Who is on the State Board of Education? And do they practice what they preach?

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Perhaps you’ve wondered who sits on our State BOE.  Since they have been such strong proponents of the Common Core and public ed reform, they must of course send their children to schools with the same rigorous standards and technology initiatives.

Here are some details on our State BOE as well as an interesting letter to the editor pointing out some possible contradictions between what NJ’s BOE president supports in our public schools and how that appears to differ from what his children’s school (The Willow School) does.

The State Board has 11 members who are appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the New Jersey State Senate. They serve six-year terms and are not paid. No two members may be appointed from the same county.

By law, at least three members of the State Board must be women. Meeting that minimum requirement, eight board members are men and three are women.

The current board is composed of six members appointed by Gov. Chris Christie, other members having been appointed by previous NJ Governors.

Brief backgrounds of Christie’s appointees are below and additional details of each board member can be found following the link at the bottom.

  • Jack A. Fornaro (Oxford Township, Warren County), previously served on the Board of Cosmetology and Hair Styling under the Department of Consumer Affairs.
  • J. Peter Simon (Green Village, Morris County) is the son of William Simon, former Treasury Secretary under Pres. Nixon & Ford.  He is currently a banker and partner in William Simon & Sons.
  • Claire Chamberlin Eckert (Bernardsville, Somerset County) is chief operating officer of Janet Simon, Inc, a design firm founded by J. Peter Simon’s wife, Janet.  Before that Eckert spent 10 years at Goldman Sachs where she focused on structuring and financing leveraged buyouts.  She is a member of the NJ State Republican Committee.
  • Andrew Mulvihill (Andover, Sussex County) is a Vernon Valley developer and the president of Crystal Springs Builders, which built the Grand Cascades Lodge near the Crystal Springs Country Club in Hamburg. His firm recently bought Mountain Creek ski resort and has built other townhomes and developments in the area.
  • Josephy Fisicaro (Evesham Township, Burlington County) is the Vice President, State Board of Education, 2013 – present.  He is a former Philadelphia teacher and LRHS board of education, and school boards association member.
  • Mark W. Biedron (Pottersville, Hunterdon County) is the current president of the State Board of Ed.  Biedron has a background in business administration.  Additionally he is a Co-Founder of The Willow School, Gladstone, N.J., and the founder of Solid Wood Construction LLC.

A recent letter to the editor published on NorthJersey.com pointed out the potential contradiction between what State BOE President Mark Biedron supports in his appointed position versus what he supports for his own children.

“We recently learned that Mark Biedron, president of the New Jersey State Board of Education and a staunch supporter of the Common Core, sends his children to The Willow School, a private school he founded. A thorough examination of the school’s website reveals no evidence of the implementation of the Common Core and its narrow focus on “college and career readiness.”

Instead, The Willow School seeks to develop each child’s intellectual, artistic and physical potential through a comprehensive interdisciplinary curriculum. The Willow School helps children discover who they are, the joy of learning, and the wonder of the environment around them. Foreign languages are taught in the early grades. There is no mention of technology in the description of their curriculum.”

Letter to Editor: Wealthy elite are setting education standards

NJ State Board of Education

 

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