PARCC Part 2: Why, For the First Time in Five Years, Did Student Growth Stall?

Yesterday I reacted to the news, revealed during Wednesday’s State Board of Education meeting, that student achievement, as measured by standardized tests, flat-lined after four consecutive years of growth. I also discussed Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet’s proposal — already in progress despite Board members’ admonitions to Repollet last Spring to not lower standards — to, well, lower standards by creating easier tests in fewer grades. I noted that I didn’t have the data on achievement …

With New Student Test Results Released, Repollet Tries to Turn New Jersey Public Schools into One Big Asbury Park.

Yesterday Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet presented the State Board of Education with last Spring’s standardized test scores. NJ Spotlight describes the results as “leveling off of gains under the old PARCC tests, with only about half the students passing the math and language-arts exams.” The Star-Ledger concluded, “many New Jersey students are still struggling to make the grade, and statewide gains in test scores are starting to level off.”  In our fifth year of testing …

“It’s Embarrassing to Work For the NJ DOE These Days and Pretend That the Emperor Has Brains and Clothes!”: Staff Take Umbrage at “Employee Appreciation Week”

Last week, New Jersey Department of Education’s staff members’ inboxes filled up with cheery reminders from their supervisors regarding “NJ DOE Employee Appreciation Week.” An outsider would assume that these missives would be welcome. They weren’t. Instead, I heard from a number of demoralized staff members who regarded the many activities planned — golfing, picnics, biking, racing, food trucks, contests, entertainment — as just so much bluster from an Administration focused not on education but …

Murphy’s Track Record of Appointments Is Lousy, Especially in Education. What’s Up With That?

“I don’t talk to fucking Jews,” Dye told the New Jersey Globe during a very brief telephone interview.  “Get the fuck out of here.” That’s Jeffrey Dye, the latest hiring  embarrassment for the Murphy Administration. Dye was  gifted a job in the state Department of Labor & Workforce Development even though, according to Politico, he “made numerous anti-Semitic posts on Facebook.”   Oh, by the way, Dye is also President of the Passaic branch of …

Why, Asked a Tweeter, Is Asbury Park Public Schools’ Cost Per Pupil Over $40K? Here’s My Answer.

Such a good question, Madeline! What does Asbury Park Public Schools do with all that money, even as enrollment declines? With schools all over the state cutting costs, why is this happening? I mean, $42K a kid? Those students must be academic superstars! After all, that’s the basis for New Jersey’s Abbott decisions: As Education Law Center explains, ELC’s legal and policy advocacy, which includes such landmark rulings as Abbott v. Burke, has significantly advanced the …

Is Restorative Justice Working? According to Teachers, Not So Much. Focus on Asbury Park.

I was chatting with a teacher from Asbury Park High School, who wishes to remain anonymous. We were talking about the impact of the then-Asbury Park Superintendent, now-Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet’s decision to create a system, “The 64 Floor,” that makes it impossible for students to fail a course. (Repollet owned up to this practice during a New Jersey Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee hearing and justified it by claiming that “teachers weaponize grades.”) Now …

Gov. Murphy Appointed Cory Booker’s Big Brother Cary to a Top DOE Post. “Binge Nepotism” or SOP?

“New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker’s older brother, Cary Booker, has made headlines recently after New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, hired him for a top education job in the Garden State. That’s the focus of a new Education Week article that details the recent selection by Gov. Phil Murphy, approved by Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet, of Cary Booker to head the Division of Early Childhood Development at a cool $150K per year. “Cary’s commitment …

Breaking News: Carolyn Marano is “Retiring” From the DOE.

This morning at a New Jersey Department of Education Division meeting Assistant Commissioner of Student Services Carolyn Marano announced that she is retiring on August 1st. This is good news for New Jersey parents of students with disabilities (and their parents), as well as others who fall within the Students Services purview. For those of you playing catch-up, Marano was Director of Special Education in Vernon Township where staffers filed grievances against her for harassment. …

Promises, Promises: Does New Jersey’s Education Commissioner Care?

Every year school administrators and central office staff wig out right before October 15th. Why? That’s the date when districts must submit detailed files on student enrollment data to the New Jersey Department of Education through a platform called NJSMART. So much, including state aid, rides on this count (this file is the first submission of the funding process) and so there’s always a mad scramble to make sure numbers accurately reflect the number of …

Repollet Rumor Expansion, Plus Commentary on a New DOE Appointment.

I stand corrected. Yesterday, in reporting on a rumor about the departure of Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet, I noted that “17 out of 55 leadership positions are marked ‘vacant’ on the DOE organization chart.” A few hours after I published that post the State Board of Education, reports NJ Spotlight, approved six candidates for those leadership positions, leaving only 11 out of 55 seats that “had been long-vacant under [Repollet].” Sometimes timing is everything, not …