The Assembly Education Committee approved bills dealing with issues such as student absences, emergency defibrillators, and environmentally friendly cleaning.
A bill that would establish an “Early High School Graduation Pilot Program” in the state Department of Education, A-2654 (Gusciora/Quijano), was held by the Assembly Education Committee
Green Cleaning A-1848 (Gusciora), which requires the New Jersey Department of Education to adopt green cleaning policy for schools and child care centers with 50 or more students, passed the committee. This policy would require the use of such products and would establish guidelines and specifications for the purchase of such products for use in schools.
Defibrillators A bill requiring the placement of automated external defibrillators in a public school complex, A-1036 (Malone/Lampitt), passed the Assembly Education Committee by a 9-0 vote. NJSBA supported the measure. It requires the school to provide for training in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation and defibrillator use for school nurses and other staff members, and requires districts to provide such a trained staffer at any school-sponsored or school-approved extracurricular event or activity. The bill also specifies that a school district and employees are immune from civil liability in accordance with current law on defibrillator use.
Absence Notifications A-416 (Rumana/Diegnan) would require a parent or guardian to notify school administrators if their child will be absent from school. It also requires a school to notify a parent in the event of unexcused pupil absence. The proposed measure, known as “Tabitha’s Law,” is named for a 13-year old Tennessee girl who, in 2003, did not attend school one day, a fact that was unknown to her parents. The school did not contact the girl’s parents about her absence, and they did not become aware she was missing until 4:45 p.m. that day. The girl remains missing today. The bill passed the committee unanimously and was supported by NJSBA
You may have heard the charge that U.S. students spend less time in school than their peers in other countries
There are two problems with the above assertion, according a new report from NSBA’s Center for Public Education titled Time in School: How Does the U.S. Compare? One, it isn’t true: U.S. students spend just as many, or more, hours in class than in countries like China, and Finland. And, secondly: Sheer time in class is not a good indicator of educational excellence
Providing extra time is only useful if that time is used widely,” says the study, written by Jim Hull, the Center’s senior policy analyst. “As the Center’s report Making Time found, the relationship between time and student learning is not about the amount of time spent in school. Rather, it is how effectively that time is used. And this report has also shown that there is no relationship between simply requiring more time and increased achievement.”
To compare time spent in school, the Center looked at international data from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the World Data on Education Seventh Edition 2010-11. Because minimum hours in the United States are set by individual states, the Center used for comparison data from five states that enroll a significant number of U.S. students: California, Florida, New York, Texas, and Massachusetts.
More important than total hours is the way schools use them, the report said. It said that school districts should evaluate how effectively they use existing school time and consider alternatives.
The New Jersey State Board of Education announced that the newly created Closing the Achievement Gap Task Force will hold regional public hearings to obtain input on ways to tackle the state’s academic achievement gap.
The task force expects to hold multiple public hearings around the state in the near future, although dates and locations have not been announced.
The 10-member task force, created by the State Board in June, is charged with reporting to the State Board with recommendations for a statewide strategy to close the academic achievement gap among many less affluent and non-white students. The task force will explore issues such as access, culture and climate, expectations, and strategies.