An Open Letter to Gov. Phil Murphy: Which Side Are You On?

Dear Governor Murphy, I heard you just demanded that State Board of Education member Jack Fornaro resign after he inquired whether Hispanic students in Paterson were capable of passing courses in American history. I share your concerns about Fornaro’s low expectations for students of color and applaud your quick response. That’s true progressivism in action within the realm of public education. Bully for you! But I’m confused. While you proudly identify as a progressive — …

Meet Jamir, A Seven-Year-Old Asbury Park District Student Who’s Been Home for Six Months.

Jamir is seven years old, bright and smart and handsome.  He is enrolled in the Asbury Park District and is classified as eligible for special education services because of a diagnosis of ADHD but hasn’t attended school for six months. That’s because the district, according to Jamir’s grandmother, has “kicked him out” and failed to provide an appropriate alternative program for him. This is wrong in so many ways yet sadly unsurprising for a district …

Education Law Center and NJEA Are Not Celebrating National Charter Schools Week. Here’s Why.

School choice and equity supporters are celebrating National Charter Schools Week and in New Jersey we have an extra reason to celebrate. Last week a NJ Appellate Court upheld a 2016 decision by then-Education Commissioner David Hespe to allow seven Newark charter schools to expand. Who’s not celebrating? Education Law Center, which challenged the decision, as well as NJ’s primary union NJEA, which largely funds ELC and whose former and current Executive Directors sit on …

The Echo Effect in the NJ DOE: Meet King Repollet and Queen Marano.

I typically don’t respond to articles and keep to myself, but unfortunately as someone who has witnessed first hand her berating, I felt compelled to respond. This article very accurately describes this individual. When in a professional setting someone says “you’re dismissed” and a co-worker is left speechless and embarrassed, I find it very difficult to show this individual the respect her position deserves. I feel sorry for any of her direct reports and encourage …

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week. What Does New Jersey Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet Think of Teachers?

A week ago our Commissioner of Education Lamont Repollet testified before the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. I wrote about this last week, noting that in response to a question from Senator Declan J. O’Scanlon, Repollet conceded that he did indeed institute a “64 Floor” at Asbury Park High School when he was superintendent there. The “64 Floor,” which I heard about from multiple current and former staff members, ensures that no student can fail …

Jersey City Board Of Education, Owned and Operated by Teacher Union Leaders. A Board Member Speaks Out.

The Jersey City Board of Education can breathe a collective sigh of relief: Its moral compass is winging away to sunnier climes, leaving Jersey City families — and New Jersey taxpayers across the state — in a nasty spot. How nasty? The State Ethics Board has rendered judgement on two Board members. The new contract approved last Monday by the Board of Education is fiscally unviable. And the repercussions of that contract will hurt taxpayers …

“It’s Time To Step Away from the Zero-Sum Politics Around District and Charter Schools”: An Interview with Kyle Rosenkrans:

This week I interviewed Kyle Rosenkrans, the executive director of a newly-launched nonprofit called New Jersey Children’s Foundation (NJCF).   Rosenkrans, a Jersey native, plans to initiate a fact-based discussion about public education in Newark and, in doing so, encourage stakeholders to move away from the “zero-sum politics” that have characterized the growth of the public charter sector. Instead, he will urge all Newarkers towards a shared goal of doubling the number of students in …

Breaking News: Repollet Confirms “The 64 Floor.”

Yesterday at the New Jersey Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee hearing, N.J. Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet responded to questions about Gov. Murphy’s school budget. But these weren’t the only queries he received. Senator Declan J. O’Scanlon asked Repollet directly why he instituted a questionable practice at Asbury Park School District which I revealed last month in this post, “Lamont Repollet and the 64 Floor: How Did He Raise Asbury Park’s Graduation Rate? Let’s Do the …

Yesterday SDA Chief Delgado-Polanco Resigned. Today Her Husband Disappears From the DOE.

Yesterday news came that Lizette Delgado-Polanco resigned from her government job. There’s news today too: So did her husband. Two sources told me that Enohel Polcanco-Gonzalez “magically disappeared” from his position at the state Department of Education. To back up, Delgado-Polanco was appointed by her close ally Governor Phil Murphy as head of the state Schools Development Authority, which is in charge of building school facilities in Abbott districts but is broke now after going …

Waiting for Equity: Two Adults with Disabilities (My Son and His Best Friend) Are Caught In New Jersey’s Dysfunctional System.

My dear friend Susan Cohen recently wrote an article for the National Fragile X Foundation on the friendship of our sons, Julian and Jonah. She describes how they met at a sleepaway camp, enjoyed each other’s company (a rarity for our socially-averse boys, particularly mine), and, after a prod from a counselor and sustained parental intervention, have become best friends. This is a happy story that we hope will have a happy ending. For Julian …