Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Rethinking Requirements for NJ Chief School Administrator

NJ.COM reports that Governor Christie and his administration want to change certification requirements for superintendents so that the job could be open to those with a bachelor’s degree and managerial experience. Currently, superintendents must have a master's degree and other credits. The proposal would also make it easier, for example, to give mayors a larger role in running the city's schools. Unfortunately, it will also make it easier for people to become a superintendent with less expertise, less educational experience, and less formal training in the complex operations of a school district.

To view the official press release from the New Jersey State Board of Education where they use Woodrow Wilson and Albert Einstein as examples of people who would not be able to run a NJ School District due to lack of credentials as a rationale for lowering superintendent standards- CLICK HERE.

Analysis: Even superintendents in the midwest with MUCH lower costs of living than New Jersey make more than Governor Christie's cap. Moreover, a few hundred New York superintendents make more than Christie's cap. Clearly, the Governor much realize that nobody will come to New Jersey to be a superintendent. His administration realizes they will need to lower the requirements to become a superintendent. New Jersey will no longer be a competitive option for ANYONE in education. Consequently, the standards will need to be lowered to fill vacancies- especially in the area of Chief School Administrators. It appears there is a lowering of standards going on either overtly or inadvertently.

What is required of a Chief School Administrator? Officially, this is the State of New Jersey's description:

(a) The school administrator endorsement is required for any position that involves services as a district-level administrative officer. Such positions shall include superintendent, assistant superintendent, and director. Holders of this endorsement are authorized to provide educational leadership by directing the formulation of district-wide goals, plans, policies and budgets, by recommending their approval by the district board of education and by directing their district-wide implementation. Holders of this endorsement are authorized to recommend all staff appointments and other personnel actions, such as terminations, suspensions and compensation, including the appointment of school business administrators, for approval by the district board of education. Holders of this endorsement are authorized to direct district operations and programs, and to supervise and evaluate building administrators and central office staff, including school business administrators. They are also authorized to oversee the administration and supervision of school-level operations, staff and programs.

For those interested in what value a top quality superintendent can bring to a motivated urban school district, please take a look at this recent book by Stanford University Professor Larry Cuban on Superintendent Dr. Pat Forgione and the Austin Independent School District entitled, "As Good As It Gets" published by Harvard University Press.

Picture: Frank H. Conlon/The Star-Ledger

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dr. Petrosino,

As a resident in one of the Abbott districts, with a good number of failing schools, I have been thinking about this latest proposal to relax the requirements for CSAs. Here are couple of questions that you might be able to help me answer:

Will a BOE be mandated to hire a CSA without all current mandated certifications?

Will this proposal, if passed, in your opinion, would make it harder for failing districts to attract quality CSAs?

It will be appreciated if you can share your opinion on this. Thanks!

Plainfield, NJ