During KIPP’s “Summer Jump,” Kids with Disabilities Learn With Typical Kids. How Does This Work?

Last week I had the pleasure of interviewing Nicolina Abruzzese, Assistant Principal of Special Education at KIPP Bold Academy, a charter middle school in Newark that is part of the KIPP New Jersey charter school network. This is Nicolina’s fourth year with KIPPNJ and tenth year in education. She has worked as a Special Education coordinator, department chair and coach of special education teachers and  paraprofessionals, co-chair of the Child Study Team, and as a special education teacher in her …

Cheers All Around for New Jersey’s State Board of Education!

Today the New Jersey Board of Education took a courageous step towards maintaining high-quality schools for students and families. Instead of rubber-stamping Commissioner Repollet (and NJEA’s) recommendations for watering down standards (ex.: a student would be deemed eligible for a high school diploma by scoring a 440 on the math SAT section, which the College Board considers in the 25th percentile of a nationally representative sample), the Board decided to not take action today. Members …

Here’s Some News You Missed: 40 Staff Members Fired from NJ Department of Education

News of major changes in New Jersey’s public education system typically blare on major (and minor) news sites. So here’s a scoop that I’d rather not have:  on July 20th, eleven days ago, approximately 40 people were unceremoniously fired from their posts at the Department of Education.  I spoke to one of them, a mid-level manager at the Office of Comprehensive Support, a division of the DOE that serves our lowest-performing districts and provides, according …

My Take on the Trump Administration’s Disregard for Students with Disabilities

My friends and colleagues at Education Post, Lane Wright and Ikhlas Saleem, asked me to join them on their Voices4ED podcast to talk about the Trump Administration’s stripping away of civil rights protections for students with special needs under the direction of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. To listen, click here. Episode Details: Why Laura’s recent article about Betsy DeVos resonated with so many people Why people were outraged with Betsy DeVos On the federal government’s role in regulating education The …

Guest Post: Lakewood Yeshivas are “Day Care Centers” Until Proven Otherwise

Michael Hoban was an educator for 48 years, teaching at the elementary, high school and university levels.  He was a university professor of mathematics for 35 years, is a Professor Emeritus at the City University of NY, and has lived in Lakewood for 14 years. Prof. Hoban is the senior educational consultant to Lakewood U.N.I.T.E., the group that advocates for minority families in Lakewood. This post originally appeared in the Asbury Park Press. In the 7/24/2018 edition of the …

Dear State Board of Ed: Hold Your Horses and Wait For Families!

This is a just-issued letter, sent to members of the State Board of Education, from New Jersey education leaders who value accurate assessments of student learning. July 27, 2018 New Jersey State Board of Education 100 River View Plaza PO Box 500 Trenton, NJ 08625-050 Dear State Board of Education Members: At the July 11, 2018 meeting of the State Board of Education, the Board announced that open public comment on N.J.A.C. 6A:8 Standards and …

Inzelbuch asks, Where Is the Oversight in Lakewood? He Needs To Widen His Lens.

Michael Inzelbuch, Lakewood Public Schools’ Board Attorney, is in a lather, according to the Asbury Park Press. “The process seems to have broken down,” he frothed at the most recent school board meeting. “There’s no uniformity here. It’s a free-for-all. Where is the oversight?” Is he talking the district’s practice of sending ultra-Orthodox children with disabilities to yeshivas that don’t meet the state’s definition of a “school”? Is he talking about the misuse of $22 …

Yes, Governor, Your Obsession with PARCC is Wasteful and Misguided.

“It isn’t today,” he said in an appearance at the Golden Nugget casino. “I still don’t like it. And I’m not gonna wake up someday and become a fan of PARCC. I’m not anti-assessment. … But I’m no fan of PARCC.” That’s Gov. Murphy commenting on yesterday’s news that New Jersey is shortening federally-required annual assessments aligned with state standards and eliminating four of the six assessments required for high school graduation. This, according to …

Correcting The Record on “Murphy Promise Tracker”: The Education Edition

This past weekend The Record published its latest edition of its“Murphy Promise Tracker,” which aims to hold Gov. Murphy “accountable” to “statements made during the campaign or posted on its website.” One problem: The Record is grading on a curve. In fact, every single promise made by Murphy receives a declaration of either “promise kept” or “promise launched.” And that’s simply not true.  Let’s preface this by acknowledging that Gov. Murphy has had a rough …

DeVos Is Stripping Away Civil Rights Protections for Students With Special Needs

I’m detecting a trend. Recently, The Atlantic ran a piece that catalogues the Trump administration’s disregard of civil rights protections for Americans (and aspiring Americans) during the tenure of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “Across every issue, from criminal-justice reform to voting rights to LGBTQ rights,” said Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, “the attorney general is advancing a vision of America that is narrow, and abdicating some of the Justice Department’s …