NJEA President Wendell Steinhauer issued the following statement regarding the nomination of David Hespe as New Jersey’s new commissioner of education:
| David Hespe
“We congratulate Mr. Hespe on his nomination, and we look forward to working with him to find smart, creative, research-based approaches to helping New Jersey’s public schools thrive.
“NJEA has called for a fresh start and a new approach from the Department of Education, and we believe that Mr. Hespe will deliver that.
“His considerable experience as a commissioner, as a superintendent, and in education policy will be a strong asset, and give him a clear perspective of the challenges facing New Jersey’s students, teachers, and administrators.
“Mr. Hespe has a good reputation in the education community and a demonstrated ability to build consensus around challenging issues. We have worked well with him in the past and look forward to doing so again. We enjoyed a strong, positive working relationship with him when he served previously in this role, and he was always accessible and open to our ideas and approaches. We anticipate that he will listen to the legitimate concerns of career educators and value their experiences.
“We also call on Mr. Hespe to listen to educators and parents alike who are legitimately concerned about the harmful impact of the new testing and evaluation systems. The rushed and chaotic implementation of those systems is undermining their credibility and their effectiveness. Likewise, the failure to properly implement the Common Core State Standards is turning educators and the public against a system that has great potential to help students if it is implemented correctly.
“We urge Mr. Hespe to focus on doing things right rather than doing them quickly. He has said in the past that implementation is difficult work that requires a school-by-school approach, and we are optimistic that he will bring that approach to his new role.
“We are eager to build a strong, collaborative relationship with Mr. Hespe. By working together, we believe we can make New Jersey’s world-class public schools even better.”