King Repollet Goes to Ghana (And Other Misadventures of the New Jersey Education Commissioner).

As we continue this ongoing series that deals, in part, with how Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet’s tenure at Asbury Park School District (APSD), as well as Assistant Deputy Carolyn Marano’s, was a harbinger of the current decline in standards and oversight at the State Department of Education, it’s worth looking at a peculiar event in April of 2017. During Spring Break two years ago, Asbury Park Superintendent Repollet, with a contingent of companions, travelled to …

Here’s A Leaked Memo From the NJ DOE’s Assistant Commissioner When She Directed Special Education in Asbury Park.

The memo below is from the New Jersey Department of Education’s Assistant Commissioner of Student Services, Carolyn Marano. It was written while she was Director of Special Education at Asbury Park Public Schools. In both positions she was hired by Lamont Repollet, first in his position as Superintendent of Asbury Park and then as NJ’s Education Commissioner. It all points to a disturbing pattern of leadership that undermines the academic trajectory of children with disabilities. This …

Lamont Repollet and the 64 Floor: How Did He Raise Asbury Park’s Graduation Rate? Let’s Do the Math.

When Governor Phil Murphy appointed then-Asbury Park Superintendent Lamont Repollet as New Jersey Commissioner of Education in 2018, he cited the “dramatic” increase in the long-troubled district’s graduation rate as proof of Repollet’s ability to raise student achievement. Indeed, as media reported, under his tenure the Asbury Park High School graduation rate rose from 49 to 71 percent during Repollet’s four years there. Remarkable, right? Especially in a district where 15.1 percent of students met …

People Show You Who They Are, Including The Head of Student Services At The New Jersey Department of Education. New Info From Asbury Park.

“When someone shows you who they are,” said Maya Angelou, “believe them the first time.” This would have been good advice for  Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet before he hired Carolyn Marano as Assistant Commissioner of Student Services at the Department of Education. We can’t absolve him on the basis of ignorance; after all, she was his Supervisor of Special Services when he was Superintendent at Asbury Park Public Schools. But I guess he likes what …

It’s Big News That the Schools Development Authority Is at “The Precipice of Disembowelment.” When Will State Leaders Pay Attention to The DOE?

Everyone’s talking about the exodus of experienced and qualified staff members at the Schools Development Authority, a product of nepotism directed by Murphy appointee Lizette Delgado-Polanco, who yesterday was accused of making “false statements” about her “restructuring” of the SDA, which oversees facilities renovation and construction in Abbott districts. USAToday reports that, following outrage from legislators, Murphy has “ordered roughly 50 independent authorities to turn over names and payroll information of employees in an effort …

Nepotism Springs Eternal in the Murphy Administration. Now Would Someone Please Pay Attention to the Department of Education?

Yesterday I wrote that the nepotism and subsequent dysfunction within certain state departments (looking at you, Department of Education) is not a bug but a feature of the Murphy Administration. Now comes confirmation via USA Today, reprinted in the Star-Ledger, that Lizette Delgado-Polanco, the new CEO of the School Development Authority which manages facility maintenance and construction in Abbott districts, “fired dozens of qualified veteran state employees and replaced them with union pals and family …

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 …

Why Should You Care That Murphy’s Department of Education Is In Shambles?

When my younger daughter was in eighth grade, she and her classmates had to give a short speech about themselves. The topic she chose was “Everyone In My Family Is a Nerd Except Me.” Dad was a “genome nerd,” her older brother a “history nerd,” her older sister an “environmental science nerd,” and I was a “piano nerd.” As my sweet girl, protestations aside, blossomed into her own nerdiness (bio-geo-chemistry, if you must know), I …

NJ DOE Watch: DOE Commissioner Repollet Cancelled All School Audits and The Feds Don’t Like It. Will Gov. Murphy Take Action?

You have to give him this: Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet didn’t waste any time.  Governor Phil Murphy appointed him on January 29, 2018. Ten days Repollet had his assistant send an email to the Assistant Director of Student Services and the Director of the Office of Fiscal Accountability & Compliance, cc’d to two Assistant Commissioners and a secretary in the Fiscal Accountability office. Here’s the email with names redacted: Sent: Thursday, February 08, 2018 12:29 …

The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves; Or, Is Kowtowing to Union Leaders Good for State Leadership?

Let’s be clear: the vast majority of staff members at the New Jersey Department of Education are caring, competent people, focused on the best policies for this state’s 1.4 million public school children. I’ve been covering NJ education for a decade and I can’t think of a time when this wasn’t true. The difference right now is that there appears to be is an undue emphasis on politics instead of policy, as well as a …