Murphy Issues Statement Re: Post-Janus Union Protection Bill

Yesterday I wrote about New Jersey Education Association’s proactive legislative victory before the Supreme Court rules on Janus v. AFSCME, when the Justices will decide whether public employees have the right to not pay annual dues. Senate Bill 2137 protects N.J. unions’ bottom line by severely limiting member opportunities for withdrawal. In other Statehouse activity, and in defiance of New Jersey School Boards Association’s concerns, the Legislature also passed Assembly Bill 3686 (the same as Senate …

If SCOTUS Rules In Favor of Janus, How Can NJEA Members Free Themselves From No-Longer-Mandatory Fees?

Rumor has it that the Supreme Court will issue a decision today [correction: not today, maybe Thursday] in Janus v. AFSCME, which pits Mark Janus, a child support specialist in the Illinois Department of Healthcare of Family Services who has to pay an agency fee of $45 per paycheck, against the local chapter of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, of which he is not a member. Janus argues that bargaining with …

It’s Time for An Intervention in Lakewood

Here’s the aspiring interventionist, Deputy Assistant Education Commissioner Glenn Forney, doing the hard work of setting boundaries for the Lakewood Board of Education, specifically regarding its contract with Board Attorney Michael Inzelbuch: I have determined that the invoices and requests for payment submitted by the Board Counsel [Inzelbuch] do not meet the regulatory requirements…Please confirm through the State Monitor that these prior billing and remittance practices have ceased. Failure to do so may result in further …

Are the Project Veritas/NJEA Videos an Anomaly or the Canary in the Coal Mine?

Last week at the Statehouse in Trenton, New Jersey legislators moved far beyond the usual debates about our education system. Instead of quotidian discussions on issues like the flaws in our school funding formula or high school graduation requirements or student assessments, the Senate Education and Labor Committees held a special joint hearing on the unimaginable: the safety of New Jersey’s public school children and the behavior of teacher union leaders. Anchoring these hearing were …

Karp the PARCC-Slayer

Stan Karp, Director of of Secondary Reform for New Jersey’s Education Law Center, had an op-ed in NJ Spotlight on Friday that was rife with errors. As a public service here are four corrections. But first let’s examine Karp the PARCC Slayer’s arguments. According to our test-averse warrior, N.J.’s  high school diploma requirement — students must pass the Algebra 1 and 10th grade English state standardized tests in order to graduate, with portfolio options for students …

Rumor Mill in Lakewood Heating Up in Advance of Tonight’s Board Meeting

The rumor mill in Lakewood is abuzz as the Board of Education gets ready for tonight’s meeting. If anyone can suggest some factual information, please use the comment section. Inquiring minds want to know. Rumor #1: Is Board Attorney Michael Inzelbuch really resigning? Someone seems to think so. Rumor #2: How displeased is the Lakewood community with the state’s “loan” of $28 million and the Board’s agreement to start paying it back in a year, …

Senior Signing Day at KIPP NJ! What’s Next For These Stellar Scholars?

One of the biggest decisions a high school senior will make is where to attend college, and KIPP NJ makes that decision a very big deal.  On May 24, from 6:00-8:00 pm, the 129 KIPP Newark Collegiate Academy (NCA) seniors publicly announced for the first time where they will be attending college in the fall.  The event took place at Montclair State University.  Among the invited guests were friends and families of the students, high school faculty, the KIPP Through College …

Lakewood Board Member Resigns Because He is a “Man of Integrity”

This is a resignation letter from Lakewood Board of Education member Herbierto Rodriquez. More to come. Please let this letter serve as my resignation from the Lakewood Board of Education effective immediately. It has been a pleasure working with you and all the other board members, but over the last couple of weeks I have found it difficult to support and then accept the decision of accepting the $28,000,000 loan from the state. We all …

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 …