Late October in Atlantic City? It must be time for N.J. School Boards Association’s Annual Workshop and Exhibition. Picture it: school board members and administrators in grey blazers and sensible shoes roaming Atlantic City’s cavernous Convention Center, attending sessions like “Energy Improvement Program (ESIP): How to Implement Energy Facilities Projects Without Spending More Money” and “Voluntary Model Curricula and Assessments Aligned with the Common Core Standards,” indulging in that perennially favorite activity of snatching up free candy and pens from vendors in the Exhibition Hall. Can anyone say “PAR-TAY!”
(Actually, yes. Your staid school board members might surprise you.)
So, what’s the vibe here? I hear none of last year’s inflamed political rhetoric about tenure and teacher evaluation reform and nary a debate about the wisdom or idiocy of N.J.’s pending shift from binary (satisfactory/unsatisfactory) and superficial teacher and principal annual reviews to granular evaluations infused with meaningful direction and longitudinal data. I see no rending of garments over the unreliability of measuring student growth through standardized tests or the subjectivity of classroom observations.