School Reopening Plans Backlogged at DOE While School Leaders Lament Lack of Leadership

I’ve had a lot of superintendents, a lot of principals from my area reach out lamenting kind of the lack of guidance they have received from the Department of Education. My office tried facilitating even conference calls with the DOE and our superintendents and we never even received a response back from DOE to help schedule some of these things. Per Carly Sitrin today at Politico (behind a paywall), that’s Assemblymember Holly Schepisi speaking at …

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 …

New Jersey Superintendents Enraged By Murphy’s “Abdication of Responsibility”

In my experience, school superintendents are gracious and diplomatic when faced with hardships, whether dealt unexpected cuts in state aid, new regulations, or community uproars. Oh, they may vent in private but their public remarks are even-handed, focused on solutions and compromises. And they hardly ever ding a politician. Judging by Twitter, they’ve reached their breaking point as Gov. Phil Murphy –seemingly by the day—changes rules for reopening schools. First every student had to have …

New Jersey Superintendents Decry the State’s “Lazy,” “Incomplete,” and “Contradictory” Guidance To Reopening Schools

The pattern was already there: New Jersey’s Department of Education, when faced complex issues, punts instead. We’ve seen this with the moribund “Charter School Act Review,” which promised clear guidance on charter school expansions and approvals; the report was never released. We’ve seen this in the DOE’s desultory attitude towards the digital divide that, three months into school closures, continues to exclude 100,000 students from accessing home instruction; Commissioner Repollet says, “we have been putting …

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 …

Tonight the Lakewood School Board Will Approve A Budget It Can’t Pay For.

Later today at its public meeting the Lakewood Board of Education will approve a budget of $204 million that assumes the state will kick in a loan of $60 million. In addition, the Board will request that Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet defer the repayment of prior year DOE loans. The Board will also approve attorney Michael Inzelbuch’s annual compensation of $750,000. A few notes: If the State approves the $60 million loan, Lakewood’s unpaid annual …

Dear Gov. Murphy/Comm. Repollet/NJEA: Look at This School and Tell Us Again Why You Want to Water Down High School Testing.

Last week I wrote about the dilemma facing the New Jersey State Board of Education: To accept a low-ball standardized testing proposal from accountability-averse Commissioner Lamont Repollet (ELA 10, Algebra 1, and Geometry, all taken in 11th grade) or gamble on the Legislature passing a bill that would permit the state to test high school students when they finish a course. (See here for more background.) In a 12-1 vote the Board played it safe …

Get Ready, New Jersey: If Shennell Has Her Way, Newark Will #CloseTheGap!

Yesterday I chatted with the Shennell McCloud, Newark’s indefatigable activist for educational equity and  parent empowerment. As Executive Director of Project Ready, she has already achieved the non-profit’s first goal of registering 1,000+ Newarkers to vote by mail, as well as hosted the annual New Jersey Parent Summit. Now Project Ready is embarking on an even more ambitious endeavor called #CloseTheGap Campaign, which kicked off yesterday, Election Day, by celebrating local advocacy. Shennell’s long-term goal …