Donald Trump and Diane Ravitch Are Anti-Testing Soulmates

In these times of high anxiety it’s a boost to one’s spirits to discover a bit of serendipity. That moment came to me when, after reading about Trump’s Tulsa rally, I realized that he has a kindred spirit in none other than Diane Ravitch, foe of accountability, parent autonomy, and activists who are sick and tired of waiting for failed government institutions to equitably educate marginalized students.  Hold your fire! Let me explain. In Tulsa, …

Newark Students “Show The Rest of the State What is Possible”: A New Analysis Reveals Four Straight Years of Citywide Improvements for Children.

The bottom line is that a larger share of Newark kids are reading and doing math on grade level again this year, and in so doing, they show the rest of the state and the country what’s possible.  That’s Kyle Rosenkrans, Executive Director of the New Jersey Children’s Foundation (NJCF), responding to his non-profit’s citywide analysis of Newark students’ outcomes in math and reading. The analysis, based on student performance on state standardized tests, shows …

“It’s Good To Be The King!” A (Sort of Fake) Interview with Lamont Repollet Where I Get To Ask the Questions.

Last week NJ Spotlight’s John Mooney  interviewed Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet on NJTV. (Here’s his write-up, which includes a link to the full video.) I confess to a bit of jealousy: With all the turmoil roiling around the Commissioner and the Department of Education, I have a few questions myself.  And so, as a sort of wish-fulfillment exercise, I decided to ask my own questions here which include requests for elaboration on some of Repollet’s …

Dear Dr. Repollet (and Gov. Murphy and NJEA): School Spending Is NOT a Proxy for Educational Equity.

Subject: A message from Dr. Repollet September 6, 2019 Dear Fellow NJDOE Employees, The start of a new school year is always a joyous occasion, but this year in particular we have a great reason to celebrate: New Jersey schools rank number one in the nation, thanks in part to our commitment to funding education and to our push for educational equity for all students. This is the first paragraph of an email Commissioner Lamont …

PARCC Part 2: Why, For the First Time in Five Years, Did Student Growth Stall?

Yesterday I reacted to the news, revealed during Wednesday’s State Board of Education meeting, that student achievement, as measured by standardized tests, flat-lined after four consecutive years of growth. I also discussed Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet’s proposal — already in progress despite Board members’ admonitions to Repollet last Spring to not lower standards — to, well, lower standards by creating easier tests in fewer grades. I noted that I didn’t have the data on achievement …

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 …

What Does Your New VP of the New Jersey State Board of Education Think About Testing and Accountability? Let Him Tell You Himself.

Last week Andrew Mulvihill was elected Vice President of the New Jersey State Board of Education, with Kathy Goldenberg as President. He shared with me his remarks upon his election, prefacing them by noting that he is “looking forward to a fresh, new approach to how the board operates. With what limited power we do have I plan on pursuing an agenda that focuses on standards and accountability because that’s what’s best for New Jersey …

JerseyCAN Hits Back At Repollet and Murphy’s “64 Floor” Ideology. Why? Because New Jersey Should Trust Our Teachers and Students To Achieve Success.

Late last week JerseyCAN issued a report called “The Real Test: Are We Committed to Excellence and Equity in New Jersey?” I recommend you read the whole thing:  It’s not long yet manages to succinctly and directly answer the question roiling NJ’s Department of Education: “Will we maintain challenging standards and assessments that ensure a high school diploma means something for all students, and work together to provide additional support to those that need it …

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 …

Here’s A Leaked Memo From the NJ DOE’s Assistant Commissioner When She Directed Special Education in Asbury Park.

The memo below is from the New Jersey Department of Education’s Assistant Commissioner of Student Services, Carolyn Marano. It was written while she was Director of Special Education at Asbury Park Public Schools. In both positions she was hired by Lamont Repollet, first in his position as Superintendent of Asbury Park and then as NJ’s Education Commissioner. It all points to a disturbing pattern of leadership that undermines the academic trajectory of children with disabilities. This …