Education Law Center Nails Problems with the DOE’s Emergency Changes For Special Education Students.

Tomorrow morning the New Jersey State Board of Education will hold its first-ever Skype public meeting due to COVID-19. The first item on the Board’s agenda will be a proposal by Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet that allows schools, during this State of Emergency, to provide services to students with disabilities on virtual platforms. Education Law Center will be there to quibble. And everyone’s right. Quick backstory: When districts abruptly closed, some shut down all remote …

Some Schools Are Rising to the Challenge. Guess Which Ones Aren’t?

I wrote last week about Princeton Regional Public Schools’ high expectations for students during this pandemic in comparison to the low expectations for students who attend nearby Trenton Public Schools. If these school closures were (as originally predicted by our commander-in-chief) a short hiatus from traditional brick-and-mortar classroom instruction, we’d call it an inconvenience. But for students who attend districts like Trenton, both within and without New Jersey, lengthy school closures due to COVID-19 are …

As New Jersey Schools Struggle to Go Virtual, Here’s What We Can Learn From New Egypt High School.

As COVID-19 continues to spread across New Jersey, “long term school closures are inevitable,” said Governor Phil Murphy on Friday. All across the country school districts are scrambling to replace traditional educational models of education—the teacher standing before students imparting knowledge—with, well, something else. New Jersey Commissioner of Education Lamont Repollet said, in reference to this transition, “We are pretty much creating a new educational system.” But at New Egypt High School, which I visited before the …

Who Keeps Students and Staff Safe at Asbury Park? A Behind-the-Scenes Look at What Parents Don’t Know.

Thursday’s post described an incident where a student brought a loaded gun into school, despite the presence of metal detectors. In the aftermath, Principal Kathy Baumgartner was suspended with pay, pending an investigation (more information on this tomorrow) and the student was charged by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office for “unlawful possession of a weapon and weapon possession at education institutions.” In that post I said, based on the information available at the time, that …

Repollet Welcomes His Fraternity Bros to Their New Place of Employment!

On Friday, reporting on Asbury Public School District’s recent State Audit, I noted, “Word on the ground is that friends of the superintendent are quickly promoted to administrative levels, a trend that began with [current Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet, former Asbury Park superintendent] and continues under [current Asbury Park superintendent Sasha] Gray.” Some habits die hard. Sources report that many new hires at the Department of Education are Repollet’s fraternity brothers from the Phi Beta …

Leaked Memo From NJ Department of Education Offends Staff Members

A MESSAGE ON BEHALF OF CHIEF OF STAFF KELLIE LEDET Dear NJDOE Employees: This Sunday, February 23rd at 11:00 a.m. Commissioner Repollet will be speaking at Saint James AME Church in Newark as part of a special Greek/Pan-Hellenic Sunday program. Congregation members who are also members of the “Divine 9” have been invited to attend the service wearing their Greek paraphernalia, and they have encouraged us to extend this invitation to members of the NJDOE …

Four Corrections to an Anti-Choice Op-Ed By the Head of the Newark NAACP.

Yesterday the Star-Ledger ran an op-ed by Deborah Smith Gregory, the president of Newark NAACP and chairperson of Alliance for Newark Public Schools, entitled, “Let’s pause the charter school experiment in Newark.”  As a public service, here are four corrections to this error-ridden attack on the public schools most popular with Black parents in Newark and across the country. Does it seem strange that the venerable and virtuous NAACP would fight against the interests of …

Repollet Is On The Short List For President of Kean University.

Last June I reported, ” I have heard now from four sources that Repollet has a specific reason for leaving. He will take over the presidency at Kean College at a salary northward of $300,000 plus an array of benefits.” Nothing came of it. Last September I speculated that New Jersey Commissioner Lamont Repollet was biding his time until the deal came through. Here’s part of my mock interview: Laura: Yes, we were ranked number #1 …

Is Phil Murphy Spending Too Much Time in the Italian Sun? How Else To Explain His Veto?

Maybe Phil Murphy needs to vacation in cooler climes in order to make fair decisions on school funding for New Jersey residents, already taxed to the teeth. Yet he deserves a degree of sympathy: Just how much cognitive dissonance is generated by positioning oneself as a man of the common people while sending your kids to elite boarding schools and vacationing at your 23-room mansion in Italy? Because I don’t know how else to explain …

Three Cheers for NJ DOE Commissioner Lamont Repollet!

Boy, I bet you didn’t expect to see that headline from me. I just can’t help myself: After Newark Superintendent Roger Leon —with no guidance from his School Board–demanded that Comm. Repollet close down four charter schools and “deny any and all requests for new charter schools and charter renewals unless the applicant shows that it would serve a specific educational need,” the answer appears to be “no.” Or close to that: Of the three …