Pressure Builds on Murphy To Keep Schools Closed and Go All-Remote

Governor Phil Murphy is trying to juggle the academic needs of schoolchildren, valid health concerns of teachers, and a sudden uptick of Covid-19 cases as we approach the first day of school. You’ve got to admire his gumption but, truth be told, he’s been badly served by his NJ Department of Education (okay, he and NJEA chose Lamont Repollet as Commissioner) in two ways that directly affect how students will learn and parents will maneuver …

For New NJ Teacher Union Group, Politics Trumps Safe School Reopenings

I’m all for safety. As the mom of four young adults (and the mother-in-law of two more), I worry about any of them contracting COVID-19, not to mention my husband, myself, and all our loved ones. While I’m desperate (really, you have no idea) for the day when our youngest can return to his day program, we’re stoically resigned to the reality that this won’t happen any time soon. This has nothing to do with …

If the Marlins Can’t Control COVID, How Can Schools? Murphy’s “Clarification” Explained

My baseball-fanatic husband just told me that the Yankees-Phillies game tonight was cancelled because 14 members of the Miami Marlins tested positive for coronavirus right after playing the Phillies this past weekend.  I assume that Major League Baseball has endless funds at their disposal to keep players safe. Teams widened dugouts, practiced social distancing in locker rooms, tested players daily, and wore masks when they weren’t in the field.  Yet baseball season may be over. …

Dear New Jersey Teachers: You’re Getting a Raw Deal From NJEA and NEA.

Mike Lilley of the Sunlight Policy Center of New Jersey has a new report out, “New Jersey Teachers’ Dues: Why Are They the Highest in the Nation and What Are They Paying For?” Here, he analyzes NJ teachers’ “raw deal”: Doing the math, NJ Education Association (NJEA), the state union, keeps a higher percentage of teacher dues than any other state teacher union in the nation, depriving local branches — “those with the most direct connection …

NJ Senate Education Committee Rips DOE’s Digital Divide Failures

“I’m so angry right now that I’m trying to contain myself,” Ruiz, D-Essex, told state Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet during an Education Committee hearing. “If we don’t see 100% of families connected before September, I gotta tell you I don’t even know what is going to come out of my mouth.” This was the scene at yesterday’s Senate Education Committee hearing as Repollet informed members that the State Department of Education had made no progress …

Breaking News: NJEA Lawyers Demand Lakewood Schools Stop Violating State Social Distancing Orders

Last week the law firm Selikoff & Cohen sent a seven-page letter on behalf of NJEA and the union’s local Lakewood arm to Superintendent Laura Winters demanding that the district “cease and desist its blatant violation of  violation of Executive Orders 104 and 107 and the guidance issued by the New Jersey Department of Education on school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic.” The letter is cc’d to the president of the local union, the president …

Okay, Boomer: Why Mark Weber’s Argument Won’t Convince Millennials and Gen Z’ers To Become Teachers.

Mark Weber, aka Jersey Jazzman, just published a paper at New Jersey Policy Perspective (NJPP), a sequel to a paper he published in September. The theme of both is that New Jersey is in grave danger of not having enough high-quality teachers to fill classrooms. Why? Prospective employees are shunning careers as educators because salaries are too low, our pension system is shaky, and teachers don’t get enough respect.  I agree with all of that: …

NJEA Lobbyists Want New Jersey’s Next Governor To Be NJEA VP (and Aspiring Montclair Mayor) Sean Spiller. One Little Problem…

This is a guest post by Mike Lilley, founder and president of the Sunlight Policy Center of New Jersey, a nonprofit advocacy organization focused on showcasing greater transparency and sound policy solutions throughout the state. It first appeared in Advance Media. New Jersey Education Association Vice President Sean Spiller is running for mayor of Montclair. Spiller’s leadership position with the NJEA, the most powerful special interest in the state, which is purposefully training and running members like …

How the New Jersey Department of Education Went From Technology Leader to Technology Laggard

On Monday I wrote about Paterson Public Schools’ poor implementation of home instruction during this pandemic, hindered largely by the lack of one-on-one devices for students as well as teachers’ unfamiliarity with technology. This scenario isn’t limited to Paterson: Here’s Trenton’s form of remote learning, which is less a strategy than an abdication of responsibility. The consequences for students in these districts, already high-risk, will be enormous. Chris Minnich, head of NWEA, predicts that “students …

The NJEA and Its Allies Are the Main Funders of Sean Spiller’s Mayoral Campaign

This is a guest post by Michael Lilley, Founder and President of the Sunlight Policy Center of New Jersey, which seeks to educate residents on the way NJEA “uses their tax dollars against their own interests, secures benefits for the few over the many, and blocks needed reforms.” This was originally published on SPCNJ’s website. As detailed in SPCNJ’s previous report, New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) Vice President Sean Spiller is the most famous graduate of …