Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Waiting for NJQSAC

For those who want to know more about NJQSAC while awaiting Plainfield’s report, the first seven reports can be read online.

Each one consists of an Evaluation Team Review, a Commissioner’s Report and a Curriculum Audit. The first seven reports released by the state Department of Education are on Asbury Park, Camden, Irvington, Jersey City, Newark, Salem and Trenton. Reports for Atlantic City and Paterson are expected to be released this week and later the reports for Plainfield and Elizabeth are expected.

It was interesting to me to see that Plainfield’s new assistant superintendent, Walter Rusak, was on the Newark review team. The teams went through classrooms and assessed numerous factors for the evaluations, such as teacher preparation and use of computers. It’s worth looking at one or two to get an idea of how they were done.

Districts received scores in five performance areas. Scores over 80 indicated high performance. Scores between 50 and 80 showed a need for a corrective action plan. A score below 50 in any area meant the state Department of Education would work with a district to identify and resolve problems.

NJQSAC stands for New Jersey Quality Single Accountability Continuum and is the new monitoring system that will be used to assess every school district in the state. The DOE started with the Abbott districts, which receive large amounts of state aid.

After many years of increasing state aid to Abbott districts, the DOE has in the past few years kept aid flat. Suburban districts, where school budgets are mostly supported by local taxes, have complained that Abbott districts are not showing results for all the state aid poured into them.

No doubt changes are coming in public education and state funding. The reports will be the basis for state intervention where necessary. Take a look at the DOE press release and maybe a couple of reports to see how this new system is set up.

--Bernice Paglia


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