If Your Kid Is a Ninth or Tenth Grader, He or She May Have to Take a Test on a Course Taken Three Years Ago. Unless This Happens.

Let’s say you’re a New Jersey parent of a current 10th grader. Your child, like one-third of New Jersey students, took Algebra 1 in 8th grade and, of course, is taking 10th grade English Language Arts right now. Guess what? Next year there is a very strong likelihood that your kid is going to have to take a standardized test in Algebra 1, a course he took three years previously, as well as repeat the …

Governor, The Hiring Scandal at the School Development Authority Is A Feature, Not A Bug.

Various news outlets are reporting on a second scandal (the first was Al Alvarez) at the School Development Authority, the agency that manages about $11 billion for school construction, primarily in Abbott districts. A Murphy political ally, Lizette Delgado-Polanco, was hired to run the agency last August and immediately fired 26 staff members, many of whom had served for years under both Democratic and Republican Administrations. She then hired 33 new staffers, some at atypically …

Believe It or Not, Progressive Lawmakers Support Standardized Testing in NJ! (Take That, Ron Swanson.)

True confession: I started writing a post a few days ago on the demise of an important piece of legislation, Senate Bill 3381, that would allow New Jersey high schools to use new diploma qualifying tests that are actually aligned with what kids learn in school. But then I junked the draft. Why? Because that progressive new bill was a reaction to a state appellate court ruling that New Jersey couldn’t use new high school standardized …

New Jersey Teachers’ Pension System Is Broken, Unless You Work In the Front Office. Also, Why Are Sex Offenders Receiving Pensions?

Last week I wrote about the disparities in pay between rank and file educators and those who work in the offices of NJEA, N.J.’s largest teachers union. There are two parts to today’s post: First, the disparities in annual compensation between teachers and NJEA front office employees extend to disparities in retirement security.  Second, there’s a long list of teachers and administrators who, by just about any standard, shouldn’t collect pensions at all and contribute …

Four Unforced Errors Committed by Gov. Murphy (All Hail NJEA!) and Some Remedial Suggestions

The New Jersey Globe recently published its annual “Year in Review,” a listing of Garden State political winners and losers, as well as a set of inside-baseball narratives that capture the gestalt within the Statehouse. What does the Globe highlight as the “political story of the year?” The “hostility” between “Gov. Phil Murphy and Senate President Steve Sweeney,” which is “unfathomable” because “they are both Democrats…The battle…has Democrats on the brink of a civil war.” …

NJ Court Rules PARCC Violates State Law So Now We Can Pretend Again That All Our Schools Are Great. Trenton Students Beg To Differ.

An article in Tuesday’s Trentonian recounts interviews with Trenton Central High School students, almost all Black,  Hispanic, and poor, who are stuck in a district where they feel unsafe and uneducated. Simultaneously, an appellate court ruled Monday that the New Jersey Department of Education’s regulations governing PARCC assessments “are in violation of laws passed by the Legislature.” Those particular laws say that high school diploma qualifying tests must be given in 11th grade but the …

These Teachers Wanted to Resign from NJ’s Teacher Union But a New State Law Undermines Their Rights. So They’re Suing Gov. Murphy and NJEA.

I have the lead piece in The 74 today on how two veteran New Jersey teachers are trying to resign from the state’s teacher union, as permitted in the Supreme Court case Janus v. AFSCME but a preemptive law passed by the State Legislative interferes with that right. But that’s much of a muchness: NJEA regularly pushes the Legislature and Gov. Murphy in particularly child-unfriendly ways. The column starts here: Susan G. Fischer teaches Italian in …

Earlier this week The 74 published a column I wrote called “These 2 Teachers Wanted to Quit Their Union — but NJ Law Wouldn’t Let Them. Now, Following the Supreme Court’s Janus Verdict, They’ve Decided to Sue.” For that piece I interviewed Susan G. Fischer (Sue) who, with her colleague Jeanette Speck, has filed a class-action suit in federal court against Gov. Phil Murphy, NJEA, and the Township of Ocean Education Association. In that suit, they …

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,” …