“It’s Embarrassing to Work For the NJ DOE These Days and Pretend That the Emperor Has Brains and Clothes!”: Staff Take Umbrage at “Employee Appreciation Week”

Last week, New Jersey Department of Education’s staff members’ inboxes filled up with cheery reminders from their supervisors regarding “NJ DOE Employee Appreciation Week.” An outsider would assume that these missives would be welcome. They weren’t. Instead, I heard from a number of demoralized staff members who regarded the many activities planned — golfing, picnics, biking, racing, food trucks, contests, entertainment — as just so much bluster from an Administration focused not on education but …

Murphy’s Track Record of Appointments Is Lousy, Especially in Education. What’s Up With That?

“I don’t talk to fucking Jews,” Dye told the New Jersey Globe during a very brief telephone interview.  “Get the fuck out of here.” That’s Jeffrey Dye, the latest hiring  embarrassment for the Murphy Administration. Dye was  gifted a job in the state Department of Labor & Workforce Development even though, according to Politico, he “made numerous anti-Semitic posts on Facebook.”   Oh, by the way, Dye is also President of the Passaic branch of …

Newark Teacher Union Prez Takes Money From the Pockets of His Members: Notes on the New NTU Contract.

In October of 2012, the Newark Teachers Union signed a contract with then-Superintendent Cami Anderson that was celebrated as a win for teachers and students.  AFT President Randi Weingarten (NTU is an AFT affiliate) praised the new agreement as “a system of the future,” one that “values both experience as well as the work that a person does during the year.” “Newark teachers,” she said,  “actually have more voice than they ever did before.” Then-NTU …

Voices From the NJ Parent Summit: Nicole Harris Says Parents Have The Right To Choose the Best Schools in Their Community — and That Choice May Be Different for Each Child.

During the first weekend in August, Project Ready hosted the New Jersey Parent Summit (see here for an overview). I chatted with many parents and this is the last of the posted interviews: See earlier ones here, here, here, here, and here.  In some cases I’ve added links and editorial comments to add context. This interview is with Nicole Harris, a mother of three who runs an afterschool program for 1,000 New Jersey students. Laura: Can you tell me a bit about …

Why, Asked a Tweeter, Is Asbury Park Public Schools’ Cost Per Pupil Over $40K? Here’s My Answer.

Such a good question, Madeline! What does Asbury Park Public Schools do with all that money, even as enrollment declines? With schools all over the state cutting costs, why is this happening? I mean, $42K a kid? Those students must be academic superstars! After all, that’s the basis for New Jersey’s Abbott decisions: As Education Law Center explains, ELC’s legal and policy advocacy, which includes such landmark rulings as Abbott v. Burke, has significantly advanced the …

Voices from the Parent Summit: Troy Still’s Mom Fought For His Education; Now He Fights For Camden Students.

During the first weekend in August, Project Ready hosted the New Jersey Parent Summit (see here for an overview) I chatted with many parents and I’m posting some of the interviews: See earlier ones here, here, here, and here.  In some cases I’ve added links and editorial comments to add context. This interview is with Troy Still, a member of the Camden City School Board. Laura: Troy, where did you attend school in Camden? Troy: …

Voices from the Parent Summit: Tafshier Cosby-Thomas on Charter School Wars, a Pact With Her Sisters, and Helping Parents Become Education Advocates.

Last year I interviewed Tafshier Cosby-Thomas about her educational experiences in Newark, both as a student and a parent. At the time of that interview, the New Jersey Department of Education was in the midst of its Charter School Act Review and soliciting input from lobbyists and, more importantly, parents. Tafshier was one of those parents. (Scroll to the bottom of this post for a video of her addressing  the DOE and Commissioner Repollet).When I …

Voices From the Parent Summit: Shayvonne Anderson Overcomes Personal Tragedy and Explains How Newark Got Beyond The “Charter vs. Traditional” School Mindset.

Shayvonne Anderson,  a lifelong Newark resident and mother of ten children, was elected this year to the Newark School Board as part of the Unity Slate. I interviewed her during the New Jersey Parent Summit (see here for an overview).  For other interviews with attendees, here are Ruthven Haneef Auguste and Jabbar Wilkins. In some cases I’ve added links and editorial comments to add context. Laura: Shayvonne, will you tell me a little about yourself …

Voices From the Parent Summit: An Interview with Jabbar Wilkins.

During this past weekend at the New Jersey Parent Summit (see here for an overview) I chatted with many parents. During the next two weeks I’m posting some of the interviews: See the first one here. In some cases I’ve added links and editorial comments to add context. Here’s Jabbar Wilkins, father of seven (three biological children and four step-children) who grew up and still lives in Camden. Laura: Jabbar, would you tell me about …

Is Restorative Justice Working? According to Teachers, Not So Much. Focus on Asbury Park.

I was chatting with a teacher from Asbury Park High School, who wishes to remain anonymous. We were talking about the impact of the then-Asbury Park Superintendent, now-Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet’s decision to create a system, “The 64 Floor,” that makes it impossible for students to fail a course. (Repollet owned up to this practice during a New Jersey Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee hearing and justified it by claiming that “teachers weaponize grades.”) Now …