Continuing his commitment to bold and meaningful reform of New Jersey's public education system, Governor Chris Christie today signed Executive Order 58 creating the Education Transformation Task Force to conduct a top to bottom review of education regulations that are hurting the performance of our public schools. The goal of the Task Force will be to rethink the way the State of New Jersey delivers public education for nearly 1.4 million students, with a focus on delivering greater flexibility to principals and teachers throughout the state.
The Task Force is charged with completing a comprehensive and thorough review of all current administrative regulations that affect public education, and providing recommendations to the Governor that further the goals of: increasing quality of instruction and academic achievement for students; improving teaching and educator effectiveness within schools; improving the safety and well-being of students; and sensibly eliminating or reforming those regulations that are found to be unnecessary, overly burdensome, or not conducive to an efficient and flexible classroom environment.
"While we demand accountability from educators and continue moving toward a system that puts results for our children first, we must also ensure that the government gets out of the way and allows teachers and school leaders the freedom they need to effectively teach our children. Too often, excessive and unnecessary mandates from Trenton force school districts to expend limited time, money and other resources that do not further their core educational mission of ensuring access to a good education and raising student learning," said Governor Christie. "Today, we are taking a necessary step to evaluate those rules, statues and regulations governing education and move toward a system that values educational results over bureaucratic process. Red tape that does not have a specific, necessary focus to further and protect the interests of our students must be eliminated."
Members of the Task Force will include at least one teacher, a principal, a school business administrator and a superintendent. Among its charges, the Education Transformation Task Force will examine the "Quality Single Accountability Continuum" regulations known as "QSAC." Currently, schools must file reports that deal with more than 300 indicators of a school's performance.
"Overly prescriptive rules and regulations inhibit the initiative of teachers and administrators and dilute accountability for local decision making," said Acting Education Commissioner Chris Cerf. "Providing an effective education for every child means refining the partnership between accountability for results and the empowerment of educators to determine the right strategies to achieve those results. Through the work of this Task Force, we will take on that important challenge and further the Christie Administration's goal of giving every child a great education that prepares them for college and the workforce."
The Education Transformation Task Force's initial report, with its recommendations to the Governor, will be completed by August 15, 2011. Thereafter, the Task Force will continue to meet following receipt of comments by the public, the New Jersey State Board of Education and education stakeholders, submitting its final report and completing its work before the end of the year.