The Hidden Agenda Behind The Segregation Lawsuit (Plus a Personal Disclosure)

On Friday Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson made an important ruling in a lawsuit filed against the State of New Jersey by the New Jersey Coalition for Diverse & Inclusive Schools (NJCDIS), the Latino Action Network, and NAACP New Jersey State Conference. The lawsuit charges that New Jersey’s school districts are unacceptably segregated (they are) and proposes several remedies, including district consolidation, expansion of magnet schools, expansion of the state’s program that allows students to …

NJEA’s “Spider Web of Political Power”: A New Report Examines NJEA’s Ring Through Murphy’s Nose

Last Friday Mike Lilley of the Sunlight Policy Center of New Jersey published a lengthy report called “A Spider Web of Political Power and Influence: How A Vast Network of Allies Helps the NJEA Dominate New Jersey Politics.” Don’t be put off by the length: While 87 pages, the last 57 are indices and other documentary material and it’s worth reading in its entirety. For me, Lilley’s carefully sourced analysis validates a topic I’ve covered …

Here’s A (Hot Off The Press) Letter From 8 Charter Schools Correcting Education Law Center’s False Assertions.

Last week I wrote about Education Law Center’s attempt to close down preschool programs for low-income children run by charter schools in Abbott districts. Today the eight charter schools, as well as New Jersey Charter School Association and New Jersey Children’s Foundation, sent the following letter to Cary Booker, the Department of Education’s Assistant Commissioner for Early Childhood, correcting misinformation provided by ELC Executive Director David Sciarra. December 18, 2019  Cary Booker, Assistant Commissioner – …

Education Law Center’s New Lawsuit For Abbott District Construction Is Based On A Reality That Is 40 Years Old.

This is a guest post by Jeffrey Bennett, who blogs at New Jersey Education Aid. It originally appeared in ROI. Nearly 40 years ago, in February 1981, the Education Law Center launched on behalf of poor, urban districts statewide what would become the most educationally and budgetarily consequential lawsuits in New Jersey history: Abbott v. Burke. Although former Education Commissioner Fred G. Burke is long departed, and the close identification of “poor” with “urban” has ceased to …

Four Ways that Education Law Center Reveals Its Hypocrisy.

Education Law Center is having a temper tantrum. In a letter to the New Jersey Department of Education, the law group, which operates as an arm of NJEA, calls for “the NJ Department of Education (NJDOE) to immediately end the unauthorized practice of allowing charter schools in poor urban Abbott districts to operate separate preschool programs outside the districts’ universal ‘Abbott Preschool Program.’” Why? Because “only Abbott districts are allowed to operate high-quality preschools” and the …

Education Law Center’s Footprint Shrinks as It Ignores the Needs of Charter School Students.

Ah, Education Law Center. Some things never change. The organization, largely funded by NJEA, is back in court demanding money for construction for an obsolete list of 31 “Abbott” school districts that were once impoverished. Some of them still are, like Newark and Camden and Trenton. Some of them never were, like Burlington City and Pemberton. And some were once poor but now boast multi-million dollar luxury co-ops, like Hoboken and Jersey City.  But here’s …

If Murphy and Repollet Were Really “Progressive,” They’d Care About the Prospects of Students in Districts Like Newark.

Two weeks ago New Jersey’s NAEP scores came out and they weren’t pretty. These national tests, often referred to as the “gold standard” and “The Nation’s Report Card,” showed that our fourth-graders’ reading proficiency dropped more than any other state in the country, that eighth-graders saw significant declines as well, and that we’ve made no progress in closing achievement gaps. At about the same time as the NAEP score release, Chalkbeat reported that Education Law …

Five Facts About A Request to Intervene In a Lawsuit Seeking to Deny School Choice to Low-Income New Jersey Families.

Yesterday a group of New Jersey public charter school parents, a Jersey City charter school, and the NJ Charter School Association (NJCSA) filed a motion to intervene in a May 2018 lawsuit filed by the New Jersey Coalition for Diverse and Inclusive Schools and litigated by a law firm called Pashman Stein. The Pashman Stein lawsuit charges that former Education Commissioner David Hespe’s 2016 approval of expansions in seven (now six) Newark charter schools should …

Dear Dr. Repollet (and Gov. Murphy and NJEA): School Spending Is NOT a Proxy for Educational Equity.

Subject: A message from Dr. Repollet September 6, 2019 Dear Fellow NJDOE Employees, The start of a new school year is always a joyous occasion, but this year in particular we have a great reason to celebrate: New Jersey schools rank number one in the nation, thanks in part to our commitment to funding education and to our push for educational equity for all students. This is the first paragraph of an email Commissioner Lamont …

PARCC Part 2: Why, For the First Time in Five Years, Did Student Growth Stall?

Yesterday I reacted to the news, revealed during Wednesday’s State Board of Education meeting, that student achievement, as measured by standardized tests, flat-lined after four consecutive years of growth. I also discussed Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet’s proposal — already in progress despite Board members’ admonitions to Repollet last Spring to not lower standards — to, well, lower standards by creating easier tests in fewer grades. I noted that I didn’t have the data on achievement …