New Jersey Schools Failed the Remote Learning Test in March. Here Are 3 Ways to Get September Right.

For the last two years I’ve been reporting on the disarray at the New Jersey Department of Education. Suddenly I’m not the only one. In a series running this week at Advance Media, Adam Clark describes a “system-wide breakdown last spring that failed the state’s most vulnerable children” due to a “lack of decisive action or funding” as well as the “low bar” set by the DOE. Six months after the pandemic closed schools, Clark …

Senator Ruiz Reams Out NJ DOE for Lying and Lack of Leadership

A few notes from last Thursday’s State Senate Budget Committee hearing, with Interim Department of Education Commissioner Kevin Dehmer in the hot seat, poor soul. When Dehmer boasted that New Jersey public schools, for the second year in a row, were rated #1 by EdWeek (which rates schools primarily by how much the state spends per pupil), Senator Teresa Ruiz, Chair of the Senate Education Committee, shot back: New Jersey may be ‘number one’ which …

The Road to Reopening Is Filled With Potholes, Says NJ School Boards Association

One week ago the New Jersey School Boards Association published a report called “Choosing The Best ‘Road Back’ for Our Children.” Here, NJSBA explains the need for “critical state and federal support for public education during the pandemic” and describes “the obstacles and challenges school districts have faced in developing reopening plans and many of the strategies they have implemented.” Question: Why would NJSBA publish this? Answer: While Interim Commissioner Kevin Dehmer says NJ is …

Murphy’s Staunchest Allies Abandon Ship As School Reopening Plans Crater

It’s a failure at the state level. It is simply inadequate for the state to issue guidance and say, ‘You’re on your own to figure this out.’ That’s a quote from last week’s New York Times story on how New Jersey’s school reopening plans are “falling apart.” Sure, you read this on NJLB all the time (see here, here, here, here) but take note that the speaker quoted is David Sciarra, executive director of the …

Education Law Center: DIGITAL DIVIDE A VIOLATION OF STUDENTS’ CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS

Education Law Center, which litigated the Abbott v. Burke cases, issued this statement late yesterday, informing Gov. Murphy and the State Legislature that New Jersey students’ lack of internet access and one-on-one devices necessary to access remote learning (one in five students, at last count) is a violation of their constitutional right to a “thorough and efficient” education. August 27, 2020 The State of New Jersey’s continuing failure to eliminate the digital divide for an …

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 …

“We Were Begging For Decision-Making From the DOE”: NJ Superintendents Decry Lack of Leadership

Mike La Susa, Superintendent of School District of the Chathams in Morris County, is in a tough spot: His reopening plan still calls for in-district instruction but “if we’re faced with a continuing increase in the number of leave inquiries and potential leaves we could be in a different position a week from now, or ten days from now.”  What does LaSusa regard as a major contributing factor to the uncertainty?  “Not enough planning by …

Murphy Is Losing Key Allies As He Fumbles School Reopening Plans.

It’s a domino effect: Despite Gov. Murphy’s resistance to lengthy periods of online instruction, district after district — 150 at last count—is ignoring him and his “circus-like atmosphere” and going all-remote. At this point, the Governor, widely hailed for his leadership in flattening the curve of coronavirus infection, is looking less like a figure of authority and more like feckless NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, widely panned for a reopening plan that Gov. Andrew Cuomo …

Murphy’s Executive Order For Districts Going Remote-Only

Governor Murphy Signs Executive Order Requiring Schools to Open for In-Person Instruction and Permitting Districts to Provide Remote-Only Instruction if They Cannot Meet Health and Safety Protocols Executive Order Also Allows Institutions of Higher Education to Resume Broader In-Person Instruction TRENTON – Governor Phil Murphy and Department of Education Interim Commissioner Kevin Dehmer announced that New Jersey’s public and private school districts will be open for in-person instruction for the start of the school year. Public school …

Murphy Flip-Flops on School Reopenings. Here’s the Backstory.

It’s been two years since I began covering the deterioration of the New Jersey Department of Education under the commissioner appointed by Governor Murphy, Lamont Repollet. The coverage started because a brave DOE staff member told me that he, along with 39 other longtime professionals, had been abruptly fired on a Friday morning in July 2018. Most of them worked in the Office of Comprehensive Support, a division of the DOE that serves our lowest-performing districts. Last …