NJ Parent: The Department of Education’s Reopening Plan “Says Nothing!”

A New Jersey parent emailed NJLB to express her thoughts on the New Jersey Department of Education’s management of school reopenings. At her request, this post is anonymous. A Road Back to where? In a state that touts diversity, not one document by the New Jersey Department of Education has been translated into any other language. So these high-level documents like the DOE’s reopening plan, Restart and Recovery: The Road Back, (that truly says nothing …

Hand Me The Barf Bag: I Agree With Trump Jr. On School Choice.

It is unacceptable that too many African American and Hispanic American children are stuck in bad schools, just because of their ZIP code. Agree or disagree? Personally I find this sentiment in line with my own values about educational equity. Certainly my friends and colleagues at brightbeam would sign onto this statement in a jiffy and, most likely, many of you too. So hold onto your hats: The statement above was uttered by Donald Trump, …

Lakewood Parents on In-School Instruction: “We’re Only Here As Props!”

Lakewood Public Schools has carefully orchestrated its plan to open schools for full-day in-person instruction on September 4th. Yet efforts to control perception and press only go so far, and at Lakewood’s school board meeting last week, things went a bit sideways. Every day media outlets receive a flurry of emails from Lakewood school board attorney Michael Inzelbuch: my inbox today included bus schedules, a letter from the New Jersey Department of Education approving the …

NJ Charter School Staff Call Out DNC For “Egregious” Attacks on Schools Favored By Black and Latino Families

Ten days ago the New Jersey Public Charter Schools Association, on behalf of 65 signatories, sent a letter to the Democratic Platform Committee expressing their “deep disapppointment” with the Committee’s language on education because it is “harmful to charter schools, and the students and families we are honored to serve. They write, Mr. Biden should be careful not to turn his back on the Black, Brown and working-class families in New Jersey who support him, …

New Jersey Policy Perspective’s Shoddy Research Misses The Mark On Extra COVID Funding For Schools

This was originally published at the Sunlight Policy Center of NJ. New Jersey Policy Perspective (NJPP) has published a report, “School Funding in New Jersey: Preparing Now for the 2020-21 School Year,” co-authored by Bruce Baker and, once again, Mark Weber, Ph.D., (a.k.a Jersey Jazzman). SPCNJ embarked on writing this blog with the aim of finding some grounds for agreement with NJPP because the need for additional COVID-specific funding is real. In that vein, SPCNJ …

Is Hoboken Superintendent Guilt-Tripping Parents During COVID To Salvage State Aid?

Hoboken Superintendent Christine Johnson just sent out an email to all Hoboken public school parents (full copy below) regarding the district’s reopening plans. Unlike many New Jersey districts offering hybrid plans –a blend of in-person and remote instruction (barring this proposed Assembly bill)—Hoboken students must choose between entirely in-school instruction and entirely remote instruction. And this is serious: parents have to sign a “Declaration of Intent” by August 7th. Superintendent Johnson seems really worried that …

Marigna: Braven’s Career Booster Boot Camp Is Teaching College Grads How To Land Strong Jobs

Vincent Marigna is Executive Director of Braven, a career and leadership development accelerator focused on supporting first-generation, low-income college students with securing a strong first job out of college. He is the father of a 3-year old and lives with his partner in West Orange, New Jersey. We often tell students, whether in the first grade or twelfth, that education is the path to a brighter future. We promise them that a college degree will …

Dear Joe Biden: Rethink Your Stance on Charter Schools.

This is an excerpt from a statement from Nina Rees, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, in response to the House Appropriations Committee cutting $40 million from federal charter school funding and the recommendations from the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force recommendations for K-12 schools. This week, we are also disappointed by the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force recommendations on K-12 education which are harmful to charter schools. I encourage Mr. Biden …

With Repetition and Consistency, This Special Education Teacher Is Keeping Her Students on Track

As New Jersey enters its fourth month of school closures due to COVID-19, students on the margins are predictably suffering the most, especially those with disabilities.  The learning loss is often exacerbated if a special needs student’s family is poor. “Special education looks so different for a privileged family than it does in other places,” said Jessica Bacon, a professor of teaching and learning at Montclair State University. “I think this is going to reveal …

“Simple, Equitable, Joyful, and Accessible:” Best Remote Instruction Practices From NJ Charter School Leaders

On May 19th the New Jersey Public Charter School Association held a webinar called “Learning from NJ’s Public Charter Schools during COVID-19.” Interest among the 360 attendees was intense as local leaders shared best academic practices as well as strategies for managing everything from meal distribution to digital access to family trauma. Given the uneven quality of home instruction offered by NJ’s 555 traditional districts — in general, wealthy districts’ programming is far superior to …