Gov. names members of education task force

Gov. Chris Christie has appointed a group of New Jerseyans to serve on the Education Transformation Task Force, which was created through Executive Order No. 58 on April 4.

According to a press release from the governor’s office, the task force will examine ways to eliminate burdensome regulations so that New Jersey’s educators will be given the freedom they need to employ the best strategies in the classroom.

This task force of educators, community leaders and school administrators will rethink the way New Jersey delivers public education for nearly 1.4 million students and ensure greater focus on delivering more flexibility to principals and teachers throughout the state, according to the press release.

“I have asked seasoned educators and community leaders from across the state to find ways to reduce energy sapping government red tape that wastes time and resources,” Christie said on May 9. “While we must hold educators accountable and measure how effectively they are teaching our children, we must also give the leaders in our schools the flexibility they need to drive innovation in the classroom and deliver the best results.”

The Education Transformation Task Force will be chaired by former New Jersey Commissioner of Education David C. Hespe (Belle Mead); and members will include Community Education Resource Network cofounder and director Angel Cordero (Camden); Teaneck High School Principal Angela R. Davis (New Milford); Kearny Superintendent of Schools Frank Digesere (Toms River).

And, Pittsgrove Township Middle School teacher Linda DuBois (Pittsgrove); Elizabeth Board of Education Assistant Secretary Donald Edwards Goncalves (Elizabeth); special education expert and ECLC of New Jersey Executive Director Bruce Litinger (Short Hills); and Seton Hall University Department of Education Leadership, Management and Policy Chair Michael J. Osnato (Westwood).

“We need to entirely rethink the way New Jersey delivers education to its 1.4 million students,” acting Education Commissioner Chris Cerf said. “We need to stop focusing on micromanaging local schools with unnecessary rules and regulations. The Department of Education must shift its mission so that everything we do is focused on helping children become college and career ready.”

According to the press release, the Education Transformation Task Force will gather comments from various stakeholders as it completes a comprehensive and thorough review of all current administrative regulations that affect public education, including an examination of the Quality Single Accountability Continuum regulations.

In its final report, the task force will provide recommendations to the governor that further the goals of increasing quality of instruction and academic achievement for students; improving teaching and educator effectiveness in schools; improving the safety and well-being of students; and sensibly eliminating or reforming regulations that are found to be unnecessary, overly burdensome, or not conducive to an efficient and flexible classroom environment, according to the press release.

A final report to the governor outlining the task force’s recommendations is due no later than Sept. 1, with an initial report by Aug. 15. These direct appointments by the governor do not require Senate confirmation and each member will serve without compensation.

Upon the issuance of its final report, the task force will expire.