Is NJEA the Ventriloquist and Governor Murphy the Dummy?

Once upon a time the New Jersey Education Association was about education and professional development for teachers. But NJ’s primary teachers’ union has undergone a shift and, according to a new report out by Michael Lilley, “today’s NJEA is all politics.” This shift ties directly to the current shenanigans at the NJ Department of Education, which I’ve been covering for about nine months (complete NJ DOE Watch series here) and recent confirmation that  NJEA “contributed …

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 …

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 …

King Repollet Goes to Ghana (And Other Misadventures of the New Jersey Education Commissioner).

As we continue this ongoing series that deals, in part, with how Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet’s tenure at Asbury Park School District (APSD), as well as Assistant Deputy Carolyn Marano’s, was a harbinger of the current decline in standards and oversight at the State Department of Education, it’s worth looking at a peculiar event in April of 2017. During Spring Break two years ago, Asbury Park Superintendent Repollet, with a contingent of companions, travelled to …

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 …

Lamont Repollet and the 64 Floor: How Did He Raise Asbury Park’s Graduation Rate? Let’s Do the Math.

When Governor Phil Murphy appointed then-Asbury Park Superintendent Lamont Repollet as New Jersey Commissioner of Education in 2018, he cited the “dramatic” increase in the long-troubled district’s graduation rate as proof of Repollet’s ability to raise student achievement. Indeed, as media reported, under his tenure the Asbury Park High School graduation rate rose from 49 to 71 percent during Repollet’s four years there. Remarkable, right? Especially in a district where 15.1 percent of students met …

People Show You Who They Are, Including The Head of Student Services At The New Jersey Department of Education. New Info From Asbury Park.

“When someone shows you who they are,” said Maya Angelou, “believe them the first time.” This would have been good advice for  Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet before he hired Carolyn Marano as Assistant Commissioner of Student Services at the Department of Education. We can’t absolve him on the basis of ignorance; after all, she was his Supervisor of Special Services when he was Superintendent at Asbury Park Public Schools. But I guess he likes what …

There’s a New Report Out From NACSA on ‘Reinvigorating the Pipeline’ for Charter Schools. Too Bad Jersey Is Out of the Running.

I’ll bet you know that the pace of charter school growth has slowed throughout the country. But you may not know that while approvals of “no excuses” charter schools are way down, approvals of “diverse by design” schools are way up. That’s one of the conclusions of a new report just put out by the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (fondly known as NACSA) called “Reinvigorating the Pipeline: Insights into Proposed and Approved Charter …

If Your Kid Is a Ninth or Tenth Grader, He or She May Have to Take a Test on a Course Taken Three Years Ago. Unless This Happens.

Let’s say you’re a New Jersey parent of a current 10th grader. Your child, like one-third of New Jersey students, took Algebra 1 in 8th grade and, of course, is taking 10th grade English Language Arts right now. Guess what? Next year there is a very strong likelihood that your kid is going to have to take a standardized test in Algebra 1, a course he took three years previously, as well as repeat the …