State education leader, Ridgewood parents to meet
MARCH 4, 2015 LAST UPDATED: WEDNESDAY, MARCH 4, 2015, 1:21 AM
RIDGEWOOD — Mark Biedron, the president of the state Board of Education, will meet next week with village residents to address questions and concerns about Common Core standards and the computer-based PARCC tests.
Marlene Burton said she will open her Liberty Street home to accommodate Biedron’s visit to Ridgewood on Tuesday.
Burton said she’s moving furniture out of her house to make room for the 60-plus residents expected to attend the forum with Biedron. State education officials also confirmed the event.
Burton said Biedron agreed to the Ridgewood meeting following an email exchange on Common Core issues and the controversial PARCC tests.
The meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. at 123 Liberty St.
PROFILE: STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION PRESIDENT BRINGS UNIQUE PEDIGREE TO POST
JOHN MOONEY | JANUARY 7, 2015
Mark Biedron cofounded a progressive private school that’s a far cry from the testing-centric culture of public schools
Mark Biedron, president of the state Board of Education.
Name: Mark Biedron
Title: President of the State Board of Education, 2014 to present. Appointed to the board in 2011 by Gov. Chris Christie.
Why he matters: Biedron has taken an activist role in leading the 13-member board that is responsible for reviewing and approving state administrative code and school regulations. He has traveled the state to query stakeholders and pressed the administration to explain its policies, from testing to school monitoring.
Where he comes from: The board president is a cofounder of the Willow School in Gladstone, a small independent school that focuses on ethics and language as the cornerstones of its curriculum. Founded with his former wife in 2002, the school’s progressive model is quite a bit different from the testing-focused culture of the public education system that Biedron is now charged with overseeing.
Not incongruous: Biedron maintains that for all the evident differences, he feels that public schools are moving toward a more holistic approach to education via the new Common Core State Standards and the advent of PARCC (Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) testing.
Quote: “In the old way and my way of learning, it was to put answers on paper. But your look at PARCC and Common Core, while not perfect, it is about how you got to the answers.”
Not happening fast enough: “I am the first person to say that testing doesn’t show everything about a student, but we have to take a lot of steps moving from Point A to Point B … This big behemoth called education moves slowly.”
How he started a school: Biedron said he was looking for a school for his children that would address both personal virtues and academic rigor, and finding none, he and his former wife were left with the decision to either move or start their own school. They decided on the latter.