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 …

“It’s Good To Be The King!” A (Sort of Fake) Interview with Lamont Repollet Where I Get To Ask the Questions.

Last week NJ Spotlight’s John Mooney  interviewed Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet on NJTV. (Here’s his write-up, which includes a link to the full video.) I confess to a bit of jealousy: With all the turmoil roiling around the Commissioner and the Department of Education, I have a few questions myself.  And so, as a sort of wish-fulfillment exercise, I decided to ask my own questions here which include requests for elaboration on some of Repollet’s …

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 …

New Jersey Students Are #1! Too Bad Murphy/NJEA/Repollet Are Working On a Regression Plan. Bonus: Internal DOE Email.

Education Week’s Research Center  just issued the final portion of its 2019 Quality Counts annual report, which rates each state’s education system. Guess what? New Jersey rocked it, for the first time beating Massachusetts, long-heralded for its high-achieving schools, and achieving #1 status as the top-performing school system in the nation. Two points jump out at me, one on our upswing in student proficiency in math and reading and the other on school spending and …

NJEA and Education Law Center, Listen Up: New Jersey Charter Schools Have No Impact on Segregation.

[T]here are several states where charters appear to have little or no effect on segregation, such as Arizona, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, and Oregon. That’s one of the results of a new national study called “Charter School Effects on School Integration” (for a short version, see here) about the impact of charter schools on racial segregation across the country. This data-based analysis, say researchers Tomas Monarrez, Brian Kisida and Matthew M. Chingos, “shows that critics …

Breaking News: Repollet Confirms “The 64 Floor.”

Yesterday at the New Jersey Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee hearing, N.J. Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet responded to questions about Gov. Murphy’s school budget. But these weren’t the only queries he received. Senator Declan J. O’Scanlon asked Repollet directly why he instituted a questionable practice at Asbury Park School District which I revealed last month in this post, “Lamont Repollet and the 64 Floor: How Did He Raise Asbury Park’s Graduation Rate? Let’s Do the …

Waiting for Equity: Two Adults with Disabilities (My Son and His Best Friend) Are Caught In New Jersey’s Dysfunctional System.

My dear friend Susan Cohen recently wrote an article for the National Fragile X Foundation on the friendship of our sons, Julian and Jonah. She describes how they met at a sleepaway camp, enjoyed each other’s company (a rarity for our socially-averse boys, particularly mine), and, after a prod from a counselor and sustained parental intervention, have become best friends. This is a happy story that we hope will have a happy ending. For Julian …

Murphy Gives His Budget Address and Ignores Our School Funding Inequities. Well, What Do You Want From an Administration That Gives a $95K Job at the DOE to a Minor League Baseball Coach?

Today Gov. Phil Murphy gave his 2019 budget address. He’s proposing, as part of this 38.6 billion spending plan, an additional $351 million as the first step in his campaign promise to “fully fund” New Jersey’s school funding formula known as the 2008 School Funding Reform Act.  SFRA is one in a series of funding formulas that attempts to comply with the 30-year-old Abbott v. Burke rulings. Those rulings accurately identified gross inequities between per …

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 …

New Jersey Teachers’ Pension System Is Broken, Unless You Work In the Front Office. Also, Why Are Sex Offenders Receiving Pensions?

Last week I wrote about the disparities in pay between rank and file educators and those who work in the offices of NJEA, N.J.’s largest teachers union. There are two parts to today’s post: First, the disparities in annual compensation between teachers and NJEA front office employees extend to disparities in retirement security.  Second, there’s a long list of teachers and administrators who, by just about any standard, shouldn’t collect pensions at all and contribute …