Education Law Center Nails Problems with the DOE’s Emergency Changes For Special Education Students.

Tomorrow morning the New Jersey State Board of Education will hold its first-ever Skype public meeting due to COVID-19. The first item on the Board’s agenda will be a proposal by Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet that allows schools, during this State of Emergency, to provide services to students with disabilities on virtual platforms. Education Law Center will be there to quibble. And everyone’s right. Quick backstory: When districts abruptly closed, some shut down all remote …

How Did College Achieve Public Charter Schools Pull Together Online Learning So Quickly and Effectively? Answers From the Founder.

This is a guest post by Mike Piscal, founder of College Achieve Public Schools in New Jersey, which operates six public charter schools in New Jersey. A week ago, we thought we were probably going to have to close our schools for a couple of weeks.  We started to plan.  Our network – College Achieve Public Schools (CAPS) – operates seven charter schools on six campuses in Paterson, Plainfield, North Plainfield, Neptune, and Asbury Park, …

As New Jersey Schools Struggle to Go Virtual, Here’s What We Can Learn From New Egypt High School.

As COVID-19 continues to spread across New Jersey, “long term school closures are inevitable,” said Governor Phil Murphy on Friday. All across the country school districts are scrambling to replace traditional educational models of education—the teacher standing before students imparting knowledge—with, well, something else. New Jersey Commissioner of Education Lamont Repollet said, in reference to this transition, “We are pretty much creating a new educational system.” But at New Egypt High School, which I visited before the …

With Murphy In Recovery, NJEA and Sweeney Find Common Ground, Even If We’re Still Stuck With $700 Acupuncture Sessions.

“Sen. Sweeney decides what legislation can be moved,” [NJEA President Marie Blistan] said. “As you can see right now, we are standing side by side, and we are smiling.” Hard to believe, this new-found camaraderie born after NJEA leaders spent $5 million of teachers’ dues to utterly fail at ousting Senate President Steve Sweeney. Yet here they stand, arm in arm, jointly announcing a deal that, if it works as promised, will save school districts …

Asbury Park Spends $42K per Student and Still Can’t Get the Job Done: Highlights from the Recent State Audit.

Once again it’s time to take a look at Asbury Park Public School District, which spends more per pupil ($42,382 total a year) than almost any other district and is the former post of Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet. This past November the New Jersey State Legislature’s Office of the State Auditor completed an analysis of the district’s functioning that spans from July 2016 (when Repollet was still superintendent) to December 2018. The auditor, Stephen M. …

New Jersey’s School Funding Formula Unfairly Privileges Some Not-So-Poor “Abbott” Districts.

This is a guest post by @stateaidguy who blogs at New Jersey Education Aid, where this piece was first published in slightly different form. Over the last 35 years, New Jersey’s 31 Abbott districts — which, by order of a series of State Supreme Court rulings, receive high levels of funding — have become increasingly disparate. If New Jersey’s school funding formula (SFRA) was anchored in reality, many of these districts would no longer be …

Murphy Talks Budget and Lakewood Gets Cash.

This morning the Lakewood Board of Education held a meeting in the high school auditorium for representatives from 127 private ultra-Orthodox Jewish day schools to learn about an unexpected boon: A little-noticed bill signed by Governor Murphy last year allots $5 million to pay public school STEM teachers (STEM=Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) to earn extra money — more than they’d get per hour for extra duties in their traditional or charter schools —to teach in …

Irony Alert: A New “Statewide Effort” Against Corruption Is, Well, Corrupt.

Oh, this is rich. WNYC reports today on a meeting Saturday of “New Jersey activists” called “Take Back NJ” who want the Legislature to pass “an ethics package…that takes aim at what they call ‘soft corruption’ –the ways the activists say money, patronage and the layout of the ballot undermines democracy.” Who are the leaders of this “statewide effort” referred to in the article? None other than New Jersey Working Families and people like Rutgers Professor …

Is Phil Murphy Spending Too Much Time in the Italian Sun? How Else To Explain His Veto?

Maybe Phil Murphy needs to vacation in cooler climes in order to make fair decisions on school funding for New Jersey residents, already taxed to the teeth. Yet he deserves a degree of sympathy: Just how much cognitive dissonance is generated by positioning oneself as a man of the common people while sending your kids to elite boarding schools and vacationing at your 23-room mansion in Italy? Because I don’t know how else to explain …

Charter Skeptics, Look at the Facts: The Majority of Newark Parents Say Charters Are Their First Choice as They Watch Their Children Thrive.

This is a guest post by Kyle Rosenkrans, founder and executive director of the New Jersey Children’s Foundation. Its mission is to invest in people, programs, and partnerships that will improve public education systems by putting the interests of children first. It first ran in the Star-Ledger. Facts, science, and truth matter more today than ever, as the public swims in a polluted ocean of “fake news” and stealthy misinformation campaigns to sway their opinion. …