Leader in Education:
In this video press release, Assembly Education Committee Chair Patrick J. Diegnan, Jr. (D-Middlesex) discusses his legislation that examines the current implementation of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) standardized test in New Jersey's schools.
The PARCC is replacing the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge and will be administered to all students in grades 3-11 in March.
Diegnan's parental opt-out legislation (A-4165) was slated for discussion only in the Education Committee.
The second bill (A-4190) would prohibit the state Department of Education from using the PARCC test to determine a student's placement in a gifted and talented program, placement in another program or intervention, grade promotion, as the state graduation proficiency test, or as a component of any evaluation rubric submitted to the DOE for three years, beginning in the 2015-2016 school year.
Diegnan Bill Credited With Saving Teen's Life
". . . we should thank Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan, D-South Plainfield, who several years ago aggressively spearheaded legislation to require AEDs (automatic external defibrillators) in all schools, and that students be provided with information about sudden cardiac deaths." - Editorial, January 7, 2016
A Colonia basketball player’s life was saved Tuesday at Edison High School, thanks to the heroic efforts of coaches and staffers from both schools. But if it wasn’t for a needed government response to earlier tragedies, life-saving tools might not have been available to those on the scene. During the second quarter of a freshman boys game Tuesday afternoon, a Colonia player collapsed near midcourt. Colonia coach Joe LaSala immediately recognized the urgency involved and felt the player needed a defibrillator. Edison physical education teacher Mark Blevins, who had been operating the scoreboard clock, and Colonia assistant coach Tyler Jackow ran for the AED device outside the gym. Edison athletic trainer Tim Root applied the defibrillator shocks that began to revive the player. Edison freshman coach Chris Banos also assisted until emergency responders arrived at the scene within a few minutes. Everyone involved deserves high praise for their professionalism and skill. Woodbridge Schools Superintendent Robert Zega called it a “miracle.” But there are also others who warrant their own recognition for helping make those life-saving efforts possible.
For instance, we should thank Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan, D-Middlesex, who several years ago aggressively spearheaded legislation to require AEDs (automatic external defibrillators) in all schools, and that students be provided with information about sudden cardiac deaths. There was an unfortunate irony to Tuesday’s incident occurring at Edison High. Six years ago, Kittim Sherrod, an Edison football player, died after collapsing during a training run at the school. He was found to have suffered from an undiagnosed heart condition, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, His death, and the similar death of another Middlesex County athlete, Brandon James of South Brunswick, prompted Diegnan’s AED legislation. Also championing that cause was Sherrod’s grandmother, Razeenah Walker, who worked with Diegnan in crafting the legislation and testified in support before the Assembly Education Committee. Another piece of legislation that has become law also requires the creation of emergency action plans to respond to sudden cardiac events. At least five school employees, team coaches or athletic trainers must be properly certified in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation and the use of a defibrillator. Named Janet’s Law, the measure was created in memory of Janet Zilinski, an 11-year-old from Warren who died of sudden cardiac arrest after a cheerleading practice in 2006.
These are examples of government action at its finest, the way it’s supposed to work. A problem is exposed, a dedicated representative develops a response to fix it, or at least reduce the chances of a repeat occurrence, and our leaders turn it into law. Every school in the state now benefits. But none of it would have meant anything if Root and Blevins, and the coaches of both teams Tuesday, hadn’t taken their responsibilities seriously, assuring they knew what to do and how to do it as quickly as possible when needed. Edison High School parents and students should be comforted by the knowledge that their school’s personnel care. And a Colonia family no doubt feels special gratitude for those who helped save a loved one’s life.
My political philosophy:
These are challenging times for our state and our nation. For the first time many Americans fear for the future of their children and grandchildren. We are the greatest democracy in the history of mankind. We must work together, regardless of party affiliation, to return New Jersey to its history of achievement and innovation. This is where Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein literally changed the world as we know it. Where Frank Sinatra taught us about "My Way" . . . where The Boss was Born to Run and Boni Jovi told us to Make a Memory. I am a firm believer that New Jersey's best days lie ahead and I am proud and honored to be able to contribute to that bright future as a member of the legislature.
– Assemblyman Partick Diegnan
18th Legislative District
2016 State of the State
Assemblyman Diegnan with Senator Peter Barnes, Middlesex County Freeholder Director Ron Rios and former Governors Donald DiFrancesco, James McGreevey and James Florio as commencement of 217th session of the State Legislature on January 12, 2016.
Leader in the District
Governor Signs Diegnan Bill in Wake of South Plainfield Tragedy
Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan to establish new standards to improve school bus safety has been signed into law. The newly signed “Abigail’s Law” (A-1455) will require newly-manufactured school buses to be equipped with motion sensors to determine the presence of persons or objects passing in front of or behind a bus. ing in front of or behind a bus. The legislation is in honor of Abigail Kuberiet, a child who tragically lost her life in 2003 standing in front of a stopped school bus in South Plainfield. The bus operator was unable to see the child from the driver’s seat. “The use of available technology will facilitate safe driving and prevent fatal accidents,” said Diegnan (D-Middlesex). “When an alarm sounds if a child is in the vicinity of the bus, the operator will immediately be made aware of the situation and will not move forward, and a life will be saved.” Children are more likely to be killed as pedestrians outside a school bus, and most often by their own school bus, according to the National Coalition for School Bus Safety. The majority of these accidents involve very young children.