Update on Firings at the NJ Department of Education: Staffers Respond

There’s been much interest in my post ten days ago about the firing of 40 staff members from the state Department of Education. Since the post went up I’ve received numerous emails from staff members, some who were fired and some still there. All  requested anonymity. Here’s a summary of what I’ve been told. In a sign of the personal and/or political nature of the firings, several days later the DOE put up postings to …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

This May Be The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship: A District Embraces a Charter School

Just one year ago the Hoboken Public Schools District (HPSD) was locked in a years-long battle with one of the state’s most successful charter schools, the Hoboken Dual Language Charter School, or HoLa. On Friday the superintendent of Hoboken Public Schools joined HoLa for a celebration of an honor awarded to only five public schools in the state. What a difference a year makes. Over the last two years the HPSD has spent hundreds of thousands …

How do PARCC Tests Match Up with “Gold Standard” Assessments?

New Jersey is celebrating its national dominance in academic achievement. The new National Assessment of Educational Progress scores (NAEP) just came out — these tests, given to a sampling of 4th and 8th grade students in reading and math every two years (as well as other subjects), are regarded as the “gold standard” for measuring student growth and proficiency — and N.J. students are at the head of the pack.  Acting State Education Commissioner Lamont …

Rouhanifard Resigns: What’s Next for Camden City Public Schools?

Today Camden Superintendent Paymon Rouhanifard announced his resignation. I’ve followed the trajectory of Camden Public Schools since I started this blog ten years ago and I’m sad about the loss of this gifted leader who relentlessly prioritizes the needs of schoolchildren above institutional stagnation. But I’m also confident that Camden’s rise in academic achievement will continue because Rouhanifard’s reforms are deeply entrenched throughout the city. For families who see the difference five years makes, there’s …

Dear Gov. Murphy and Comm. Repollet: NJ Voters Want You to Maintain State Standardized Tests

The public school advocacy group called We Raise NJ just released a the results of a recent poll exploring NJ residents’ views on  current course content standards, aligned tests, and school quality.  According to a press release, “the poll — conducted by Global Strategy Group — revealed that voters, especially those of color, believe strongly in high standards, aligned assessments, and importance of being prepared for college and career.” This is a hot topic in …