As Goes Lakewood, So Goes New Jersey? Lakewood As a Microcosm of the Garden State.

On Monday night the Lakewood Board of Education held a public meeting that, per tradition, didn’t lack for theatrics. When Governor Phil Murphy handed his 592-page budget to the State Legislature in March, tucked into page 171 was a 63.66% increase in the form of  “provisional stabilization aid” a category that applies solely to Lakewood, far more than the funding formula allows, as well as Lakewood-only increases in special education and transportation aid. The Lakewood …

JerseyCAN Hits Back At Repollet and Murphy’s “64 Floor” Ideology. Why? Because New Jersey Should Trust Our Teachers and Students To Achieve Success.

Late last week JerseyCAN issued a report called “The Real Test: Are We Committed to Excellence and Equity in New Jersey?” I recommend you read the whole thing:  It’s not long yet manages to succinctly and directly answer the question roiling NJ’s Department of Education: “Will we maintain challenging standards and assessments that ensure a high school diploma means something for all students, and work together to provide additional support to those that need it …

Breaking News: Carolyn Marano is “Retiring” From the DOE.

This morning at a New Jersey Department of Education Division meeting Assistant Commissioner of Student Services Carolyn Marano announced that she is retiring on August 1st. This is good news for New Jersey parents of students with disabilities (and their parents), as well as others who fall within the Students Services purview. For those of you playing catch-up, Marano was Director of Special Education in Vernon Township where staffers filed grievances against her for harassment. …

What’s At the Heart of Lakewood’s Problems? The Answer Is Bigger Than Cash.

On Tuesday, right after I put up this post, Lakewood Public Schools’ attorney Michael Inzelbuch filed an emergency motion to stop implementation of the budget produced by the Legislature (which Governor Murphy hasn’t signed yet).  You can see the full complaint at the bottom of this Lakewood Scoop article. An addendum notes that, in addition to the Legislature eliminating Lakewood’s $45 million in additional aid (unavailable to other underfunded districts), the Legislature’s proposed budget also …

What Do NJ’s Pension Crisis, Lakewood Public Schools, and the Murphy-Sweeney Feud Have in Common?

There’s lots of coverage today on the New Jersey State Legislature’s rewrite of the Governor’s budget. Murphy included a millionaire’s tax and $250 million in property tax relief (which comes out to about 10 bucks a month per household). The Legislature’s version nixes the millionaire’s tax, gives an extra $50 million to NJ Transit, and another $50 million for special education. However, two other items deleted from Murphy’s proposal by the Legislature are getting little …

Why Is It Important That Journalists and Politicians Point Out NJEA’s Control of Governor Murphy?

Mike Lilley of the Sunlight Foundation of New Jersey raises an interesting point in a recent blog post: While Tom Moran wrote an excellent editorial lambasting Gov. Phil Murphy for conditionally vetoing a bill that would require non-profits to reveal funders (like New Direction New Jersey that exists solely to push the Governor’s agenda), the Star-Ledger editor “neglects to point out the FACT that in the case at hand – where Murphy appears in the …

“If We Can’t Look In the Mirror and Think We’re Doing the Right Thing, Then We Need To Change What We’re Doing.”

Today’s New York Times has a story about a two-year-old named Skylar Jones born in 2014 with a “common and treatable” heart defect. She was a “normal, active” toddler but when she started having symptoms, her parents, as directed by Skylar’s pediatric cardiac surgeon, took her to nearby North Carolina Children’s Hospital (UNC). Their daughter needed a low-risk surgery, which went fine, although the operation took longer than predicted. Her parents were told “she should …

Is NJEA the Ventriloquist and Governor Murphy the Dummy?

Once upon a time the New Jersey Education Association was about education and professional development for teachers. But NJ’s primary teachers’ union has undergone a shift and, according to a new report out by Michael Lilley, “today’s NJEA is all politics.” This shift ties directly to the current shenanigans at the NJ Department of Education, which I’ve been covering for about nine months (complete NJ DOE Watch series here) and recent confirmation that  NJEA “contributed …

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 …