An Open Letter to Gov. Phil Murphy: Which Side Are You On?

Dear Governor Murphy, I heard you just demanded that State Board of Education member Jack Fornaro resign after he inquired whether Hispanic students in Paterson were capable of passing courses in American history. I share your concerns about Fornaro’s low expectations for students of color and applaud your quick response. That’s true progressivism in action within the realm of public education. Bully for you! But I’m confused. While you proudly identify as a progressive — …

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week. What Does New Jersey Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet Think of Teachers?

A week ago our Commissioner of Education Lamont Repollet testified before the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. I wrote about this last week, noting that in response to a question from Senator Declan J. O’Scanlon, Repollet conceded that he did indeed institute a “64 Floor” at Asbury Park High School when he was superintendent there. The “64 Floor,” which I heard about from multiple current and former staff members, ensures that no student can fail …

Should Gov. Murphy Take Advice From Newark Teacher Union Prez John Abeigon on Charter Schools? Depends On How You Feel About Blackface.

“We have no problem with getting more money into the pockets of our members. That’s what we’re about. We’re a union. It’s the Newark Teachers Union. A lot of people forget that. No, I’m not the parents union. I’m not the taxpayers union. I’m not the children’s union. The children in this city got more advocates than you can throw a…They got the [Advocates for Children of New Jersey], they got the Education Law Center, …

Lamont Repollet and the 64 Floor: How Did He Raise Asbury Park’s Graduation Rate? Let’s Do the Math.

When Governor Phil Murphy appointed then-Asbury Park Superintendent Lamont Repollet as New Jersey Commissioner of Education in 2018, he cited the “dramatic” increase in the long-troubled district’s graduation rate as proof of Repollet’s ability to raise student achievement. Indeed, as media reported, under his tenure the Asbury Park High School graduation rate rose from 49 to 71 percent during Repollet’s four years there. Remarkable, right? Especially in a district where 15.1 percent of students met …

There’s a New Report Out From NACSA on ‘Reinvigorating the Pipeline’ for Charter Schools. Too Bad Jersey Is Out of the Running.

I’ll bet you know that the pace of charter school growth has slowed throughout the country. But you may not know that while approvals of “no excuses” charter schools are way down, approvals of “diverse by design” schools are way up. That’s one of the conclusions of a new report just put out by the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (fondly known as NACSA) called “Reinvigorating the Pipeline: Insights into Proposed and Approved Charter …

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 …

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 …

Nepotism Springs Eternal in the Murphy Administration. Now Would Someone Please Pay Attention to the Department of Education?

Yesterday I wrote that the nepotism and subsequent dysfunction within certain state departments (looking at you, Department of Education) is not a bug but a feature of the Murphy Administration. Now comes confirmation via USA Today, reprinted in the Star-Ledger, that Lizette Delgado-Polanco, the new CEO of the School Development Authority which manages facility maintenance and construction in Abbott districts, “fired dozens of qualified veteran state employees and replaced them with union pals and family …

Believe It or Not, Progressive Lawmakers Support Standardized Testing in NJ! (Take That, Ron Swanson.)

True confession: I started writing a post a few days ago on the demise of an important piece of legislation, Senate Bill 3381, that would allow New Jersey high schools to use new diploma qualifying tests that are actually aligned with what kids learn in school. But then I junked the draft. Why? Because that progressive new bill was a reaction to a state appellate court ruling that New Jersey couldn’t use new high school standardized …