Just How Deeply is Murphy’s Agenda Influenced by NJEA? Here’s a Clue.

I’ve often wondered to what degree Gov. Phil Murphy’s agenda is driven by the wonts of NJEA, New Jersey’s primary teacher union. After all, his election platform practically replicates NJEA’s wish list: fully fund pensions, fully fund the state school funding formula, stop charter school expansion, eliminate the link between teacher evaluations and student outcomes, eliminate PARCC tests. And so it should come as little surprise that his deputy Chief of Staff is actually a …

The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves; Or, Is Kowtowing to Union Leaders Good for State Leadership?

Let’s be clear: the vast majority of staff members at the New Jersey Department of Education are caring, competent people, focused on the best policies for this state’s 1.4 million public school children. I’ve been covering NJ education for a decade and I can’t think of a time when this wasn’t true. The difference right now is that there appears to be is an undue emphasis on politics instead of policy, as well as a …

Legislative Superheroes Come Up With A PARCC Fix!

Throughout Phil Murphy’s slipshod attempts to eliminate PARCC assessments I’ve always wondered whether the State Legislature would take some sort of action to maintain this state’s quest for higher standards.  After all, we’re lucky to have some educationally-literate members in both the Assembly and Senate who understand the importance to families for regularly measuring student proficiency, and not just because federal law requires annual assessments in math and reading in grades 3-8, once in grades …

Via “We Raise New Jersey,” Some Context As The State Debates High School Graduation Requirements

We Raise New Jersey,  a coalition committed to advancing college and career readiness, has just issued a comparative analysis of high school graduation requirements throughout the country. As the State Legislature ponders a bill that would allow diploma-qualifying exams in grades other than 11th, it’s important to have national context. See here for more on the educational and political implications of the legislative proposal. Here’s the analysis: All states have specific high school (HS) graduation …

How My Husband and I Were Privileged Over Other Parents Who Seek Public School Choice

I am a mom of a son with multiple disabilities. This means that, by definition, I am a school choice supporter. Nobody bothered me and my husband when we pursued school choice. Nobody tried to disparage our reputations or vilify us. Nobody tried to stop us from making choices; in fact, they supported us. Yet groups like NJEA, Education Law Center, and Save our Schools-NJ disparage low-income families and racial minorities who want what we …

Citing Turnout, This Camden Parent Leader Salutes November School Board Elections

Bryan Morton is Executive Director of Parents for Great Camden Schools, which seeks to “empower, mobilize and strengthen the voice of every Camden parent to advocate for all children to receive a high quality education.”  It is a very exciting time to be a Camden parent! Our schools are making progress at a rate that was previously unheard of, quality options are available in almost every corner of the city, and most recently the community …

Who Needs Algebra II? A New Report Reveals Disconnect Between Test-Haters and What New Jersey Students Need To Live Here.

Less than two weeks ago a local paper reported that Trenton public schools students feel unsafe and uneducated.  At about the same time an appellate court ruled that the New Jersey Department of Education’s regulations governing PARCC assessments “are in violation of laws passed by the Legislature,” setting those Trenton students up for even lower standards for academic growth. (Here’s my post on that.) Now, in another flash of happenstance, Konrad Mugglestone and Michael Dannenberg have published …

NJ DOE Watch: Disruption and Damage Within the Division of Student Services (with One Bright Spot)

Newsflash: insiders tell me that there has been no improvement within New Jersey’s floundering Department of Education. In an accidental metaphor, the pages of the DOE website that are supposed to list of bios of executives and descriptions of DOE offices continue to say “Under Construction.” After listening to and reading reports from brave professionals distraught over deterioration, a more apt description would be “Under Decay.” And, from what I can tell, the problems are …

A New Parent Advocacy Group Called “Project Ready” Launches in Newark: “It’s Time To Raise Our Voices,” says Leader Shennell McCloud

I first met Shennell McCloud, a tireless activist for the children and families of Newark, when she worked for KIPP New Jersey serving as Director of Recruitment and then as Director of Advocacy. We bonded personally over shared stories of our experiences with big-city public education (she in Newark, me in New York City) and having two children very close together. We’ve worked together professionally through her annual NJ Parent Summit and other Newark-based education-informed …

Four Unforced Errors Committed by Gov. Murphy (All Hail NJEA!) and Some Remedial Suggestions

The New Jersey Globe recently published its annual “Year in Review,” a listing of Garden State political winners and losers, as well as a set of inside-baseball narratives that capture the gestalt within the Statehouse. What does the Globe highlight as the “political story of the year?” The “hostility” between “Gov. Phil Murphy and Senate President Steve Sweeney,” which is “unfathomable” because “they are both Democrats…The battle…has Democrats on the brink of a civil war.” …