Letter From NJ Public Charter School Association Prez to NJ Dept. of Education re: School Reopenings.

This is a letter from Harry Lee, President of the New Jersey Charter School Association, dated today, to Kevin Dehmer, Interim Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Education, in reference to the DOE and Gov. Murphy’s mandate that all public schools open with some degree of in-building instruction. “We respectfully request immediate action,” Lee writes,”that would grant explicit permission for some charter schools to delay in-building instruction and to begin the 2020-2021 school year …

If NJ Teachers Take Early Retirement to Avoid Contracting COVID, What Will That Do To NJ’s Budget?

Here’s a scenario you might not have considered: If New Jersey schools do reopen for in-school instruction this year, some unknown number of traditional district staff members may choose to retire from fear of COVID-19 contagion. Those who have worked for ten years are “vested” in the Teachers Pension and Annuity Fund (TPAF), NJ’s teacher pensions system; they can take “early retirement” and get a small pension. Those who have worked for 30 years and turn …

Inzelbuch’s Letter to Union Leaders Says Lakewood Isn’t Risking Covid Contagion With Full-Time In-Person Schools

Below is a letter, dated yesterday, from Lakewood attorney Michael Inzelbuch to the leaders of the Lakewood Education Association, Kimberlee Shaw and Tracy Paolantonio. Lakewood Public Schools, Inzelbuch informs the union officers, “is committed to provide full-time in person education for the 2020-2021 school year” and asks for a meeting to discuss a mandatory COVID testing plan for staff members. For context, Lakewood, distinguishing itself from other New Jersey school districts, held in-person Extended School Year programs …

“A Legacy Shattered”: Parents of Jersey City Charter School Protest Board’s Removal of Principal

This is a press release written by parents from The Ethical Community Charter School (TECCS) after a virtual school board meeting where the 150 parents participating were told that Principal Marta Bergamini will not return. Jersey City, NJ – Last night parents and staff of The Ethical Community Charter School attended the monthly Board of Trustees meeting with hope of news on the return of Principal Marta Bergamaini. After waiting three weeks for an update, …

Murphy: Without Money From Washington We Cannot Support Our Schools.

Yesterday Governor Phil Murphy gave a coronavirus press conference and made several references to school openings. If you recall (if not, click here), on Monday Murphy announced that, contrary to the guidance issued by the state Department of Education, all New Jersey parents will have the option of keeping their children home for the entire 2020-2021 school year, with access to remote instruction from their district. Since then, the state education community has been waiting for …

As September Approaches, “Do We Have Any Business Returning Anyone To School?”

NJLB has been hearing much from parents, teachers, and administrators regarding the risk/benefit ratio of opening schools for in-person instruction in spite of coronavirus; the potential loss of learning and widening of achievement gaps if schools stay closed, particularly for low-income students; the challenges of navigating this stricken landscape with only the most cursory guidance from the New Jersey Department of Education. (Also see here and here.) Here are the thoughts of Laura Beverage of …

What Are the Risks of Catching the Coronavirus in Schools? Two Experts Weigh In.

Here are the risk-levels of contracting COVID-19 in schools, according to Gerba and Stephanie A. N. Silvera, epidemiologist and professor at Montclair State University. (This first appeared in Advance Media.) Walking in the hallway – Moderate to higher risk Hallways typically don’t have windows so ventilation is poor. Plus they tend to be densely packed with people, which increases risks. “Requiring face coverings to be worn while walking in the hallway would reduce the risk …

Murphy Reverses DOE School Reopening Guidance: Parents Can Choose All-Remote Instruction.

Developing Story: Governor Murphy just announced that all New Jersey parents will have the option of keeping their children home for the entire 2020-2021 school year, with access to remote instruction from their district. Twenty minutes ago he tweeted this: This is a change from the guidance issued by the New Jersey Department of Education earlier this month and approved by the State Board of Education. According to “The Road Back: Restart and Recovery,” “[d]istricts’ …

New Report: 75% of Newark’s Public Charter Schools Beat The Odds.

Earlier this month, Margrady Research released a study called “Resilience: Will Urban Schools that Beat the Odds Continue to Do So During the COVID-19 Pandemic?” Analysts Jesse Margolis and Eli Groves started the project before coronavirus hit and so the report is divided into two parts. The first part updates 2015 data from the Center For Reinventing Public Education (CRPE), which calculated the percentage of students in 50 large U.S. cities that attend “beat the …

Murphy Releases “Three -Pronged Plan” To Bridge Digital Divide During School Closures

This afternoon Gov. Phil Murphy held a press conference in Irvington to announce a plan to supply New Jersey K-12 students with access to one-on-one devices and broadband internet. This project comes after community and legislative outcries of unfairness because up to 240,000 students were affected by lack of access when schools closed in mid-March. According to the press release from the Governor’s Office (see below) the NJ Economic Authority will issue today “a Request …