NJDOE News
For More Information Contact the Public Information Office:
    Tom Rosenthal
    Richard Vespucci
    Jon Zlock

    609-292-1126

For Release: April 11, 2003


Commissioner of Education William L. Librera Reinforces McGreevey Administration’s Commitment to Education; Lauds Newspapers in Education Program at "Back to Basics" Conference Sponsored by the Record

arrow Commissioner's Remarks

Commissioner of Education William L. Librera today presented the keynote address at the "Back to Basics: Literacy is Key" conference, held at the Stadium Club in East Rutherford and sponsored by the Record newspaper. In his prepared remarks, the Commissioner reinforced the McGreevey Administration’s commitment to education in New Jersey, and lauded the "Newspapers in Education" program.

Commissioner Librera’s speech focused on the five key components of the Governor James E. McGreevey Administration’s 21-point education reform plan: teacher and administrator quality; raising student achievement; creating multiple and diverse paths for student success; utilizing innovative and outstanding practices and programs; and engaging and communicating with the public to ensure accountability.

"The collegiality of a conference such as this gives all of us that extra motivation to try new ways and perfect our own art and skill," Commissioner Librera said.

"The Department is guided by some basic assumptions that will continue to influence our education agenda," Librera continued. "These include the belief that all children can learn if taught well, and that there must be high expectations, multiple and diverse opportunities for children to meet the (Core Curriculum Content) standards."

Commissioner Librera highlighted, among other successful initiatives, the Career Academy programs in place in Cherry Hill, Morristown, Trenton and Englewood, as well as the new "Network of Schools" program, which enables school districts statewide to share best practices in the following areas: the achievement imperative, special education reform, and small schools.

Librera also encouraged school districts to continue to take advantage of professional development opportunities for teachers and administrators.

"Professional standards are already at work supporting the professional development efforts of teachers, and they will provide a solid platform for education preparation and licensure in New Jersey," Librera said. "Once we establish a climate of professional growth and success in our classrooms, we will have a better chance to retain our teachers and administrators."

In his opening remarks, Commissioner Librera praised the work of newspapers and their involvement in classroom discussion about current events — namely the coverage of the conflict in Iraq.

"Teachers have perceived how anxious students are to discuss what is happening in the world and have built lessons around the need to talk about current events that may have an impact on students’ lives," the Commissioner said. "It is reporters and editors who supply the content for these classroom lessons that are timely and important."

In September 2002, the McGreevey Administration hosted an education reform conference and announced the 21-point plan for education reform, found online at: http://www.state.nj.us/njded/genfo/21point.htm. For more information about the plan or today’s speech in East Rutherford, please contact the Department of Education Public Information Office at (609) 292-1126.