Fishing for Integrity in Lakewood

Two weeks ago Jersey Matters interviewed State Senator Robert Singer about Lakewood Public Schools’ practice of placing ultra-Orthodox students with disabilities in expensive private placements like the School for Children with Hidden Intelligence (SCHI) while keeping Black and Brown students with disabilities in-district or sending them to other public placements. Here’s Singer’s answer: “They (the school) have tried and worked with the school district in trying to entice Hispanic and African-American children to come there,” …

Great News! Lakewood Board of Education and Michael Inzelbuch Threaten to Resign

“Tell the state we’re not to be messed with,” Board of Education lawyer Michael Inzelbuch boomed into a microphone inside the high school commons last week, prompting cheers from hundreds of athletes. That’s yesterday’s Asbury Park Press capturing the tone of a meeting masquerading as an athletic banquet that was really Lakewood Public Schools’ roll-out of the big artillery in its quest for more state cash. Why does Lakewood need more money than anyone else? …

Mark Weber, Bruce Baker, and Thomas Jefferson

Mark Weber, who blogs at Jersey Jazzman, has lately been focused on a study he wrote with his Rutgers professor Bruce Baker that tries to undermine a Harvard analysis of the impact of education reform in Newark. (Here are links to my views of the Harvard study and the Weber/Baker study.)  Quick recap: The Harvard professors show that, post-reforms,  Newark schools are providing better results for students, especially in English Language Arts (ELA); students’ year-to-year …

Lakewood Fiscal Monitor: “This Entire District, When it Comes to the Staff, I Would Say It’s a Culture of Fear.”

Once again Lakewood Public Schools has failed QSAC, formally known as the Quality Single Accountability Continuum. That’s a mouthful but it’s pretty simple: every three years districts are rated — both by themselves and the state — on five areas of competency: Instruction and Program; Fiscal Management; Governance; Operations; and Personnel. In order to pass, districts have to get an 80 percent on every section and if they meet that mark they are categorized as …

In Princeton, Says This Special Needs Mom, A Choice Between Schools is No Choice At All

(This is a guest post by Aggie Sung, a certified early education teacher whose passion is in children’s books that teach young learners to express themselves through art, words, and motion. Her books include “Mommy Duck.” She resides in Princeton, N.J.) I live in an illustrious town, Princeton, New Jersey. It is home to Gownies likes Joyce Carol Oates. It’s also home to regular Townies like me. But this highly educated, self-proclaimed democratic town with …

Here’s What Matt Barnum Gets Wrong About Education Reform in Newark

Maybe it’s because I’m at the New Jersey Charter School Association annual conference and last evening heard Norm Atkins, founder of Uncommon Schools, remark that during Newark’s most recent open enrollment cycle half of all Newark kindergarten parents ranked Uncommon as their first choice and listened to his partner Jamey Verrilli describe school choice as a quest for educational justice. Maybe because I just spent the lunch hour listening to charter school teachers eagerly compare notes on …

“You Have to Ask — What is Going on Here?’’ The Canary is Dead in Lakewood

I’ve written much about Lakewood’s practice of privileging ultra-Orthodox Jewish schoolchildren, particularly those with special needs, over the school district’s almost entirely Latino and Black enrollment. This culture of inequity extends beyond public education services.   The school district’s practice of devoting disproportional funds to non-public school students who attend the 130 or so Jewish day schools and special education private schools that accept only Jewish students is merely the canary in the coal mine, an …

“If You’re Not a White Boy, You’re Less Likely to Be Diagnosed with Autism”

The National Autism Coordinator of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently submitted  a report to Congress called  “Young Adults and Transitioning Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder.” You can wade through the whole thing here but the conclusions will come as no surprise to parents with children and young adults on the autism spectrum: our country’s system for providing support is inadequate, inequitable, fragmented, confusing, and in “acute need” of reform. Any parent …

Follow the Money All the Way to Lakewood; Or, Kneel to the Vaad

This just in from Matt Rooney of Save Jersey, who speculates how Governor-to-be Phil Murphy so easily secured the Democratic nomination. Says Rooney, “he bought it, Corzine-style,” but with one difference. [W]hereas Corzine did it the old fashioned way (donating HUGE sums of cash to Democrat county organizations who decide the nomination), Murphy spread the cash around through various front organizations over the course of years. Rooney is dinging Murphy here. I’m not; it’s de …

Is Our Education System Leaving Creative Children Behind?

(This is a guest post by Aggie Sung, a certified early education teacher whose passion is in children’s books that teach young learners to express themselves through art, words, and motion. Her books include “Mommy Duck.” She resides in Princeton, N.J.) When Ronald Reagan and George H. Bush were President and Vice President, I was a child who walked from my Catholic elementary school on Princeton’s Nassau Street to the public library on Witherspoon Street. …