Several bills were approved by the Legislative Education Committees on Monday. We supported several of them because they would improve standards, safety and spending.
In the Assembly Education Committee, we supported A-2873 and A-3396, but will be seeking amendments for each of these bills. A-2873 would require a computer science class be a part of the high school graduation requirements, and A-3396 would require financial literacy instruction in grades kindergarten through eight.
Both bills are well intentioned and speak to a greater conversation on the inadequacy of many students’ and job seekers’ skills in technology and personal finance. However, creating new blanket mandates for students, especially as a one-size-fits-all education, may not be the best way to address the problem.
For starters, New Jersey already has education standards in technology and personal finance, infused into everyday learning. Specifically:
- 8.1 Educational Technology & 8.2 Technology Education, Engineering, Design, and Computational Thinking – Programming All students will use digital tools to access, manage, evaluate, and synthesize information in order to solve problems individually and collaborate and to create and communicate knowledge. All students will develop an understanding of the nature and impact of technology, engineering, technological design, computational thinking and the designed world as they relate to the individual, global society, and the environment.
- 9.1 Personal Financial Literacy This standard outlines the important fiscal knowledge, habits, and skills that must be mastered in order for students to make informed decisions about personal finance. Financial literacy is an integral component of a student’s college and career readiness, enabling students to achieve fulfilling, financially-secure, and successful careers.
An additional graduation requirement would also be difficult for New Jersey’s 21 County Vocational Schools. They typically take at least 30 credits (equivalent to six full-year one-period classes) in their career program, along with all of the course and testing requirements for high school graduation.
Cutting back on the time for career and technical education may limit students’ eligibility to earn industry certifications if they are unable to meet seat-time requirements or cover all of the material required for these certificates.
In Assembly Education Committee, NJBIA also supported:
- A-2292, which requires review of Core Curriculum Content Standards to ensure guidance for substance abuse instruction provided to public school students incorporates most recent evidence-based standards and practices; and
- A-3629/S-86, which establishes Class Three special law enforcement officers to provide security in public and nonpublic schools and county colleges.
NJBIA also supported:
- S-2372, which establishes State School Aid Funding Fairness Commission, in Senate Education Committee;
- S-1822, which permits certain public institutions of higher education to make purchases and contract for services as participating contracting units in cooperative pricing systems and through use of nationally-recognized and accepted cooperative purchasing agreements, in Senate Higher Education Committee; and
- A-3405, which permits certain public institutions of higher education to make purchases and contract for services as participating contracting units in cooperative pricing systems and through use of nationally-recognized and accepted cooperative purchasing agreements, in Assembly Appropriations Committee.