applies to State for student financial aid. (Monitor) (Passed in Senate)
  • S968 – Requires public water systems to provide notice of elevated lead levels in drinking water to customers and local officials; requires landlords to notify tenants of elevated lead levels. (Support) (Passed in Senate)
  • S970 – Requires members of governing boards of public institutions of higher education to complete a training program developed by Secretary of Higher Education. (Monitor) (Passed in Senate)
  • S973 – Requires Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development to establish apprenticeship mentoring program for women, minorities, and persons with disabilities. (Support) (Passed in Senate)
  • SCR15 – Reconstitutes the “Joint Committee on Economic Justice and Equal Employment Opportunity.” (Support) (Passed in Senate)

Bills to be considered Thursday, Feb. 13

  • A1040 – Requires that if a school district satisfies 80% or more of the required NJ Quality Single Accountability Continuum standards in an area of district effectiveness under State intervention, the State must return that area to local control. (Support)
  • A1104 – “Hunger-Free Students’ Bill of Rights Act”; requires certain school meal information be provided to students’ parents; establishes protocols for identifying eligible students for meal programs; prohibits stigmatizing student with bill in arrears. (Support)
  • A1630 – Clarifies that school district is not required to restrict access to school meals if school meal bill is in arrears. (Support)
  • A1631 – Requires school districts take certain actions to increase participation in free or reduced priced meal programs; prohibits shaming students with school meal bills in arrears; prohibits certain district actions in collecting unpaid school meal fees. (Support)
  • A1632 Requires school district to establish “School Meal Fund” to assist students with school meal bill in arrears. (Support)
  • A1669 – Requires health insurers to limit copayments for insulin. (Oppose)
  • S1028 – Allocates Amistad Commission in but not of DOE; requires commission to elect chairperson and appoint executive director; requires public schools to include instruction on accomplishments and contributions of African Americans to American society. (Monitor)
  • S1032 – Requires young children entering public schools or Head Start Programs for first time to have comprehensive eye examination completed. (Support)
  • S108 – Concerns speech rights of student journalists at public schools and public institutions of higher education. (Support)
  • S237 – Requires new civics instruction in middle and high schools; requires school districts to use DOE’s curriculum guidelines for civics; and requires DOE to provide funding to enhance civics instruction. (Oppose)
  • S311 – Prohibits school district from denying admittance to student due to tardiness or violation of dress code or school uniform policy. (Under review)
  • S316 – Establishes the Office of Dropout Prevention and Reengagement of Out-of-School Youth in DOE, and the Student Dropout Prevention Task Force. (Support)
  • S692 – Requires school districts to provide feminine hygiene products in certain public schools and requires State to pay costs. (Under review)
  • S854 – “Laura Wooten’s Law”; Requires civics instruction in middle school; authorizes New Jersey Center for Civic Education to provide curricula, professional development and technical assistance for middle and high school civics and provides annual center funding. (Oppose) [will be combined with S237]
  • S969 – Establishes loan redemption program for teachers in certain fields to redeem loan amounts received under New Jersey College Loans to Assist State Students Loan Program through employment in certain low performing schools. (Support)
  • S984 – Requires municipalities to share certain payments received in lieu of property taxes with school districts; informs counties and school districts of application for property tax exemption. (Support)

When is the Legislature meeting again? 

  • Thursday, February 13       Assembly and Senate Committees
  • Monday, February 24         Assembly and Senate Voting Session
  • Tuesday, February 25         Governor’s Budget Address
  • Tuesday, March 5               Assembly Committees and Senate Voting Session
  • Monday, March 16             Assembly and Senate Committees
  • Thursday, March 19           Assembly and Senate Committees
  • Thursday, March 26           Assembly and Senate Voting Session

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