Lakewood Lawyer: Four Cases of Covid But No Worries.

This is an (unedited) email from Lakewood school board attorney Michael Inzlebuch, who explains away four cases of coronavirus among students and staff in one of the few New Jersey districts where schools are open full-time. He also alleges that the Lakewood Education Association was planning to “endanger children’s safety” and was making “frivolous” complaints. TGIF. Update -September 18 , 2020 Last week , Friday, September 11th several members of the Lakewood school community attended the …

New Jersey Schools Failed the Remote Learning Test in March. Here Are 3 Ways to Get September Right.

For the last two years I’ve been reporting on the disarray at the New Jersey Department of Education. Suddenly I’m not the only one. In a series running this week at Advance Media, Adam Clark describes a “system-wide breakdown last spring that failed the state’s most vulnerable children” due to a “lack of decisive action or funding” as well as the “low bar” set by the DOE. Six months after the pandemic closed schools, Clark …

More Lakewood Internal Emails: Board Attorney Accuses Union President of “Hate and Personal Bias”

That’s Gustavo Martinez of the Asbury Park Press, who has been doing a stellar job covering the latest antics at Lakewood Public School District. Currently the district is one of 59 (out of 611) open for learning full-time five-days-a-week learning, despite teachers’ pleas to adopt a hybrid schedule because, the union alleges, the district is out of compliance with New Jersey’s social distancing and hygiene rules. Martinez’s reporting appears to verify that. Among the complaints …

I Nearly Broke My Back But My Kid’s In A Program

Dear readers, my writing is sparse this week and here’s why: On Tuesday morning, for the first time in six months since programs for adults with disabilities shut down due to Covid-19, our son Jonah had access to a structured activity run by a program in a different county: 90 minutes a day on Zoom. He was a nervous wreck on Monday but Tuesday he was thoroughly engaged (doesn’t hurt that his best friend is …

No Testing Means No Problems, Right? So Says Trump and Mark Weber

The first tweet on this page is from Mark Weber, acolyte of teacher union leaders and affiliated groups like Education Law Center, NJ Policy Perspective, and Diane Ravitchy-types. Weber and his crew are opposed to standardized testing because it makes schools look bad. (See here for my take.) Doesn’t matter the vendor — could be the “gold star” NAEP tests or the despised PARCC tests — because having accurate measurements of student proficiency is less …

The Road to Reopening Is Filled With Potholes, Says NJ School Boards Association

One week ago the New Jersey School Boards Association published a report called “Choosing The Best ‘Road Back’ for Our Children.” Here, NJSBA explains the need for “critical state and federal support for public education during the pandemic” and describes “the obstacles and challenges school districts have faced in developing reopening plans and many of the strategies they have implemented.” Question: Why would NJSBA publish this? Answer: While Interim Commissioner Kevin Dehmer says NJ is …

Why Hasn’t Murphy Replaced the DOE Commissioner?

I’m surely not the first to wonder why Governor Phil Murphy has yet to nominate a Commissioner for the Department of Education. Lamont Repollet left in mid-July — Murphy knew he was leaving in May — to take over the presidency at Kean University. Here we are, four months after Repollet gave notice, with an interim commissioner whose competency is in finance. What’s up with that, especially during this wildly atypical summer as schools scramble to …

Murphy’s Staunchest Allies Abandon Ship As School Reopening Plans Crater

It’s a failure at the state level. It is simply inadequate for the state to issue guidance and say, ‘You’re on your own to figure this out.’ That’s a quote from last week’s New York Times story on how New Jersey’s school reopening plans are “falling apart.” Sure, you read this on NJLB all the time (see here, here, here, here) but take note that the speaker quoted is David Sciarra, executive director of the …

Hand Me The Barf Bag: I Agree With Trump Jr. On School Choice.

It is unacceptable that too many African American and Hispanic American children are stuck in bad schools, just because of their ZIP code. Agree or disagree? Personally I find this sentiment in line with my own values about educational equity. Certainly my friends and colleagues at brightbeam would sign onto this statement in a jiffy and, most likely, many of you too. So hold onto your hats: The statement above was uttered by Donald Trump, …

“We Should Not Be Forced To Choose Between Our Job and Our Life”: Teacher Resignations Rise in New Jersey (New: Update on Lakewood)

Advance Media has an article today entitled “Surge in N.J. teacher leave requests is crushing school reopening plans.” The Asbury Park Press has an article today entitled “Ocean Twp. schools will start remotely after 37 staff members take leave of absence,” busting up the plan for a hybrid of remote and in-school instruction. At Governor Livingston High School in Berkeley Heights, 17 out of 90 teachers won’t show up so the school will go all-remote …