Covert Collective Action? One-Third of Princeton Teachers Request Leaves of Absence.

For a completely different vibe than Lakewood on school reopenings (see previous post), let’s turn to Princeton Regional Public Schools. There, rumor has it that during this week’s (remote) Back to School night, a second-grade teacher informed parents that she was taking a leave of absence for the rest of the year. When a parent remarked that he hoped more teachers would do that in order to force the district to abandon plans to bring …

Princeton Public Schools Denies Staff Requests To Work Remotely And Offers Unpaid Leave

Below is a letter written to all Princeton Regional Public Schools’ staff from  Human Resources Director Michael Volpe, who says that the district is denying requests to teach from home. Instead, staff can take a one-year unpaid leave of absence. Planet Princeton’s Krystal Knapp comments, Planet Princeton asked a district spokesperson how many district teachers and staff members have requested the ability to work from home for the school year, how many were given an …

Montclair Families, “Devastated” By Remote Instruction, Demand To Be Treated As “Equal Shareholders”

This is a petition circulating among Montclair parents who oppose the district’s decision to begin the school year remotely, despite 70% of parents voting for an “in-person hybrid model.” At the bottom of the petition, signatories ask that district personnel, not MEA (Montclair Education Association, the teachers union) fulfill requests under the Open Records Act “in order to ensur[e] transparency.” This request suggests a concern that MEA may be less than forthright in supplying public …

Keeping Track of Covid-19 Cases in NJ Public Schools.

This is a running tally of Covid-19 cases in New Jersey public schools. If you have any information, please add the district, school, the number of cases, and any other salient details — among staff and students in the comments section. Three out of six school buildings in Mahwah Public Schools (Bergen County) are closed because of Covid-19 cases. The district had been hybrid; those three schools are fully virtual. At East Brunswick High School …

I Nearly Broke My Back But My Kid’s In A Program

Dear readers, my writing is sparse this week and here’s why: On Tuesday morning, for the first time in six months since programs for adults with disabilities shut down due to Covid-19, our son Jonah had access to a structured activity run by a program in a different county: 90 minutes a day on Zoom. He was a nervous wreck on Monday but Tuesday he was thoroughly engaged (doesn’t hurt that his best friend is …

The Road to Reopening Is Filled With Potholes, Says NJ School Boards Association

One week ago the New Jersey School Boards Association published a report called “Choosing The Best ‘Road Back’ for Our Children.” Here, NJSBA explains the need for “critical state and federal support for public education during the pandemic” and describes “the obstacles and challenges school districts have faced in developing reopening plans and many of the strategies they have implemented.” Question: Why would NJSBA publish this? Answer: While Interim Commissioner Kevin Dehmer says NJ is …

Why Hasn’t Murphy Replaced the DOE Commissioner?

I’m surely not the first to wonder why Governor Phil Murphy has yet to nominate a Commissioner for the Department of Education. Lamont Repollet left in mid-July — Murphy knew he was leaving in May — to take over the presidency at Kean University. Here we are, four months after Repollet gave notice, with an interim commissioner whose competency is in finance. What’s up with that, especially during this wildly atypical summer as schools scramble to …

New Study: Almost 40% of Parents Have Disenrolled Their Children —At Least Until It’s Safe.

Civis Analytics has been doing national research (with deep dives in Florida, Washington, Texas, Ohio, and New York) on the social, economic, and educational effects of COVID-19 in America. The research was funded by the Gates Foundation. Below are the educational results. 39.7% of parents of K-12 students across the US say that they have disenrolled their children from the school they were originally supposed to attend this year, in response to school reopening plans. …

NJEA Makes Its Bullying Explicit in a Letter to Superintendents: Shut Down Schools or Else …

Sunlight Policy Center of New Jersey received a copy of a letter sent by a NJEA county association president to the superintendents in the county.  The letter confirms that NJEA and its members are actively seeking to block in-person instruction across the state.  In so doing, the NJEA seeks to arrogate to itself authority that it does not possess.  The NJEA wants to impose its will on these school districts: the children, the parents, the administrators, …

Letter From Lakewood Attorney to Union Reps Re: Teacher Requests for Remote Instruction

This is a letter from Lakewood School Board attorney Michael Inzelbuch, sent last night to Jennifer Raike, who represents Ocean County local teacher unions, and  Keith Waldman, an attorney with Selikoff & Cohen who represents the Lakewood Education Association and the New Jersey Education Association. Inzelbucch is responding to LEA’s request for a compromise between union members’ health concerns (see here) and district demands that students attend school 5 days a week for full days. (In …