If Murphy and Repollet Were Really “Progressive,” They’d Care About the Prospects of Students in Districts Like Newark.

Two weeks ago New Jersey’s NAEP scores came out and they weren’t pretty. These national tests, often referred to as the “gold standard” and “The Nation’s Report Card,” showed that our fourth-graders’ reading proficiency dropped more than any other state in the country, that eighth-graders saw significant declines as well, and that we’ve made no progress in closing achievement gaps. At about the same time as the NAEP score release, Chalkbeat reported that Education Law …

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 …

Murphy Manages To Deliver What Nobody Wants.

Governor Phil Murphy loves to talk about how he’s moving New Jersey forward but in the world of K-12 education he’s intent on moving us back ten years. Remember the days of the High School Proficiency Assessments (HSPA), those basic skills tests that former Education Commissioner Lucille Davy, who served under Jon Corzine, deemed “8th grade level”? The assessments so easy to pass that our graduation rate was sky-high and first-year college students, deceived by …

With New Student Test Results Released, Repollet Tries to Turn New Jersey Public Schools into One Big Asbury Park.

Yesterday Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet presented the State Board of Education with last Spring’s standardized test scores. NJ Spotlight describes the results as “leveling off of gains under the old PARCC tests, with only about half the students passing the math and language-arts exams.” The Star-Ledger concluded, “many New Jersey students are still struggling to make the grade, and statewide gains in test scores are starting to level off.”  In our fifth year of testing …

If Your Kid Is a Ninth or Tenth Grader, He or She May Have to Take a Test on a Course Taken Three Years Ago. Unless This Happens.

Let’s say you’re a New Jersey parent of a current 10th grader. Your child, like one-third of New Jersey students, took Algebra 1 in 8th grade and, of course, is taking 10th grade English Language Arts right now. Guess what? Next year there is a very strong likelihood that your kid is going to have to take a standardized test in Algebra 1, a course he took three years previously, as well as repeat the …

Believe It or Not, Progressive Lawmakers Support Standardized Testing in NJ! (Take That, Ron Swanson.)

True confession: I started writing a post a few days ago on the demise of an important piece of legislation, Senate Bill 3381, that would allow New Jersey high schools to use new diploma qualifying tests that are actually aligned with what kids learn in school. But then I junked the draft. Why? Because that progressive new bill was a reaction to a state appellate court ruling that New Jersey couldn’t use new high school standardized …

Update: Senate Committee Gives a Thumbs-Up to Equity!

Just out from Patricia Morgan, Executive Director of JerseyCAN, and Shelley Skinner, Executive Director of Better Education for Kids, regarding Senate Bill 3381, a legislative fix that preserves the integrity of NJ high school diplomas. (See here for background, reported earlier today) FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 7, 2019 Education Advocacy Groups Applaud Senate Advancement of Legislation Protecting New Jersey’s Graduation Requirement Trenton, NJ –Better Education for Kids (B4K) and JerseyCAN are pleased to see the advancement …

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 …

Legislative Superheroes Come Up With A PARCC Fix!

Throughout Phil Murphy’s slipshod attempts to eliminate PARCC assessments I’ve always wondered whether the State Legislature would take some sort of action to maintain this state’s quest for higher standards.  After all, we’re lucky to have some educationally-literate members in both the Assembly and Senate who understand the importance to families for regularly measuring student proficiency, and not just because federal law requires annual assessments in math and reading in grades 3-8, once in grades …

NJ Court Rules PARCC Violates State Law So Now We Can Pretend Again That All Our Schools Are Great. Trenton Students Beg To Differ.

An article in Tuesday’s Trentonian recounts interviews with Trenton Central High School students, almost all Black,  Hispanic, and poor, who are stuck in a district where they feel unsafe and uneducated. Simultaneously, an appellate court ruled Monday that the New Jersey Department of Education’s regulations governing PARCC assessments “are in violation of laws passed by the Legislature.” Those particular laws say that high school diploma qualifying tests must be given in 11th grade but the …