NJ DOE Watch: Disruption and Damage Within the Division of Student Services (with One Bright Spot)

Newsflash: insiders tell me that there has been no improvement within New Jersey’s floundering Department of Education. In an accidental metaphor, the pages of the DOE website that are supposed to list of bios of executives and descriptions of DOE offices continue to say “Under Construction.” After listening to and reading reports from brave professionals distraught over deterioration, a more apt description would be “Under Decay.” And, from what I can tell, the problems are …

Four Unforced Errors Committed by Gov. Murphy (All Hail NJEA!) and Some Remedial Suggestions

The New Jersey Globe recently published its annual “Year in Review,” a listing of Garden State political winners and losers, as well as a set of inside-baseball narratives that capture the gestalt within the Statehouse. What does the Globe highlight as the “political story of the year?” The “hostility” between “Gov. Phil Murphy and Senate President Steve Sweeney,” which is “unfathomable” because “they are both Democrats…The battle…has Democrats on the brink of a civil war.” …

NJ Court Rules PARCC Violates State Law So Now We Can Pretend Again That All Our Schools Are Great. Trenton Students Beg To Differ.

An article in Tuesday’s Trentonian recounts interviews with Trenton Central High School students, almost all Black,  Hispanic, and poor, who are stuck in a district where they feel unsafe and uneducated. Simultaneously, an appellate court ruled Monday that the New Jersey Department of Education’s regulations governing PARCC assessments “are in violation of laws passed by the Legislature.” Those particular laws say that high school diploma qualifying tests must be given in 11th grade but the …

These Teachers Wanted to Resign from NJ’s Teacher Union But a New State Law Undermines Their Rights. So They’re Suing Gov. Murphy and NJEA.

I have the lead piece in The 74 today on how two veteran New Jersey teachers are trying to resign from the state’s teacher union, as permitted in the Supreme Court case Janus v. AFSCME but a preemptive law passed by the State Legislative interferes with that right. But that’s much of a muchness: NJEA regularly pushes the Legislature and Gov. Murphy in particularly child-unfriendly ways. The column starts here: Susan G. Fischer teaches Italian in …

NJ DOE Watch: You Thought It Was Bad in Student Services? Check Out the Assessment Division’s Dysfunction.

Earlier this month I wondered whether the decay within the New Jersey Department of Education’s Division of Student Services (hostile work environment, retaliatory actions, talks of a class action suit) is an anomaly or emblematic of systemic dysfunction. I was hoping for the former; after all, one troubled department beats system-wide woes. But it appears to be the latter. At the very least, the dysfunction that pervades Student Services is also present in the DOE …

Oops. New Jersey DOE Leaders Just Made a Mistake.

On October 12, last Friday,  Assistant Education Commissioner Linda Eno sent a letter to all “Chief School Administrators, Charter School and Renaissance School Project Leads,” copied to Commissioner Lamont Repollet. The letter, entitled “Spring 2019 State Assessment Name, Length and Time Changes,”  describes the differences between last year’s administration of standardized tests to those that will be given this coming Spring. There’s just one problem. The information shared with school leaders is wrong. Two weeks ago …

Governor Phil Murphy Does Not “Eliminate PARCC Day One.” Here’s the Compromise.

The New Jersey Board of Education and Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet have reached a compromise on PARCC testing. (See here for the contentious background.) Repollet wanted, per Governor Murphy’s promise to NJEA, to reduce the number of end-of-course tests that students take in high school from six to two. (Those tests would be 10th grade English language arts and Algebra 1, which some students take in 8th or 9th grade). Advocates for educational improvement wanted …

Great News as Camden Prep Closes the Achievement Gap!

Camden Prep, part of the Uncommon Schools network, first opened on Mt. Ephraim Avenue in 2014 through the Urban Hope Act, which authorized “renaissance schools,” hybrid charter-district neighborhood schools, to open if approved by the school board.  Camden Prep replaced the old Bonsall Elementary School, which was labeled one of the five most troubled schools in the worst district in New Jersey. When Camden Prep first opened, only 4 percent of students tested proficient in …

Gov. Murphy Promised NJEA He’d “Get Rid of PARCC Day One.” Not So Fast, Say Those Who Value Honest Representations of Student Proficiency and School Quality.

Last week New Jersey Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet presented a  proposal to the State Board of Education to reduce the end-of-course (EOC) state tests administered in high school from six to two, the minimum required under federal law. To the shock of those who follows these typically pro forma sessions, the BOE tabled the proposals because it didn’t have the votes to pass them and generously spared Repollet and his boss, Gov. Phil Murphy, the …

Better Education for Kids and JerseyCAN Issue Joint Statement on Legislative Hearing Re: DOE Proposals On Lowering Standards

Context: Today members of the Legislature, led by  Assembly Education Committee Chair Pamela Lampitt and Senator Education Chair Teresa Ruiz (both Democrats), asked smart questions of New Jersey Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet regarding his proposals to water down accountability and standards by eliminating four of the six end-of-year course tests in high schools. (Last week he diminished the link between students outcomes and teacher evaluations from 30 percent to 5 percent.) According to The Record, …