My Sister Carla: A Personal Story About Mental Illness

I have an acute aversion to pretense. I think that’s why I react so strongly to charades like “New Jersey can remedy educational inequity by funneling massive amounts of money to poor urban districts”; or “98 percent of teachers are effective or highly effective”; or  “low student proficiency levels are the fault of terrible PARCC tests” or “charter schools cherry-pick students” (through anonymous lotteries!). In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month I’ve decided to come …

Five Take-Aways from Lakewood’s Most Recent School Board Meeting

As a public service, I just watched last week’s two and a half-hour meeting of the Lakewood School Board that, once again, was run by board attorney Michael Inzelbuch. Here are five take-aways.  Lakewood Board Accepts State Loan of $28 million: Inzelbuch, referring to the loan: “The state grant — I mean ‘loan.’ That was Freudian.” Aaron Hirsch during public comments: “It’s like a snowball effect. We keep taking out loans. At some point we’ll be …

“This Is Not the ‘Fairer’ New Jersey Promised by Gov. Murphy”

This is a letter from Robert Beers, Superintendent of  Manville Public Schools (Somerset County) that first appeared in Central Jersey.  Another budget planning cycle has come and gone for New Jersey school districts as the May 15 submission deadline has passed. This task continues to be a herculean effort as Manville Borough remains one of the most underfunded school districts in the entire state of New Jersey. The Manville 2018-19 budget was completed in the …

Getting the Facts Straight on New Jersey Charter Schools: This Is No Time For a “Pause” On High-Quality Charter Growth

Donna Siminski is Director of Policy and Advocacy for the New Jersey Charter School Association with a focus on the policy issues impacting the the state’s charter schools. Donna works with members, charter families, and charter school professionals to advocate for high-quality charter schools and the children they serve. Governor Murphy and Acting Commissioner Repollet are interested in New Jersey’s charter school facts and reviewing the current law & regulations. As this analysis proceeds, the …

Top Ten Pro-Tips for Special Needs Schools Seeking New Students

This post is by Liz Winslow, a school choice warrior and mom of three children, two of whom have special needs. Her work has previously appeared on NJLB here and here. Her most recent post, which describes Aaron’s issues, is here. So, my ex and I visited the first of several specialized schools where disturbed — but still age five — Aaron might go out-of-district today. While we were fully prepared for them to not look exactly like traditional elementary …

Breaking News: State “Loans” Lakewood $28 Million

Late yesterday the Asbury Park Press reported that the state would accede to the request by the Lakewood Board of Education and board attorney Michael Inzelbuch by handing over a loan of $28,182,090 to close the district’s budget gap. Of course this is not a loan: currently Lakewood “owes” the state $47 million that it will never be able to pay back. Everyone knows this. This is not a loan but an expression of the …

Guest Post: Lakewood Public Schools District is “A Shell of What It Once Was”

This guest post is by Jonathan Shutman, a retired school principal and administrator who has worked in the Marlboro, North Brunswick, and Montclair public school districts. He is presently a part-time support ESL and math teacher for CNA and LPN students at the Monmouth County Vocational School District. He is the author of  “Disability Abuse in Educational Settings.” Recently, the Asbury Park Press ran a story by Stacey Barchenger, a seven-chapter history and expose about …

Sweeney, Ruiz & Madden Announce Committee Hearings on Troubling Videos of Teachers Union Officials

A quick response from New Jersey legislative leaders (see here for context): TRENTON – Senate President Steve Sweeney, Senate Education Committee Chairwoman M. Teresa Ruiz and Senate Labor Committee Chairman Fred H. Madden today announced that they will hold joint committee hearings in the wake of online videos that appear to show teachers union officials suggesting that teachers should not report assaults against students, including an alleged sexual assault. “These union officials appear to be advocating …

Two Teacher Union Presidents, Per These Videos, Excuse the Inexcusable

The following is a letter sent by Patricia Morgan of JerseyCAN and Shelley Skinner of Better Education for Kids to Senator Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex), Chair of the State Senate Education Committee, regarding two videos released last week. The first (below) features the President of the Hamilton Education Association and the second (below that) features the President of the Union City Education Association. Both expose what Morgan and Skinner describe as a teacher disciplinary system “vulnerable …

“You Broke Our Dreams.” Latina Mom “Talks the Truth” to Lakewood’s School Board and Lawyer

“You promised to help my community but that’s not the truth,” said Alejandra Morales of the advocacy group La Voz Latina to the Lakewood Board of Education and board attorney Michael Inzelbuch. “How do you know what’s going on in the schools? You don’t have children there. I want to talk the truth. Now you’re asking for money from the state and my children don’t have a teacher.” It was a chaotic scene during the …