Who Needs Algebra II? A New Report Reveals Disconnect Between Test-Haters and What New Jersey Students Need To Live Here.

Less than two weeks ago a local paper reported that Trenton public schools students feel unsafe and uneducated.  At about the same time an appellate court ruled that the New Jersey Department of Education’s regulations governing PARCC assessments “are in violation of laws passed by the Legislature,” setting those Trenton students up for even lower standards for academic growth. (Here’s my post on that.) Now, in another flash of happenstance, Konrad Mugglestone and Michael Dannenberg have published …

NJ DOE Watch: Disruption and Damage Within the Division of Student Services (with One Bright Spot)

Newsflash: insiders tell me that there has been no improvement within New Jersey’s floundering Department of Education. In an accidental metaphor, the pages of the DOE website that are supposed to list of bios of executives and descriptions of DOE offices continue to say “Under Construction.” After listening to and reading reports from brave professionals distraught over deterioration, a more apt description would be “Under Decay.” And, from what I can tell, the problems are …

A New Parent Advocacy Group Called “Project Ready” Launches in Newark: “It’s Time To Raise Our Voices,” says Leader Shennell McCloud

I first met Shennell McCloud, a tireless activist for the children and families of Newark, when she worked for KIPP New Jersey serving as Director of Recruitment and then as Director of Advocacy. We bonded personally over shared stories of our experiences with big-city public education (she in Newark, me in New York City) and having two children very close together. We’ve worked together professionally through her annual NJ Parent Summit and other Newark-based education-informed …

Four Unforced Errors Committed by Gov. Murphy (All Hail NJEA!) and Some Remedial Suggestions

The New Jersey Globe recently published its annual “Year in Review,” a listing of Garden State political winners and losers, as well as a set of inside-baseball narratives that capture the gestalt within the Statehouse. What does the Globe highlight as the “political story of the year?” The “hostility” between “Gov. Phil Murphy and Senate President Steve Sweeney,” which is “unfathomable” because “they are both Democrats…The battle…has Democrats on the brink of a civil war.” …

NJ Court Rules PARCC Violates State Law So Now We Can Pretend Again That All Our Schools Are Great. Trenton Students Beg To Differ.

An article in Tuesday’s Trentonian recounts interviews with Trenton Central High School students, almost all Black,  Hispanic, and poor, who are stuck in a district where they feel unsafe and uneducated. Simultaneously, an appellate court ruled Monday that the New Jersey Department of Education’s regulations governing PARCC assessments “are in violation of laws passed by the Legislature.” Those particular laws say that high school diploma qualifying tests must be given in 11th grade but the …

NJ DOE Watch: Says One Staffer, “This is Like Trump’s White House.”

This is another in an ongoing series of blog posts about the alarming deterioration of leadership at the New Jersey Department of Education (DOE). The problems are so bad that each week I’m approached by insiders who provide startling evidence of the systemic degradation of hiring practices, oversight, standards, equity, and transparency. I’ll continue to confirm these reports to the best of my ability and keep readers in the loop. For the full series, click …

These Teachers Wanted to Resign from NJ’s Teacher Union But a New State Law Undermines Their Rights. So They’re Suing Gov. Murphy and NJEA.

I have the lead piece in The 74 today on how two veteran New Jersey teachers are trying to resign from the state’s teacher union, as permitted in the Supreme Court case Janus v. AFSCME but a preemptive law passed by the State Legislative interferes with that right. But that’s much of a muchness: NJEA regularly pushes the Legislature and Gov. Murphy in particularly child-unfriendly ways. The column starts here: Susan G. Fischer teaches Italian in …

Earlier this week The 74 published a column I wrote called “These 2 Teachers Wanted to Quit Their Union — but NJ Law Wouldn’t Let Them. Now, Following the Supreme Court’s Janus Verdict, They’ve Decided to Sue.” For that piece I interviewed Susan G. Fischer (Sue) who, with her colleague Jeanette Speck, has filed a class-action suit in federal court against Gov. Phil Murphy, NJEA, and the Township of Ocean Education Association. In that suit, they …

Lakewood Isn’t Just Cheating Its Public School Children; It’s Cheating Its Orthodox Jewish Children Too.

Lakewood Public Schools is regularly sued by current and former staff members. On Friday the Asbury Park Press published a partial list of the suits, including some settlements. There is a theme to this litigation: If a staff member is unwilling to disregard the law, is invested in educational equity, and has the guts to speak up, he or she gets the boot. The victims of this “culture of fear” are not only educators with …

Has the NJ Department of Education Misallocated Federal Funds Intended for Low-Income Students?

Earlier this week school districts in New Jersey received this email from the Department of Education: Dear Colleague: You are receiving this message because this email account was recently used to sign up for an upcoming Technical Assistance( TA) session regarding  discretionary grant opportunities using, Title 1 Part A Funds. This email is to inform you that the TA session has been cancelled. The New Jersey  Department of Education (NJDOE) under the direction and guidance …