Is NJEA the Ventriloquist and Governor Murphy the Dummy?

Once upon a time the New Jersey Education Association was about education and professional development for teachers. But NJ’s primary teachers’ union has undergone a shift and, according to a new report out by Michael Lilley, “today’s NJEA is all politics.” This shift ties directly to the current shenanigans at the NJ Department of Education, which I’ve been covering for about nine months (complete NJ DOE Watch series here) and recent confirmation that  NJEA “contributed …

The NJ DOE Blocked My Blog on Its Web Server So I Filed an Open Public Records Request.

About two weeks ago I was informed by some of my sources at the New Jersey Department of Education that this blog had been blocked on the DOE server and that staff members could no longer reach my site. Of course that doesn’t stop anyone from reading my posts during work hours: The DOE can’t block their personal mobile phones. And of course the DOE has the right to block sites. Yet I can’t help …

An Open Letter to Gov. Phil Murphy: Which Side Are You On?

Dear Governor Murphy, I heard you just demanded that State Board of Education member Jack Fornaro resign after he inquired whether Hispanic students in Paterson were capable of passing courses in American history. I share your concerns about Fornaro’s low expectations for students of color and applaud your quick response. That’s true progressivism in action within the realm of public education. Bully for you! But I’m confused. While you proudly identify as a progressive — …

Meet Jamir, A Seven-Year-Old Asbury Park District Student Who’s Been Home for Six Months.

Jamir is seven years old, bright and smart and handsome.  He is enrolled in the Asbury Park District and is classified as eligible for special education services because of a diagnosis of ADHD but hasn’t attended school for six months. That’s because the district, according to Jamir’s grandmother, has “kicked him out” and failed to provide an appropriate alternative program for him. This is wrong in so many ways yet sadly unsurprising for a district …

Education Law Center and NJEA Are Not Celebrating National Charter Schools Week. Here’s Why.

School choice and equity supporters are celebrating National Charter Schools Week and in New Jersey we have an extra reason to celebrate. Last week a NJ Appellate Court upheld a 2016 decision by then-Education Commissioner David Hespe to allow seven Newark charter schools to expand. Who’s not celebrating? Education Law Center, which challenged the decision, as well as NJ’s primary union NJEA, which largely funds ELC and whose former and current Executive Directors sit on …

The Echo Effect in the NJ DOE: Meet King Repollet and Queen Marano.

I typically don’t respond to articles and keep to myself, but unfortunately as someone who has witnessed first hand her berating, I felt compelled to respond. This article very accurately describes this individual. When in a professional setting someone says “you’re dismissed” and a co-worker is left speechless and embarrassed, I find it very difficult to show this individual the respect her position deserves. I feel sorry for any of her direct reports and encourage …

What Happens When Traditional Schools and Charter Schools Are Located in the Same Building? Answers from a Newark Mom.

April Peele is a Newark mother of a daughter who attends KIPP Seek Academy. I want to be completely honest with you: I don’t understand parents who say they don’t care what school their child goes to or what type of experience they have while they’re there. What parent in their right mind would say that? Certainly not me! When choosing a school for my daughter, I did my research. When I found KIPP I …

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week. What Does New Jersey Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet Think of Teachers?

A week ago our Commissioner of Education Lamont Repollet testified before the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. I wrote about this last week, noting that in response to a question from Senator Declan J. O’Scanlon, Repollet conceded that he did indeed institute a “64 Floor” at Asbury Park High School when he was superintendent there. The “64 Floor,” which I heard about from multiple current and former staff members, ensures that no student can fail …

Jersey City Board Of Education, Owned and Operated by Teacher Union Leaders. A Board Member Speaks Out.

The Jersey City Board of Education can breathe a collective sigh of relief: Its moral compass is winging away to sunnier climes, leaving Jersey City families — and New Jersey taxpayers across the state — in a nasty spot. How nasty? The State Ethics Board has rendered judgement on two Board members. The new contract approved last Monday by the Board of Education is fiscally unviable. And the repercussions of that contract will hurt taxpayers …

“It’s Time To Step Away from the Zero-Sum Politics Around District and Charter Schools”: An Interview with Kyle Rosenkrans:

This week I interviewed Kyle Rosenkrans, the executive director of a newly-launched nonprofit called New Jersey Children’s Foundation (NJCF).   Rosenkrans, a Jersey native, plans to initiate a fact-based discussion about public education in Newark and, in doing so, encourage stakeholders to move away from the “zero-sum politics” that have characterized the growth of the public charter sector. Instead, he will urge all Newarkers towards a shared goal of doubling the number of students in …