High School Helmet ScamNovember 18, 2009
Are NJSBA Dues an Unfunded Mandate?November 19, 2009
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself”
The New Jersey School Boards Association is walking a thin line in its Emergency Resolution, which is on the agenda for this Saturday’s Delegate Assembly. The Resolution tries to do two things at once: support national common core standards and preserve the rights of local boards of education to manage public schools.
The impetus for a full-throated defense of national common core standards is obvious: as the document says, “a state’s acceptance of the standards will likely be a factor in the federal government’s awarding of Race To The Top Grant Funding.” How can the NJSBA espouse otherwise? On the other hand, N.J. is so deeply invested in local control that top-down reform is anathema to our culture. So here’s the catch:
The NJSBA believes the authority for the management of public schools must remain with local boards of education. Federal authority over school districts should not exceed the scope necessary to meet national goals, including national standards, and fulfill the mandate for a thorough and efficient system of public education. Federal authorities must give local districts the flexibility to achieve the goals of the federal education programs while maintaining local control.
Bottom line: we’ll accept federal common core standards as long as they don’t get in the way of local control. What about charter school expansion? That’s part and parcel of RTTT criteria, as well as some version of performance-based pay. Can we release our tight grip on local governance and keep hold of it too? NJSBA says “yes.” It’s oh so transcendental.