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 …

It’s Big News That the Schools Development Authority Is at “The Precipice of Disembowelment.” When Will State Leaders Pay Attention to The DOE?

Everyone’s talking about the exodus of experienced and qualified staff members at the Schools Development Authority, a product of nepotism directed by Murphy appointee Lizette Delgado-Polanco, who yesterday was accused of making “false statements” about her “restructuring” of the SDA, which oversees facilities renovation and construction in Abbott districts. USAToday reports that, following outrage from legislators, Murphy has “ordered roughly 50 independent authorities to turn over names and payroll information of employees in an effort …

Governor, The Hiring Scandal at the School Development Authority Is A Feature, Not A Bug.

Various news outlets are reporting on a second scandal (the first was Al Alvarez) at the School Development Authority, the agency that manages about $11 billion for school construction, primarily in Abbott districts. A Murphy political ally, Lizette Delgado-Polanco, was hired to run the agency last August and immediately fired 26 staff members, many of whom had served for years under both Democratic and Republican Administrations. She then hired 33 new staffers, some at atypically …

Just How Good Is Your Local School District? You Won’t Find Out By Browsing Ratings Sites. Spotlight on Princeton, Montclair, and Newark.

Over the weekend the Star-Ledger published a list of high schools with “surprisingly low scores” on school quality. Unlike the algorithms used by sites like the U.S. News and World Report ratings, which are limited to overall averages on tests like the SAT, New Jersey, like many other states, evaluates schools in a more granular manner (per federal education law), using a combination of student growth on standardized tests, graduation rates, and chronic absenteeism, the latter an indication …

Why Should You Care That Murphy’s Department of Education Is In Shambles?

When my younger daughter was in eighth grade, she and her classmates had to give a short speech about themselves. The topic she chose was “Everyone In My Family Is a Nerd Except Me.” Dad was a “genome nerd,” her older brother a “history nerd,” her older sister an “environmental science nerd,” and I was a “piano nerd.” As my sweet girl, protestations aside, blossomed into her own nerdiness (bio-geo-chemistry, if you must know), I …

In Ninety Minutes a NJ Legislative Committee Will Vote On Whether It Values Educational Equity For Children

At 1:00 today, the the New Jersey Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee will consider Bill 3381, sponsored by Senator Teresa Ruiz, who is Chair of the Senate Education Committee. This bill “revises provisions of law concerning graduation proficiency test and eliminates requirement that graduation proficiency test be administered in eleventh grade.” The reason for the bill’s urgency — it’s a last-minute addition to today’s legislative schedule — is that yesterday the State Appellate Court, which …

NJ DOE Watch: DOE Commissioner Repollet Cancelled All School Audits and The Feds Don’t Like It. Will Gov. Murphy Take Action?

You have to give him this: Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet didn’t waste any time.  Governor Phil Murphy appointed him on January 29, 2018. Ten days Repollet had his assistant send an email to the Assistant Director of Student Services and the Director of the Office of Fiscal Accountability & Compliance, cc’d to two Assistant Commissioners and a secretary in the Fiscal Accountability office. Here’s the email with names redacted: Sent: Thursday, February 08, 2018 12:29 …

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 …