School Leaders Ignore Murphy and DOE Mandates. Here’s Why That’s a Problem.

“We literally have no news on education today,” Murphy said at his latest coronavirus press briefing in Trenton. Well, school leaders across New Jersey have some news for the Governor: They are ignoring the New Jersey Department of Education’s mandate –supported by Murphy–that all schools begin the 2020-2021 school year with some element of in-building learning. Why? Because a growing consensus says this mandate is an ill-considered, medically-ignorant decision that courts disaster. Earlier today I …

Lakewood Teachers Have 67 Questions For Lakewood Officials Determined to Reopen Schools Full-Time In-Person

The Lakewood Education Association, which represents all Lakewood teachers, paraprofessionals, and other staff, is hitting back against the district’s/attorney Michael Inzelbuch’s insistence on reopening schools full-time in-person. Last weekend Inzelbuch sent this letter to the union leaders. The union’s response? Sixty-seven questions, reproduced below. More generally, Dawn Hiltner, spokesperson for the Lakewood Education Association, told 101.5, Let’s say we get everybody back and then in three weeks we wind up having to shut everything down …

District and Charter Leaders Find Common Ground in Bucking DOE/Murphy Mandate For In-Person Instruction

It only took a pandemic for officers at the New Jersey Education Association to reach consensus with leaders of NJ’s charter school sector: Requiring some element of in-person learning starting on September 8th is unrealistic and dangerous for students and staff members. This common ground (also see here) is in direct opposition to the Department of Education guidance jointly issued by Governor Phil Murphy and then-Commissioner Lamont Repollet called “The Road Back: Restart and Recovery …

My Childhood Home Was Not Safe. Like Me, Some Children Need Brick-and-Mortar Schools Right Now.

Dirk Tillotson is the founder and executive director of the nonprofit Great Schools Choices, which supports community-based charter school development and increasing access for underserved families. He has worked for over 20 years supporting mostly charter community schools in Oakland, New Orleans and New York City, The most terrifying and dangerous experiences I had as a child were at home.  I am not alone.  My mother battled demons, and heard voices, including those telling her to …

Inzelbuch’s Letter to Union Leaders Says Lakewood Isn’t Risking Covid Contagion With Full-Time In-Person Schools

Below is a letter, dated yesterday, from Lakewood attorney Michael Inzelbuch to the leaders of the Lakewood Education Association, Kimberlee Shaw and Tracy Paolantonio. Lakewood Public Schools, Inzelbuch informs the union officers, “is committed to provide full-time in person education for the 2020-2021 school year” and asks for a meeting to discuss a mandatory COVID testing plan for staff members. For context, Lakewood, distinguishing itself from other New Jersey school districts, held in-person Extended School Year programs …

“A Legacy Shattered”: Parents of Jersey City Charter School Protest Board’s Removal of Principal

This is a press release written by parents from The Ethical Community Charter School (TECCS) after a virtual school board meeting where the 150 parents participating were told that Principal Marta Bergamini will not return. Jersey City, NJ – Last night parents and staff of The Ethical Community Charter School attended the monthly Board of Trustees meeting with hope of news on the return of Principal Marta Bergamaini. After waiting three weeks for an update, …

If the Marlins Can’t Control COVID, How Can Schools? Murphy’s “Clarification” Explained

My baseball-fanatic husband just told me that the Yankees-Phillies game tonight was cancelled because 14 members of the Miami Marlins tested positive for coronavirus right after playing the Phillies this past weekend.  I assume that Major League Baseball has endless funds at their disposal to keep players safe. Teams widened dugouts, practiced social distancing in locker rooms, tested players daily, and wore masks when they weren’t in the field.  Yet baseball season may be over. …

What Are the Risks of Catching the Coronavirus in Schools? Two Experts Weigh In.

Here are the risk-levels of contracting COVID-19 in schools, according to Gerba and Stephanie A. N. Silvera, epidemiologist and professor at Montclair State University. (This first appeared in Advance Media.) Walking in the hallway – Moderate to higher risk Hallways typically don’t have windows so ventilation is poor. Plus they tend to be densely packed with people, which increases risks. “Requiring face coverings to be worn while walking in the hallway would reduce the risk …

Breaking News: Six Rumors From NJ Education Department Include Extended School Closures, Lack of Guidance, and Mandatory Furloughs.

Jeez, you leave for one week and all hell breaks loose. Just kidding. Or not. Last night I came home from a week away with my husband and all our kids to a host of rumors from the New Jersey Department of Education and Governor Murphy’s Office. I am printing the ones that have been confirmed by two independent sources who will, of course, remain anonymous. As always, I can’t do this work without the …

Camden Public Schools Get a Reopening Lift from Camden Education Fund

As New Jersey schools make plans to reopen in September, Camden is getting some extra help from the Camden Education Fund through its Open Doors/Safe Classrooms grant program.  All Camden public school networks, including district, charter, and renaissance schools, will be eligible for up to $100,000 to support efforts to safely reopen.  CEF Executive Director Naeha Dean explains, “schools can use the funds to cover additional needs across a wide variety of areas, including operations, academic …