On January 29th, Governor Jon Corzine signed into law Joint Resolution No. 3 mandating the State to contract with an “independent entity” to conduct “a thorough and comprehensive evaluation” of the operations of the NJ Department of Education.
Abbott district lawmakers, including Assemblymen Brian Stack and Craig Stanley and Senator Joseph Doria, led efforts to secure overwhelming passage of the measure in both the Senate and General Assembly. ELC vigorously supported the bill.
The Legislature acted to address longstanding and serious concerns over the lack of capability at NJDOE to properly manage the State’s public education system, including school improvement efforts in high poverty urban schools and other districts serving sizeable numbers of low-income students.
Under the law, the independent consultant hired to perform the evaluation must, at a minimum, “identify those organizational and staffing deficiencies that limit the department’s ability to provide effective oversight of school districts” and “develop recommendations for the reorganization of the department that will improve the capacity of the department to oversee the operation of school districts and to respond immediately and effectively to operational and educational issues that may arise.”
Up to $750,000 is authorized for the evaluation, with a 6-month completion date.
The next step is to prepare bid specifications and move to hire the consultant.
“It is critical that Governor Corzine’s office write rigorous bid specifications, and allocate the full $750,000 for this evaluation,” said David Sciarra, ELC Executive Director. “We need to hire the nation’s best and most qualified experts. Fixing the Department’s shortcomings will require cutting-edge thinking and creative solutions. Let’s not squander this opportunity to modernize an agency badly in need of a complete overhaul.”
Prepared: February 28, 2007
Director of Policy, Strategic Partnerships and Communications