Is the Lakewood Board of Education Breaking State Law?

Today the Star-Ledger reports that Barry Iann, the President of the Lakewood Board of Education, quit on Monday night. He’s giving up, he says, because there’s too much bad press and there’s not enough funding. He’s right about the district’s fiscal mess; while Lakewood is indeed under-funded, much of the liability for the annual shortfall, about $15 million per year, falls squarely on the Board because it participates in the practice of paying tuition to …

Guest Post: “The Morality Problem Lurking Below the Surface in Lakewood”

This is a guest post from Thomas G. Gatti, a Lakewood resident and supporter of municipal and educational equity. Gatti is a media consultant and former Chief Operating Officer of the College Television Network. He was previously COO of  DIR Broadcasting and an executive at Eastman Radio. (For those of you new to Lakewood’s history of shortchanging non-ultra Orthodox schoolchildren and residents, see here, here, and here. For complete NJLB coverage, click here.) ******************************************************************  I …

Just How Irrelevant is the NEA?

This irrelevant: on Tuesday, July 4th, at its annual Delegate Assembly, the National Education Association passed a resolution that would suck the heart out of the healthy charter school sector that currently serves 5% of American schoolchildren. Specifically, NEA leaders resolved that charters must be approved by local traditional school districts (ensuring that no charter ever be approved); that all charters adopt local districts’ pay scales and, presumably, tenure laws; that no charters be expanded, …

Surprised By the Lakewood FBI Arrests on Welfare Fraud? Don’t Be: Just Look at the Schools

Lakewood was the subject of much media attention last week, from USA Today to the Wall Street Journal to the Associated Press. Why the sudden interest? Because FBI agents and county police began arresting local Haredim (ultra-Orthodox Jews) on charges of defrauding state and federal programs by claiming poverty and wrongfully collecting Medicaid, food stamps, SNAP, and SSI benefits, as well as evading property taxes that fund schools and municipal activities. If you’re a regular …

“I Love Newark And Am Proud To Say I Live Here,” Says NPS Grad

It’s easy to be skeptical about improvements to Newark Public Schools,given its sordid history of corruption, desultory oversight, and — most critically — poor student outcomes. But it just may be time to lighten up: after the incorporation of higher academic and operational standards, greater accountability and transparency, and Superintendent Chris Cerf’s leadership, New Jersey’s largest school district is finally able to point to meaningful measures of progress. To wit: a substantial increase in high …

What Does the New Camden Teacher Union President Think About Superintendent Rouhanifard? Hold Onto Your Hat!

Keith Benson, newly-elected President of the Camden Education Association, must be terrified. Over the last five years Camden public schoolchildren increased their graduation rate by 21 percent, up from 49 percent to 70 percent, and their academic growth has outpaced their peers in the rest of the state. Schools are safer. Families are, at last, hopeful about the city school system. And, after a revolving door of superintendents — 13 in the last 20 years …

Two Other Lakewood-Related Items

Number one: the Star-Ledger reports that Tobree Mostel, the supervisor of the district’s office of Chapter 192 and 193 funding  (the line items for tax dollars that contribute to tuition for special education students to attend ultra-Orthodox yeshivas) was fired for confronting the Lakewood School Board about improprieties. From the Ledger: Mostel claims in the notice that she was targeted after she objected to “certain questionable and unethical practices” by a third-party vendor handling the evaluations …