Four Corrections to a Context And Fact-Free Article Called “The Democrats’ School Choice Problem.”

On New Year’s Eve The Nation published an analysis by Jennifer Berkshire called “The Democrats’ School Choice Problem.” Her piece is instructive because it illustrates a strategy commonly employed by those who regard themselves as warriors against craven privatizing shysters intent on expanding charter schools and/or voucher programs. This is how it works: Ignore context. Ignore math. Ignore inconvenient facts. And hustle together a specious argument that plays to those who —perhaps responding to the …

Education Law Center’s New Lawsuit For Abbott District Construction Is Based On A Reality That Is 40 Years Old.

This is a guest post by Jeffrey Bennett, who blogs at New Jersey Education Aid. It originally appeared in ROI. Nearly 40 years ago, in February 1981, the Education Law Center launched on behalf of poor, urban districts statewide what would become the most educationally and budgetarily consequential lawsuits in New Jersey history: Abbott v. Burke. Although former Education Commissioner Fred G. Burke is long departed, and the close identification of “poor” with “urban” has ceased to …

“It’s Good To Be The King!” A (Sort of Fake) Interview with Lamont Repollet Where I Get To Ask the Questions.

Last week NJ Spotlight’s John Mooney  interviewed Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet on NJTV. (Here’s his write-up, which includes a link to the full video.) I confess to a bit of jealousy: With all the turmoil roiling around the Commissioner and the Department of Education, I have a few questions myself.  And so, as a sort of wish-fulfillment exercise, I decided to ask my own questions here which include requests for elaboration on some of Repollet’s …

Senator Steve Sweeney Wrote a Letter to Ed. Comm. Lamont Repollet About Lakewood. Also, How Much Does Inzelbuch Really Make?

In August Senator Sweeney wrote a letter to Comm. Repollet asking, among other things, whether the DOE has considered auditing Lakewood, NJ’s most insolvent district, and what he thinks of Board Attorney Michael Inzelbuch’s $600,000 annual salary (plus benefits) which, he notes, is “six times higher than the national average.” The Senate President is likely displeased by the discovery made by the Asbury Park Press that Inzelbuch actually was paid $715,000 last year. David Sciarra …

“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 …

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 …

In 2015 Lakewood Tried to Economize Busing But The Yeshivas Scotched the Plan.

Look below you’ll see a clip from a June 2015 Lakewood Board of Education meeting. At this meeting, State Fiscal Monitor Michael Azzara announced that, due to pushback from the Mosdos, which represent Lakewood yeshivas, the district will no longer provide courtesy busing to any Lakewood student, public or private. Why? The previous year the Mosdos agreed to a small pilot program that sought to cut transportation costs, which last year ran to about $30 …

A Request from Lakewood’s Michael Inzelbuch and Some Musings.

This morning I got a call from Lakewood Public Schools attorney Michael Inzelbuch. He asked that I clarify an article in the Asbury Park Press, since corrected, that discusses how a Shared Services agreement between the Township and the district fell apart. The original deal said that the Township would take over the duties of the now-defunct Lakewood Transportation Student Authority (LTSA), which ended the year $3 million in the red despite parents of non-public …

Michael Inzelbuch and I Have Another Email Exchange: A Lakewood Update.

On Friday I wrote a post that described Lakewood Board of Education’s July 1st meeting when the Board shut down the school district because the State Legislature eliminated Phil Murphy’s $30 million gift to Lakewood. Later that day the Board re-opened the schools upon news that Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet magically found $36 million in the DOE budget to make Lakewood whole. I also printed two emails between myself and Board attorney Michael Inzelbuch because …

As Goes Lakewood, So Goes New Jersey? Lakewood As a Microcosm of the Garden State.

On Monday night the Lakewood Board of Education held a public meeting that, per tradition, didn’t lack for theatrics. When Governor Phil Murphy handed his 592-page budget to the State Legislature in March, tucked into page 171 was a 63.66% increase in the form of  “provisional stabilization aid” a category that applies solely to Lakewood, far more than the funding formula allows, as well as Lakewood-only increases in special education and transportation aid. The Lakewood …