NJEA President Shares NJ's Top Education Initiatives
Steve Adubato goes on-location to the 2016 NJEA Convention to speak with Wendell Steinhauer, President of the New Jersey Education Association, about the top initiatives in New Jersey education.
"Hi. Steve Adubato. More importantly, it's my pleasure to introduce the president of New Jersey Education Association, Wendell Steinhauer. We are in fact, Wendell, at the NJA convention here in beautiful Atlantic City Convention Center. Beautiful day, beautiful convention. Now, we are shooting at the end of 2016 talking about 2017. The world has changed in Washington. We'll see what happens in the statehouse in New Jersey. Let me ask you this... before we talk about New Jersey, we have a new president. President-elect Trump... as we do this program, he will be taking office in Washington, talks about education policy. Put it in perspective, the role of the federal government, the role of the Department of Education, in New Jersey education. As you know, you know, we've looked at the federal Department of Education as a big intrusion into a lot states. In New Jersey, for instance, we only get about 3% funding, not very much. But for all that they have to say and through No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, and now we're going into the ESSA implementation, which is actually... What is ESSA? You guys have a few acronyms? Ah, yeah. [Laughter] ESSA is Every Student Succeeds Act, which was signed last December, almost a year ago by President Obama to replace the NCLB, No Child Left Behind Act, that was in place for 13 years. And you know, it's only, it's supposed to be re-authorized every five years. So we kind of went a while on that one. The good thing about ESSA is that it's more state driven and that states can be putting their implementation plans in and quite honestly,that's what going to be needed in March of 2017 or June of 2017. There's some thinking in the administration right now as to charter schools, guidelines. What are they? Why does it matter? And what do you believe makes sense or doesn't make sense about them? Actually, just in the last four or five months, Governor Christie has really pushed on charter school reform, which translates to loosening up the guidelines on charter schools. And they just put regulations through the Department of Education right now. They're still reviewing them right now, but here's the thing with charter schools... it's been a 20-year experiment. 20 years charter schools have been in New Jersey, and they were originally to create this innovation and bring out good ideas and so on. So where we are on that is, it's time to take a pause. We're asking let's get a study done on what charter schools have done over the 20 years. Is it fulfilling the original need? Where is it going now? And should we continue or make revisions on that? Who would do that study? What objective arbiter judge would look at this and come to those conclusions..."