Why Should You Care That Murphy’s Department of Education Is In Shambles?

When my younger daughter was in eighth grade, she and her classmates had to give a short speech about themselves. The topic she chose was “Everyone In My Family Is a Nerd Except Me.” Dad was a “genome nerd,” her older brother a “history nerd,” her older sister an “environmental science nerd,” and I was a “piano nerd.” As my sweet girl, protestations aside, blossomed into her own nerdiness (bio-geo-chemistry, if you must know), I …

A Peek Into NJEA’s Finances: Teachers and School Staff May Not Like What They See.

I often insist on the distinction between those who work with children —  teachers, instructional aides, nurses, Child Study Team members, et. al.  — and  New Jersey Education Association staff members who lobby in Trenton.   In this era of Janus when public sector workers can choose to not join unions (a right excessively circumscribed in NJ), it’s worthwhile to check out the finances of those Trenton lobbyists. Information is power when teachers have a choice, right?  Anyone …

Update: Senate Committee Gives a Thumbs-Up to Equity!

Just out from Patricia Morgan, Executive Director of JerseyCAN, and Shelley Skinner, Executive Director of Better Education for Kids, regarding Senate Bill 3381, a legislative fix that preserves the integrity of NJ high school diplomas. (See here for background, reported earlier today) FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 7, 2019 Education Advocacy Groups Applaud Senate Advancement of Legislation Protecting New Jersey’s Graduation Requirement Trenton, NJ –Better Education for Kids (B4K) and JerseyCAN are pleased to see the advancement …

In Ninety Minutes a NJ Legislative Committee Will Vote On Whether It Values Educational Equity For Children

At 1:00 today, the the New Jersey Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee will consider Bill 3381, sponsored by Senator Teresa Ruiz, who is Chair of the Senate Education Committee. This bill “revises provisions of law concerning graduation proficiency test and eliminates requirement that graduation proficiency test be administered in eleventh grade.” The reason for the bill’s urgency — it’s a last-minute addition to today’s legislative schedule — is that yesterday the State Appellate Court, which …

As N.J. Governor, Legislature & Teachers Union Wrangle Over PARCC, the Fate of 170,000 High School Seniors Hangs in the Balance

Check out my new column in The 74. It starts here: Phil Murphy won his New Jersey governorship in 2017 by promising progressive action on items as varied as a $15 minimum wage, raising taxes on millionaires, increasing gun control, and fully funding schools and teacher pensions. Another of those promises, as he vowed during his keynote at the 2016 New Jersey Education Association convention, was to “scrap PARCC day one.” Now this anti-Chris Christie …

Stacey Abrams Will Give the Democratic Response to Trump’s SOTU. Here’s What She Should Know About What Parents Really Want.

This is a guest post from my friend and colleague Erika Sanzi, who blogs at Good School Hunting. She is a mother of three sons and taught in public schools in Massachusetts, California and Rhode Island. She is currently a Fordham senior visiting fellow. Stacey Abrams became something of a household name in the weeks leading up to the 2018 midterms and tonight she will give the Democrat response to the President’s State of the …

“Without Braven, I Wouldn’t Be Where I Am Now.” A Partnership with Rutgers Helps First-Gen College Students “Achieve the American Dream.”

Here’s some warm news after the cold smap: Braven, a non-profit founded in 2013 with a mission to empower first-generation college students, particularly those of low-income and color, just issued a press release regarding its Newark program, which started in 2015: Braven-Newark today announced that Fellows who graduate from their university-embedded program at Rutgers University-Newark (RU-N) are outpacing their peers by 30 percentage points in strong economic opportunity attainment: six months after college graduation, 76 …

NJ DOE Watch: DOE Commissioner Repollet Cancelled All School Audits and The Feds Don’t Like It. Will Gov. Murphy Take Action?

You have to give him this: Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet didn’t waste any time.  Governor Phil Murphy appointed him on January 29, 2018. Ten days Repollet had his assistant send an email to the Assistant Director of Student Services and the Director of the Office of Fiscal Accountability & Compliance, cc’d to two Assistant Commissioners and a secretary in the Fiscal Accountability office. Here’s the email with names redacted: Sent: Thursday, February 08, 2018 12:29 …

Just How Deeply is Murphy’s Agenda Influenced by NJEA? Here’s a Clue.

I’ve often wondered to what degree Gov. Phil Murphy’s agenda is driven by the wonts of NJEA, New Jersey’s primary teacher union. After all, his election platform practically replicates NJEA’s wish list: fully fund pensions, fully fund the state school funding formula, stop charter school expansion, eliminate the link between teacher evaluations and student outcomes, eliminate PARCC tests. And so it should come as little surprise that his deputy Chief of Staff is actually a …

The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves; Or, Is Kowtowing to Union Leaders Good for State Leadership?

Let’s be clear: the vast majority of staff members at the New Jersey Department of Education are caring, competent people, focused on the best policies for this state’s 1.4 million public school children. I’ve been covering NJ education for a decade and I can’t think of a time when this wasn’t true. The difference right now is that there appears to be is an undue emphasis on politics instead of policy, as well as a …