Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Education Lessons From A Sparkly District: Parents Deserve to Know Who Is Being Appointed to State Board of Ed

Education Lessons From A Sparkly District: Parents Deserve to Know Who Is Being Appointed to State Board of Ed:

Parents Deserve to Know Who Is Being Appointed to State Board of Ed



I spent a rather surreal day at NJ Senate's Judiciary Committee meeting yesterday. This Committee, headed by Democrat Nick Scaturi, is responsible for approving nominations of judges and members of various pubic boards - everything from Rutgers to the Delaware River Authority - including the NJ State Board of Education (SBOE). The Committee has been "interviewing" and passing nominees on for a full Senate vote. 

Yesterday was a bit of an eye-opener. Apparently, "interviewing" is a euphemism for thanks for coming to see us, or some version of that, followed by yes votes to move them along for a full Senate vote. To be fair, particularly in the case of the judges, these are people who have worked hard in their careers and are undoubtedly qualified to do the job they've been appointed for, but that's not the point of a public interview. That's in place for all of us, the taxpayers and constituents of this state. 

There have been two Judiciary Committee meetings in the last few weeks. Members of Save Our Schools NJ have been there to protest the lack of transparency in the SBOE appointment process. Susan Cauldwell wrote about those two Committee meetings here.

Why, then, were the SBOE nominees not interviewed?  Senator Scutari explained that the Committee doesn't have to. Well, since the Senate decides on how the nominees are handled, "doesn't have to" doesn't cut it. There is little transparency, and frankly, no checks or balances on the NJ Department of Education (NJDOE), so knowing who is being appointed is kinda important. 

At this Committee meeting, three of us testified in complaint of the complete lack of transparency in this process. Given that education makes up about one third of New Jersey's budget and the SBOE is gatekeeper of how that money is spent, you'd think these Senators would want to know who the nominees are. 

As you watch the video of our testimony, please note a few things: 1. Several Senators, including the Chair, Nick Scutari, walked away; 2. Senator Weinberg, Senate Majority Leader, is interrupted by Senator Scutari and he immediately moves to end her effort to have the 
Education Lessons From A Sparkly District: Parents Deserve to Know Who Is Being Appointed to State Board of Ed:

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