School Districts Defy Murphy With Impunity While Repollet Takes Kean University All-Remote

Yesterday I wrote of an accelerating pattern of school districts defying direct mandates from Phil Murphy and the state Department of Education by choosing to go all-remote. These decisions, of course, flaut the DOE/Murphy’s rule that “districts’ reopening plans must account for resuming in-person instruction in some capacity.” The Governor and DOE’s refusal to cop to reality erodes trust in their leadership. It also throws into question their respect for the opinions of school leaders, …

School Leaders Ignore Murphy and DOE Mandates. Here’s Why That’s a Problem.

“We literally have no news on education today,” Murphy said at his latest coronavirus press briefing in Trenton. Well, school leaders across New Jersey have some news for the Governor: They are ignoring the New Jersey Department of Education’s mandate –supported by Murphy–that all schools begin the 2020-2021 school year with some element of in-building learning. Why? Because a growing consensus says this mandate is an ill-considered, medically-ignorant decision that courts disaster. Earlier today I …

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. …

Surely We Can Do Better Than DeVos When It Comes to Opening Schools

Sunday morning Education Secretary Betsy DeVos went on CNN and Fox to tout her belief that all American schools must open for full-time in-person learning in September. Afterwards she was excoriated for both her ignorance and her cavalier attitude towards potential outbreaks among students, teachers, and staff.   It’s so easy to beat up on DeVos. (Heck, I do it all the time.)  But right now I’m thinking that DeVos and her boss’s idiocy are a …

Breaking News: Six Rumors From NJ Education Department Include Extended School Closures, Lack of Guidance, and Mandatory Furloughs.

Jeez, you leave for one week and all hell breaks loose. Just kidding. Or not. Last night I came home from a week away with my husband and all our kids to a host of rumors from the New Jersey Department of Education and Governor Murphy’s Office. I am printing the ones that have been confirmed by two independent sources who will, of course, remain anonymous. As always, I can’t do this work without the …

Why Are Medically-Compromised Students Going Back to School in a Week? They’re Following State Guidelines.

We are not a hospital. We are not a summer camp. We are not a test for the thousands of students hoping to return to public school in September. I am extremely concerned that our governor does not seem to understand that ESY programs cannot be viewed as day camps and that they are a continuation of the school year for our students with special needs. If I accidentally infected a student and something were …

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 …

New Jersey DOE Adds Anal Sex to Its Learning Standards for Eighth-Graders

Yesterday the New Jersey State Board of Education approved new Student Learning Standards, a practice that occurs every five years. Typically these exercises are pro forma: Standards, after all, align with what we used to call Common Core and votes are traditionally unanimous.. Not this time. Instead, Board members were split and the final vote was 8-4. Why? According to Vice President Andrew Mulvihill, there was some consternation about the 65-page section on Comprehensive Health …

NJ Education Committee Chairs Ruiz and Lampitt Say State DOE Needs to Step it Up Now

Wednesday I wrote about the webinar “Learning from NJ’s Public Charter Schools during COVID-19” but I left out the opening discussion with Senator Teresa Ruiz and Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt, Chairs of the Senate and Assembly Education Committees, who both provided thoughtful comments about New Jersey’s educational crisis. First let’s focus on Ruiz’s concerns about the role of the NJ Department of Education. After moderator Harry Lee, head of the NJ Public Charter School Association, asked …

Sources Reveal the Story Behind NJ’s Inequitable Online Learning

Joicki Floyd is an English teacher at Newark’s Weequahic High School which, like the rest of New Jersey, is relying on remote instruction during coronavirus school closures. Last week she called every one of her 94 students to find out why so few were participating. Of the students she was able to track down, Floyd found, according to Chalkbeat,  that at least 10 “still did not have laptops or reliable internet at home nearly a …