New Jersey Superintendents Decry the State’s “Lazy,” “Incomplete,” and “Contradictory” Guidance To Reopening Schools

The pattern was already there: New Jersey’s Department of Education, when faced complex issues, punts instead. We’ve seen this with the moribund “Charter School Act Review,” which promised clear guidance on charter school expansions and approvals; the report was never released. We’ve seen this in the DOE’s desultory attitude towards the digital divide that, three months into school closures, continues to exclude 100,000 students from accessing home instruction; Commissioner Repollet says, “we have been putting guidance out.”

And now we see it in Repollet and Gov. Murphy’s response to the clamor from school superintendents begging for concrete guidance for reopening schools in September and opening July 6th for students with disabilities: “We felt if we sit and wait a little bit, our plan will be more specific.”

Actually, there’s no time to “sit and wait a bit” or, as Repollet said blithely, “get creative.” New Jersey superintendents — as well as legislators and advocates —are desperate for guidance RIGHT NOW.

Freehold Regional Superintendent Charles Sampson:

Senate President Steve Sweeney:

Superintendent Dave Healy of Toms River:

“We’re talking about expenses that would double and triple just to be able to accommodate social distancing measures in the classroom, in buses. You’re talking contractual concerns with our bargaining units. Health concerns. Concerns that are legitimate.”

State Senator Kip Bateman:

West Windsor-Plainsboro Superintendent David Aderhold:

Freehold Township Superintendent Neal Dickstein:

“When are you going to collaborate with superintendents in the field? When are you going to have the professional courtesy to inform us in advance instead of us learning of the changes through Twitter? How do you think districts can prepare with this guidance coming so late?”

Millstone Township Superintendent Chris Huss:

Hunterdon Regional Superintendent Jeff Moore:

School Funding Advocate Chris Fay:

What do you think?

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