Something Farshtunkene* in Lakewood

When news broke last year that the FBI raided homes of 26 Lakewood ultra-Orthodox residents on charges of wrongfully collecting Medicaid, food stamps, SNAP, and SSI benefits, as well as evading property taxes that fund schools and municipal activities (see here), New Jersey Comptroller Philip J. Degnan’ issued a statement that said participants must make “full restitution of all improperly received funds.” Unless, that is, if you’re a Lakewood Board of Education member. Or maybe just …

Oops. New Jersey DOE Leaders Just Made a Mistake.

On October 12, last Friday,  Assistant Education Commissioner Linda Eno sent a letter to all “Chief School Administrators, Charter School and Renaissance School Project Leads,” copied to Commissioner Lamont Repollet. The letter, entitled “Spring 2019 State Assessment Name, Length and Time Changes,”  describes the differences between last year’s administration of standardized tests to those that will be given this coming Spring. There’s just one problem. The information shared with school leaders is wrong. Two weeks ago …

The NJ DOE Says It’s Asking for Input on Charter Schools But Is the Verdict in Already?

When I examine the NJ Department of Education’s spanking-new webpage called “Charter School Program Act Review — Outreach 2018” I keep thinking of a scene from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland when the Knave of Hearts is on trial for stealing tarts baked by the Queen: “Let the jury consider their verdict,” the King said, for about the twentieth time that day. “No, no!” said the Queen. “Sentence first–verdict afterward.” “Stuff and nonsense!” said Alice …

Charter School Review Must Address Funding Bias Against Charter Schools

This is a press release from the New Jersey Charter School Association. Those interested in the state’s “comprehensive review” of NJ charter schools can submit written feedback and attend meetings. For information about how you can contribute, click here. (And do it soon! The DOE has established a very short window for accepting comments.)  For my own concerns about the Murphy Administration’s oversight of the charter sector, see my column today in NJ Spotlight. Charter …

Hot Off the Press: New Report from NCTQ Reviews Newark’s Teacher Evaluation System

When the Newark Teachers Union (NTU) and the Newark Public Schools, under the superintendency of Cami Anderson, agreed in 2012 to a new contract that linked teacher pay to performance, AFT President Randi Weingarten said, “This agreement ensures that teacher voice, quality and experience are aligned with increased professionalism and better compensation.” This past summer NTU President John Abeigon, when queried by a Chalkbeat reporter about those 2012 innovatives and upcoming negotiations for a new …

A Letter from Charter School Parents to NJ Education Commissioner Repollet: #ILoveMyCharter

NJ Parents to Commissioner Repollet: We Love Our Public Charter Schools, Please Fund Them Fairly As State Ed. Commissioner Begins Review of Charter School Laws, Parents, Educators and Public Charter School Supporters Demand Equity and Fairness for Charter Students Campaign Will Focus on Sharing the Stories of Families, the Facts About Public Charter Schools and Fixing Unfair Laws and Unequal Funding Today, a coalition of parents, students, educators, community leaders, and public charter school supporters …

As A White, Privileged, Mom of a Child with Disabilities, I Want To Scream and Cry and Throw Things.

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,  here. and here. Her post that describes Aaron’s issues is here. I want to share a few thoughts on this New Yorker piece on Georgia’s “separate and unequal special education system,” beyond the fact that I wanted to scream and cry and throw things when I read it. First, this quote …

NJ Teacher: NJEA’s State Leadership Makes Me Feel Disrespected and Ignored so I’m Opting Out.

This is a guest post by Susan Fischer. Ms. Fischer has been a public school teacher in New Jersey for over 30 years. Up until last month, she was a member of the NJEA. The letter was released yesterday by New Jersey Education Watch. Last month I decided to opt out of the NJEA. I did so because I felt it was the only way my voice could be heard. I am a good teacher …

Governor Phil Murphy Does Not “Eliminate PARCC Day One.” Here’s the Compromise.

The New Jersey Board of Education and Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet have reached a compromise on PARCC testing. (See here for the contentious background.) Repollet wanted, per Governor Murphy’s promise to NJEA, to reduce the number of end-of-course tests that students take in high school from six to two. (Those tests would be 10th grade English language arts and Algebra 1, which some students take in 8th or 9th grade). Advocates for educational improvement wanted …