100,000 Students in New Jersey Are Cut Off From Remote Instruction: Murphy and Repollet Say “Let Them Eat Cake.”

In mid-March President Trump told a group of governors they were on their own in searching for respirators to help those stricken with the coronavirus. “Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment — try getting it yourselves. We will be backing you, but try getting it yourselves. Point of sales, much better, much more direct if you can get it yourself. This reminds me of the 90,000-100,000 New Jersey students — disproportionately low-income and of color—who …

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 …

Four Reasons Why Public Schools Won’t Return to “Normal” Anytime Soon

Yogi Berra proclaimed (perhaps apocryphally), “predictions are difficult, especially about the future.” I have no crystal ball but, whenever this pandemic subsides, I think we’re a long way out from returning to “normal” schooling. Why? Here are four reasons. Human Behavior:  My  husband is an avid sports fan. I’m not but tried to be supportive when he contemplated a summer without his season ticket to the Trenton Thunder, our local AA team. I said, “maybe …

New Jersey Is In The Slow Lane On the Highway To Online Instruction. Just Don’t Tell That to the DOE.

These are hard times. We’ve all had to make changes in the way we live, learn, and work. It’s no surprise that state education bureaucracies are struggling to, one extent or another, in implementing effective online instruction for students. But you wouldn’t know that from New Jersey Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet. In this interview with John Mooney of NJ Spotlight he addresses the “character of our workforce,” saying, “I salute you, because you have been …

Is COVID-19 Teaching Us Anything at All Outside of Washing Our Hands?

This is a post by my friend and colleague Zachary Wright, a national finalist for the United States Department of Education’s School Ambassador Fellowship. Zach is an assistant professor of practice at Relay Graduate School of Education serving Philadelphia and Camden. Prior to that, he was the 12th-grade world literature and AP literature teacher at Mastery Charter School Shoemaker Campus, teaching the school’s first eight graduating classes. We’re about three weeks into our new Covid-19 realities.  …

During Covid-19, Are Charter Schools Leading the Way?

On Monday I looked at the stark disparities in the quality of online instruction offered to children during the COVID-19 school closures, comparing Princeton Regional Public Schools with Trenton City Public Schools. This is one data point, although representative of New Jersey’s two separate and unequal school systems, an exemplary one for the wealthy (disproportionately white and Asian) students and an inferior one for the poor (disproportionately black and brown) students. These inequities are exacerbated …

This Father of a Special Needs Student Thinks Online Instruction Can Be A Great Fit.

This is a guest post by Jeff Kwitowski, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs & Policy at K12 Inc. For more than 20 years he’s been active in education policy and advocacy.  He lives in Herndon, VA with his wife, Rebecca, and their four daughters.  It was originally published on brightbeam’s Project Forever Free. Education in America came to a virtual standstill after schools were ordered closed in a nationwide effort to contain the spread …

How Did College Achieve Public Charter Schools Pull Together Online Learning So Quickly and Effectively? Answers From the Founder.

This is a guest post by Mike Piscal, founder of College Achieve Public Schools in New Jersey, which operates six public charter schools in New Jersey. A week ago, we thought we were probably going to have to close our schools for a couple of weeks.  We started to plan.  Our network – College Achieve Public Schools (CAPS) – operates seven charter schools on six campuses in Paterson, Plainfield, North Plainfield, Neptune, and Asbury Park, …

Will This Pandemic Force Us To Boldly Address the Inequities in Our Schools?

I live right off Route 206, a mostly two-lane road that begins in the Pinelands of southern New Jersey, winds 130 miles north to Stokes State Forest, and ends in Dingman Township, Pennsylvania. One twelve-mile stretch of 206 connects Princeton, Lawrence Township (where I live), and Trenton, the state capitol.  As COVID-19 affects, well, everything —here, we’re currently in something close to a lockdown, with a 158% jump in confirmed cases during the last three …