Leaked Email from Lakewood: School’s Open!

Governor Phil Murphy has yet to announce plans for school reopenings. Regarding summer services for students with disabilities, known as “Extended School Year” or ESY, Murphy’s Office said on May 4th, “[t]he Administration will create a steering committee consisting of a diverse group of stakeholders in the education community to explore summer learning opportunities for all students, including school-sponsored summer programming and Extended School Year for students with disabilities.” This steering committee has yet to …

With Repetition and Consistency, This Special Education Teacher Is Keeping Her Students on Track

As New Jersey enters its fourth month of school closures due to COVID-19, students on the margins are predictably suffering the most, especially those with disabilities.  The learning loss is often exacerbated if a special needs student’s family is poor. “Special education looks so different for a privileged family than it does in other places,” said Jessica Bacon, a professor of teaching and learning at Montclair State University. “I think this is going to reveal …

NJ Senate Education Committee Rips DOE’s Digital Divide Failures

“I’m so angry right now that I’m trying to contain myself,” Ruiz, D-Essex, told state Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet during an Education Committee hearing. “If we don’t see 100% of families connected before September, I gotta tell you I don’t even know what is going to come out of my mouth.” This was the scene at yesterday’s Senate Education Committee hearing as Repollet informed members that the State Department of Education had made no progress …

New Jersey DOE Adds Anal Sex to Its Learning Standards for Eighth-Graders

Yesterday the New Jersey State Board of Education approved new Student Learning Standards, a practice that occurs every five years. Typically these exercises are pro forma: Standards, after all, align with what we used to call Common Core and votes are traditionally unanimous.. Not this time. Instead, Board members were split and the final vote was 8-4. Why? According to Vice President Andrew Mulvihill, there was some consternation about the 65-page section on Comprehensive Health …

Nothing Replaces the Teacher, But This Digital Platform Helps Ease the Burden

I do not like it. I find myself getting distracted much easier and find myself procrastinating more and more. A lot of the time, I get confused. I don’t have the luxury of being able to ask my teacher why I need to do different when I don’t understand something or don’t know what to do and a lot of the time, an email doesn’t get back to me in the time I am completing …

Newark’s Universal Enrollment Plan Put Parents In the Driver’s Seat But The Superintendent Just Bumped Them to the Back of the Bus

Five months ago when the Newark Board of Education voted to continue the universal enrollment plan that allows parents to prioritize where they want to send their children to school, Superintendent Roger León said, “I believe families make decisions where their child should go and I don’t think anyone should change that.” Or not. According to reports, Newark Public School District has independently decided to switch things up. Previously, parents who didn’t get their first …

NJ Education Committee Chairs Ruiz and Lampitt Say State DOE Needs to Step it Up Now

Wednesday I wrote about the webinar “Learning from NJ’s Public Charter Schools during COVID-19” but I left out the opening discussion with Senator Teresa Ruiz and Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt, Chairs of the Senate and Assembly Education Committees, who both provided thoughtful comments about New Jersey’s educational crisis. First let’s focus on Ruiz’s concerns about the role of the NJ Department of Education. After moderator Harry Lee, head of the NJ Public Charter School Association, asked …

“Simple, Equitable, Joyful, and Accessible:” Best Remote Instruction Practices From NJ Charter School Leaders

On May 19th the New Jersey Public Charter School Association held a webinar called “Learning from NJ’s Public Charter Schools during COVID-19.” Interest among the 360 attendees was intense as local leaders shared best academic practices as well as strategies for managing everything from meal distribution to digital access to family trauma. Given the uneven quality of home instruction offered by NJ’s 555 traditional districts — in general, wealthy districts’ programming is far superior to …

West Windsor-Plainsboro Parents Say Racist Videos Represent How Their Kids Are Treated Every Day

Five years ago the West Windsor-Plainsboro School District made the New York Times for a rift between white and Asian-American parents after Superintendent David Aderhold expressed concerns that “students were overburdened and stressed out, juggling too much work and too many demands.”  While the white parents largely agreed, the East Asian parents largely didn’t. One said, “what is happening here reflects a national anti-intellectual trend that will not prepare our children for the future.” Five …

Michael Inzelbuch Responds to NJEA’s Charges That Lakewood Is Violating Social-Distancing Orders.

Earlier this week I published a letter from a law firm representing NJEA, sent to Lakewood Public Schools Superintendent Laura Winters and cc’d to the president of the local union, the president of the Lakewood School Board (Moshe Bender), and Michael Inzelbuch, attorney for Lakewood Public Schools district. The letter demands, in reference to the one-on-one evaluations currently underway in the district for students with disabilities, that Lakewood “cease and desist its blatant violation of  …