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 …

Why Can’t We Fix Asbury Park? Thirteen Years of State Oversight and Still Circling the Drain.

I’ve spent a fair bit of time recently on Asbury Park Public Schools at the behest of residents and staff members who have asked me to weigh in on the proposed 2020-2021 budget that the Board will approve on Thursday.  People are alarmed: They’re looking at a 22% school tax increase and, judging by reports of last week’s meeting, which I reported on here, Board members seemed fairly clueless about the details. Why? Because in …

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 …

New Survey: NJ Public Charter and Renaissance Schools Need $900 Million for Critical School Construction

Today, the New Jersey Charter Schools Association (NJCSA) and JerseyCAN released a report titled, Include All Public Schools In Facilities Funding: $900 million needed to address public charter and renaissance school facilities concerns. The report included a survey that found that public charter and renaissance schools are in need of $900 million in construction, renovation, or capital improvement funds over the next decade to provide safe and secure school buildings for students.  The survey indicated …

Murphy’s DOE Defies Public Intent And Denies Security Funds to Charter School Students.

It is deeply troubling that public charter and renaissance schools are singled out as the only schools in New Jersey being denied access to critical security funding grants. Amid a rise in hate crimes around the country, including the recent attack in Jersey City, it is more important than ever we work to ensure all of our schools and all of our students are safe That’s Harry Lee, President of the New Jersey Charter School …

NJ’s Standardized Test Mess Is a Solution in Search of a Problem: We Raise NJ Is Happy to Help.

We Raise New Jersey just issued a statement about a critical decision facing the State Board of Education: Does the Board defer to Gov. Murphy and Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet’s deal with NJEA to create a statewide 64 Floor by eliminating meaningful assessments for high school students? Or should the Board press the State Legislature (not sure how this works, but somehow it does) to pass Assembly Bill 4957 which “eliminate[s] requirements that graduation proficiency …

The Annual NJEA Convention, Starting Today, Is SO Old-School. What If We Did Things Differently?

Today New Jersey parents woke up to their annual smack in the face: All public schools are closed today and tomorrow, the first Thursday and Friday in November, so that NJEA can host its convention in Atlantic City. That’s on top of school closures on Monday for Veteran’s Day, making this a delightful five-day weekend. That’s on top of student conferences, which some NJ schools hold in November, closing schools for several consecutive half-days. That’s …

A Request from Lakewood’s Michael Inzelbuch and Some Musings.

This morning I got a call from Lakewood Public Schools attorney Michael Inzelbuch. He asked that I clarify an article in the Asbury Park Press, since corrected, that discusses how a Shared Services agreement between the Township and the district fell apart. The original deal said that the Township would take over the duties of the now-defunct Lakewood Transportation Student Authority (LTSA), which ended the year $3 million in the red despite parents of non-public …

Michael Inzelbuch and I Have Another Email Exchange: A Lakewood Update.

On Friday I wrote a post that described Lakewood Board of Education’s July 1st meeting when the Board shut down the school district because the State Legislature eliminated Phil Murphy’s $30 million gift to Lakewood. Later that day the Board re-opened the schools upon news that Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet magically found $36 million in the DOE budget to make Lakewood whole. I also printed two emails between myself and Board attorney Michael Inzelbuch because …

As Goes Lakewood, So Goes New Jersey? Lakewood As a Microcosm of the Garden State.

On Monday night the Lakewood Board of Education held a public meeting that, per tradition, didn’t lack for theatrics. When Governor Phil Murphy handed his 592-page budget to the State Legislature in March, tucked into page 171 was a 63.66% increase in the form of  “provisional stabilization aid” a category that applies solely to Lakewood, far more than the funding formula allows, as well as Lakewood-only increases in special education and transportation aid. The Lakewood …