The New Jersey State Board of Education has just begun its monthly public meeting; you can see the agenda here. One difference from meetings over the last year: Acting Education Commissioner Angelica Allen-McMillan hasn’t shown up today. Instead, she’s sent a surrogate in her place.
President Kathy Goldenberg’s report focused on the recent media and legislative fervor over the Board’s failure to resume in-person meetings; meetings have been remote since March 2020 when the pandemic hit New Jersey. A bill currently circulating in the State Legislature would force the Board to resume in-person meetings and NJEA has weighed in as well: “It’s time, past time actually, for the State Board of Education to resume in-person meetings,” New Jersey Education Association spokesperson Steve Baker told Politico. “Work that affects the public should be done in public and very few institutions affect more New Jersey residents than our public schools.”
In her report Goldenberg says the Board believes in public access and is grateful to the Department of Education in dealing with technological challenges that come along with Microsoft Teams, the platform used for remote meetings. The Board is determined to create a hybrid format to increase access to the public and “allow important information to reach more eyes.” Members have asked the DOE to “procure a secure and accessible platform for the benefit of all constituents.”