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, …

The NJ State Board of Education Has the Right Stuff.

“Amen,” said Senator Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex), who chairs the Senate Education Committee. “I think this gives us an opportunity to come up with the best plan,” Ruiz said in an interview. “I’m in favor of change all the time. We should be changing the mark. But it should be moving it up, and not staying in one place or even lowering the bar.” “These policies that were being made were based on the high-performing high …

This NJ Spotlight Op-Ed is Wrong.

Scott Taylor, the superintendent of the Highland Park school district, has an op-ed in today’s NJ Spotlight that argues that the New Jersey State Board of Education should eliminate all high school diploma-qualifying tests. This is a suggestion we’ve heard before and there are reasonable arguments for both sides. However, Mr. Taylor runs into unreasonable territory when he declares that the primary reason for eliminating all diploma tests is because New Jersey schools are so …

The Star-Ledger Gets the Story Right But The Headline Wrong.

Don’t blame that inconsistency on journalist Adam Clark:  typically writers have no control over headlines. Nonetheless, he’s stuck with the problem that his article on New Jersey’s latest state assessments, known as PARCC for the moment, is topped by the headline “Most NJ Kids Failed the State Math Exam (Again),” although his story accurately conveys great news: our students are rising to the challenge of higher standards that reflect the skill sets necessary for life after …

Ed Comm. Repollet Goes For the “Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations” but State Board of Education Refuses to Play – For Now.

Last month the State Board of Education considered some big changes to our requirements for a high school diploma. The recommendations were proffered by Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet and were widely anticipated to be adopted during the meeting. But that didn’t happen. Instead, the Board wisely decided to delay the decision and continue discussions in September. They must know that there’s far more at stake than rejiggering standardized tests that NJEA, Education Law Center, and …

Update on Firings at the NJ Department of Education: Staffers Respond

There’s been much interest in my post ten days ago about the firing of 40 staff members from the state Department of Education. Since the post went up I’ve received numerous emails from staff members, some who were fired and some still there. All  requested anonymity. Here’s a summary of what I’ve been told. In a sign of the personal and/or political nature of the firings, several days later the DOE put up postings to …

Cheers All Around for New Jersey’s State Board of Education!

Today the New Jersey Board of Education took a courageous step towards maintaining high-quality schools for students and families. Instead of rubber-stamping Commissioner Repollet (and NJEA’s) recommendations for watering down standards (ex.: a student would be deemed eligible for a high school diploma by scoring a 440 on the math SAT section, which the College Board considers in the 25th percentile of a nationally representative sample), the Board decided to not take action today. Members …

Dear State Board of Ed: Hold Your Horses and Wait For Families!

This is a just-issued letter, sent to members of the State Board of Education, from New Jersey education leaders who value accurate assessments of student learning. July 27, 2018 New Jersey State Board of Education 100 River View Plaza PO Box 500 Trenton, NJ 08625-050 Dear State Board of Education Members: At the July 11, 2018 meeting of the State Board of Education, the Board announced that open public comment on N.J.A.C. 6A:8 Standards and …

Yes, Governor, Your Obsession with PARCC is Wasteful and Misguided.

“It isn’t today,” he said in an appearance at the Golden Nugget casino. “I still don’t like it. And I’m not gonna wake up someday and become a fan of PARCC. I’m not anti-assessment. … But I’m no fan of PARCC.” That’s Gov. Murphy commenting on yesterday’s news that New Jersey is shortening federally-required annual assessments aligned with state standards and eliminating four of the six assessments required for high school graduation. This, according to …

Correcting The Record on “Murphy Promise Tracker”: The Education Edition

This past weekend The Record published its latest edition of its“Murphy Promise Tracker,” which aims to hold Gov. Murphy “accountable” to “statements made during the campaign or posted on its website.” One problem: The Record is grading on a curve. In fact, every single promise made by Murphy receives a declaration of either “promise kept” or “promise launched.” And that’s simply not true.  Let’s preface this by acknowledging that Gov. Murphy has had a rough …