Lakewood Isn’t Just Cheating Its Public School Children; It’s Cheating Its Orthodox Jewish Children Too.

Lakewood Public Schools is regularly sued by current and former staff members. On Friday the Asbury Park Press published a partial list of the suits, including some settlements. There is a theme to this litigation: If a staff member is unwilling to disregard the law, is invested in educational equity, and has the guts to speak up, he or she gets the boot. The victims of this “culture of fear” are not only educators with …

Has the NJ Department of Education Misallocated Federal Funds Intended for Low-Income Students?

Earlier this week school districts in New Jersey received this email from the Department of Education: Dear Colleague: You are receiving this message because this email account was recently used to sign up for an upcoming Technical Assistance( TA) session regarding  discretionary grant opportunities using, Title 1 Part A Funds. This email is to inform you that the TA session has been cancelled. The New Jersey  Department of Education (NJDOE) under the direction and guidance …

You Want An Authentic Charter School Review? New Jersey Has One Now! Parents Brave the Cold To Speak Truth to Comm. Repollet

Yesterday I stood outside State Department of Education in Trenton and watched dozens of parents deliver 2,000 postcards, carefully stacked in boxes, each pleading with DOE Commissioner Lamont Repollet to end the charter school moratorium. One by one, on frigid Riverside Plaza, parents approached the microphone and voiced support for public school choice in New Jersey. “Parents are standing strong, and we have a clear message for our leaders: we love our public charter schools …

We Need To Talk About Race When We Talk About New Jersey Charter Schools.

I’ve been thinking about race this weekend, probably because NJ Advance Media just came out with The Force Report, which describes this state’s broken criminal justice system. According to the journalists, who worked for 16 months to complete this project, in New Jersey Black people are more than three times as likely as white people to face police use of force, which includes “compliance holds,” “takedowns,” using “open hand strikes or closed punches,” “leg strikes,” …

NJ DOE Watch: You Thought It Was Bad in Student Services? Check Out the Assessment Division’s Dysfunction.

Earlier this month I wondered whether the decay within the New Jersey Department of Education’s Division of Student Services (hostile work environment, retaliatory actions, talks of a class action suit) is an anomaly or emblematic of systemic dysfunction. I was hoping for the former; after all, one troubled department beats system-wide woes. But it appears to be the latter. At the very least, the dysfunction that pervades Student Services is also present in the DOE …

Here’s What’s Wrong With Save Our Schools-NJ’s Answers to the DOE Charter School Survey. Or, Let Them Eat Cake.

Last week the anti-choice/accountability Princeton-based group called Save Our Schools-New Jersey summoned its Facebook members to fill out the survey that is part of the state’s charter school law review.  No brain required because SOS-NJ has helpfully given supporters the answers to the survey; all they have to do is cut and paste. There’s one problem with this convenience: the answers SOS-NJ supplies contradict best practices and distort facts. As a public service I’m providing …

NJ Department of Education Watch: Another One Bites the Dust

Friday morning I put up a post that describes five ways that the New Jersey Department of Education is undermined by questionable hires and actions. These incidents appear to be panders to special interests by Governor Murphy and/or Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet, resulting in a DOE bereft of transparency, moral integrity, and effectiveness. The majority of these actions are personnel appointments. I should have waited until Friday afternoon to publish the post because there’s now …

Five Ways That New Jersey’s Education System Is Being Undermined

Sue me. I was an English major. When I think about the state of the Murphy Administration’s Department of Education, a host of literary allusions sweeps over me: Faust selling his soul to Mephistopheles in exchange for power; Dionysus gifting Midas with the golden touch, thus cursing him with starvation; Macbeth’s moral compass eclipsed by blind ambition. Okay.  I’m being melodramatic. Yet let us look at five ways in which the Governor’s tendency to pander …

Do Gov. Murphy and Ed. Comm. Repollet Have What it Takes to Put Education Over Politics?

“We parents filled that room last night and our voices were heard on why we LOVE our Public Charter schools!” That’s Paterson parent Ashley Lauren describing the vibrant atmosphere at the NJ Department of Education’s first of five stops on its Charter School Program Outreach 2018 Calendar. With almost no notice (the dates for focus groups were announced on Thursday, October 11th and the Paterson meeting was the following Tuesday) and at a parent-unfriendly time …

Something Farshtunkene* in Lakewood

When news broke last year that the FBI raided homes of 26 Lakewood ultra-Orthodox residents on charges of wrongfully collecting Medicaid, food stamps, SNAP, and SSI benefits, as well as evading property taxes that fund schools and municipal activities (see here), New Jersey Comptroller Philip J. Degnan issued a statement that said participants must make “full restitution of all improperly received funds.” Unless, that is, if you’re a Lakewood Board of Education member. Or maybe just …