Murphy’s Executive Order For Districts Going Remote-Only

Governor Murphy Signs Executive Order Requiring Schools to Open for In-Person Instruction and Permitting Districts to Provide Remote-Only Instruction if They Cannot Meet Health and Safety Protocols Executive Order Also Allows Institutions of Higher Education to Resume Broader In-Person Instruction TRENTON – Governor Phil Murphy and Department of Education Interim Commissioner Kevin Dehmer announced that New Jersey’s public and private school districts will be open for in-person instruction for the start of the school year. Public school …

Murphy Flip-Flops on School Reopenings. Here’s the Backstory.

It’s been two years since I began covering the deterioration of the New Jersey Department of Education under the commissioner appointed by Governor Murphy, Lamont Repollet. The coverage started because a brave DOE staff member told me that he, along with 39 other longtime professionals, had been abruptly fired on a Friday morning in July 2018. Most of them worked in the Office of Comprehensive Support, a division of the DOE that serves our lowest-performing districts. Last …

School Districts Defy Murphy With Impunity While Repollet Takes Kean University All-Remote

Yesterday I wrote of an accelerating pattern of school districts defying direct mandates from Phil Murphy and the state Department of Education by choosing to go all-remote. These decisions, of course, flaut the DOE/Murphy’s rule that “districts’ reopening plans must account for resuming in-person instruction in some capacity.” The Governor and DOE’s refusal to cop to reality erodes trust in their leadership. It also throws into question their respect for the opinions of school leaders, …

Is Hoboken Superintendent Guilt-Tripping Parents During COVID To Salvage State Aid?

Hoboken Superintendent Christine Johnson just sent out an email to all Hoboken public school parents (full copy below) regarding the district’s reopening plans. Unlike many New Jersey districts offering hybrid plans –a blend of in-person and remote instruction (barring this proposed Assembly bill)—Hoboken students must choose between entirely in-school instruction and entirely remote instruction. And this is serious: parents have to sign a “Declaration of Intent” by August 7th. Superintendent Johnson seems really worried that …

If the Marlins Can’t Control COVID, How Can Schools? Murphy’s “Clarification” Explained

My baseball-fanatic husband just told me that the Yankees-Phillies game tonight was cancelled because 14 members of the Miami Marlins tested positive for coronavirus right after playing the Phillies this past weekend.  I assume that Major League Baseball has endless funds at their disposal to keep players safe. Teams widened dugouts, practiced social distancing in locker rooms, tested players daily, and wore masks when they weren’t in the field.  Yet baseball season may be over. …

Murphy Reverses DOE School Reopening Guidance: Parents Can Choose All-Remote Instruction.

Developing Story: Governor Murphy just announced that all New Jersey parents will have the option of keeping their children home for the entire 2020-2021 school year, with access to remote instruction from their district. Twenty minutes ago he tweeted this: This is a change from the guidance issued by the New Jersey Department of Education earlier this month and approved by the State Board of Education. According to “The Road Back: Restart and Recovery,” “[d]istricts’ …

New Report: 75% of Newark’s Public Charter Schools Beat The Odds.

Earlier this month, Margrady Research released a study called “Resilience: Will Urban Schools that Beat the Odds Continue to Do So During the COVID-19 Pandemic?” Analysts Jesse Margolis and Eli Groves started the project before coronavirus hit and so the report is divided into two parts. The first part updates 2015 data from the Center For Reinventing Public Education (CRPE), which calculated the percentage of students in 50 large U.S. cities that attend “beat the …

Surely We Can Do Better Than DeVos When It Comes to Opening Schools

Sunday morning Education Secretary Betsy DeVos went on CNN and Fox to tout her belief that all American schools must open for full-time in-person learning in September. Afterwards she was excoriated for both her ignorance and her cavalier attitude towards potential outbreaks among students, teachers, and staff.   It’s so easy to beat up on DeVos. (Heck, I do it all the time.)  But right now I’m thinking that DeVos and her boss’s idiocy are a …

7 Ways Teachers Can Use Zoom to Connect with Students Right Now

This is a guest post by Mark Joseph, a sixth-grade math teacher at KIPP Rise Academy in Newark, where he has taught for eleven years. For Mark’s other posts, see here, here, here, and here. No one knows for sure whether this fall we will resume regular school, remote learning, or some mix of the two. While this piece began as seven ways teachers could use Zoom to connect with their students in September, the more I thought about …

New Jersey Superintendents Decry the State’s “Lazy,” “Incomplete,” and “Contradictory” Guidance To Reopening Schools

The pattern was already there: New Jersey’s Department of Education, when faced complex issues, punts instead. We’ve seen this with the moribund “Charter School Act Review,” which promised clear guidance on charter school expansions and approvals; the report was never released. We’ve seen this in the DOE’s desultory attitude towards the digital divide that, three months into school closures, continues to exclude 100,000 students from accessing home instruction; Commissioner Repollet says, “we have been putting …