Who Is in the Driver’s Seat: NJEA Leaders or Phil Murphy?

Two weeks ago Governor Phil Murphy was the guest speaker at Rider University’s Rebovich Institute for Politics’ “Governing New Jersey” series.* As reported by always-reliable journalist Lea Kahn, Murphy listed three educational priorities: 1)“fully funding the pension system;” 2)”bringing health care costs down — particularly, the percentage that teachers must contribute toward their health insurance premium;”  and 3) reversing “the shocking diminution in the number of future teachers in the pipeline” while making NJ “number …

Ed Richardson (Very Quietly) Out as NJEA Executive Director.

This is a guest post by Michael Lilley, Founder and President of the Sunlight Policy Center of New Jersey, which seeks to educate residents on the way NJEA “uses their tax dollars against their own interests, secures benefits for the few over the many, and blocks needed reforms.” This was originally published on SPCNJ’s website. This month’s NJEA Review revealed that Ed Richardson is no longer the executive director of the NJEA, having been replaced by another long-time …

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 …

Murphy’s Track Record of Appointments Is Lousy, Especially in Education. What’s Up With That?

“I don’t talk to fucking Jews,” Dye told the New Jersey Globe during a very brief telephone interview.  “Get the fuck out of here.” That’s Jeffrey Dye, the latest hiring  embarrassment for the Murphy Administration. Dye was  gifted a job in the state Department of Labor & Workforce Development even though, according to Politico, he “made numerous anti-Semitic posts on Facebook.”   Oh, by the way, Dye is also President of the Passaic branch of …

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 …

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 …

What Do NJ’s Pension Crisis, Lakewood Public Schools, and the Murphy-Sweeney Feud Have in Common?

There’s lots of coverage today on the New Jersey State Legislature’s rewrite of the Governor’s budget. Murphy included a millionaire’s tax and $250 million in property tax relief (which comes out to about 10 bucks a month per household). The Legislature’s version nixes the millionaire’s tax, gives an extra $50 million to NJ Transit, and another $50 million for special education. However, two other items deleted from Murphy’s proposal by the Legislature are getting little …

Is NJEA the Ventriloquist and Governor Murphy the Dummy?

Once upon a time the New Jersey Education Association was about education and professional development for teachers. But NJ’s primary teachers’ union has undergone a shift and, according to a new report out by Michael Lilley, “today’s NJEA is all politics.” This shift ties directly to the current shenanigans at the NJ Department of Education, which I’ve been covering for about nine months (complete NJ DOE Watch series here) and recent confirmation that  NJEA “contributed …

New Jersey Teachers’ Pension System Is Broken, Unless You Work In the Front Office. Also, Why Are Sex Offenders Receiving Pensions?

Last week I wrote about the disparities in pay between rank and file educators and those who work in the offices of NJEA, N.J.’s largest teachers union. There are two parts to today’s post: First, the disparities in annual compensation between teachers and NJEA front office employees extend to disparities in retirement security.  Second, there’s a long list of teachers and administrators who, by just about any standard, shouldn’t collect pensions at all and contribute …

As N.J. Governor, Legislature & Teachers Union Wrangle Over PARCC, the Fate of 170,000 High School Seniors Hangs in the Balance

Check out my new column in The 74. It starts here: Phil Murphy won his New Jersey governorship in 2017 by promising progressive action on items as varied as a $15 minimum wage, raising taxes on millionaires, increasing gun control, and fully funding schools and teacher pensions. Another of those promises, as he vowed during his keynote at the 2016 New Jersey Education Association convention, was to “scrap PARCC day one.” Now this anti-Chris Christie …