Latest News on New Jersey’s (Rapidly Changing) School Reopening Plans.

It’s not a secret how all this should work. When anticipating prolonged school closures, states need to set clear expectations for the quality of learning models and ensure that all students are equipped with the technology necessary to access online instruction. New Jersey, particularly at the level of the State Department of Education, has failed in every way. And now, a month before school reopenings, a soon-to-be-proposed Assembly bill —that may best protect students and …

As September Approaches, “Do We Have Any Business Returning Anyone To School?”

NJLB has been hearing much from parents, teachers, and administrators regarding the risk/benefit ratio of opening schools for in-person instruction in spite of coronavirus; the potential loss of learning and widening of achievement gaps if schools stay closed, particularly for low-income students; the challenges of navigating this stricken landscape with only the most cursory guidance from the New Jersey Department of Education. (Also see here and here.) Here are the thoughts of Laura Beverage of …

Surely We Can Do Better Than DeVos When It Comes to Opening Schools

Sunday morning Education Secretary Betsy DeVos went on CNN and Fox to tout her belief that all American schools must open for full-time in-person learning in September. Afterwards she was excoriated for both her ignorance and her cavalier attitude towards potential outbreaks among students, teachers, and staff.   It’s so easy to beat up on DeVos. (Heck, I do it all the time.)  But right now I’m thinking that DeVos and her boss’s idiocy are a …

Why Are Medically-Compromised Students Going Back to School in a Week? They’re Following State Guidelines.

We are not a hospital. We are not a summer camp. We are not a test for the thousands of students hoping to return to public school in September. I am extremely concerned that our governor does not seem to understand that ESY programs cannot be viewed as day camps and that they are a continuation of the school year for our students with special needs. If I accidentally infected a student and something were …

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, …

Op-Ed: New Jersey Schools Must Fully Open in September

This is a guest post by Sam Cole,a life-long resident of New Jersey.  He is the Co-Founder and a Managing Principal of Stonecutter Ventures LLC.  He is also the Chairman of the NYC Governing Board of Trustees of Success Academy Charter Schools.  The views expressed above are entirely his own and do not reflect those of NJLB. In less than two months, schools across New Jersey should be opening, but you’d never know it given the silence from …

Murphy’s School Reopening Plan Will Open Pandora’s Box, Say New Jersey Superintendents

Last week Governor Murphy and Education Commissioner Repollet gave New Jersey school districts permission to open schools on July 6th for summer programming for students with disabilities as long as they follow the guidance given for opening summer day camps. (See here for detail.) Most NJ superintendents rejected the state guidance and will keep schools closed, relying on remote instruction for Extended School Year (ESY). After all, these school leaders said, traditional school — indoors …

7 Ways Teachers Can Use Zoom to Connect with Students Right Now

This is a guest post by Mark Joseph, a sixth-grade math teacher at KIPP Rise Academy in Newark, where he has taught for eleven years. For Mark’s other posts, see here, here, here, and here. No one knows for sure whether this fall we will resume regular school, remote learning, or some mix of the two. While this piece began as seven ways teachers could use Zoom to connect with their students in September, the more I thought about …

New Jersey Superintendents Decry the State’s “Lazy,” “Incomplete,” and “Contradictory” Guidance To Reopening Schools

The pattern was already there: New Jersey’s Department of Education, when faced complex issues, punts instead. We’ve seen this with the moribund “Charter School Act Review,” which promised clear guidance on charter school expansions and approvals; the report was never released. We’ve seen this in the DOE’s desultory attitude towards the digital divide that, three months into school closures, continues to exclude 100,000 students from accessing home instruction; Commissioner Repollet says, “we have been putting …

Leaked Email from Lakewood: School’s Open!

Governor Phil Murphy has yet to announce plans for school reopenings. Regarding summer services for students with disabilities, known as “Extended School Year” or ESY, Murphy’s Office said on May 4th, “[t]he Administration will create a steering committee consisting of a diverse group of stakeholders in the education community to explore summer learning opportunities for all students, including school-sponsored summer programming and Extended School Year for students with disabilities.” This steering committee has yet to …