Latest News on New Jersey’s (Rapidly Changing) School Reopening Plans.

It’s not a secret how all this should work. When anticipating prolonged school closures, states need to set clear expectations for the quality of learning models and ensure that all students are equipped with the technology necessary to access online instruction. New Jersey, particularly at the level of the State Department of Education, has failed in every way. And now, a month before school reopenings, a soon-to-be-proposed Assembly bill —that may best protect students and …

With Repollet Gone, Murphy Fesses Up to the Vastness of NJ’s Digital Divide

When Lamont Repollet was New Jersey’s Commissioner of Education and schools closed in mid-March, he told districts to “get creative” about closing the digital divide and fund their own technology. He claimed that “only” 89,000 students (out of 1.4 million K-12 enrollment) lacked either a one-on-one device like a laptop or iPad, and/or access to broadband internet Gov. Phil Murphy uttered not a peep. Yet at last Murphy is coming clean about the real numbers. …

Betsy DeVos Leaves Low-Income Students Behind: Example, Lakewood

In 1997 Michael Kinsley wrote, “the scandal isn’t the illegal behavior–the scandal is what’s legal.” He was referring to allegations about fund-raising corruption in the Clinton Administration but he might have been writing about Lakewood Public Schools, at least under the federal oversight of Trump’s Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos. Why? (And why do I write about Lakewood so much?) Because this Ocean County district is an emblem of how inequity permeates New Jersey’s educational infrastructure …

NJ Senate Education Committee Rips DOE’s Digital Divide Failures

“I’m so angry right now that I’m trying to contain myself,” Ruiz, D-Essex, told state Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet during an Education Committee hearing. “If we don’t see 100% of families connected before September, I gotta tell you I don’t even know what is going to come out of my mouth.” This was the scene at yesterday’s Senate Education Committee hearing as Repollet informed members that the State Department of Education had made no progress …

NJ Education Committee Chairs Ruiz and Lampitt Say State DOE Needs to Step it Up Now

Wednesday I wrote about the webinar “Learning from NJ’s Public Charter Schools during COVID-19” but I left out the opening discussion with Senator Teresa Ruiz and Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt, Chairs of the Senate and Assembly Education Committees, who both provided thoughtful comments about New Jersey’s educational crisis. First let’s focus on Ruiz’s concerns about the role of the NJ Department of Education. After moderator Harry Lee, head of the NJ Public Charter School Association, asked …

Senator Ruiz amd Assemblywoman Lampitt Join Public Charter School Leaders To Share Best Practices for Home Instruction: Sign Up Now!

For teachers, parents, and administrators struggling to meet children’s educational needs during the coronavirus pandemic, here’s an opportunity to learn about best practices: Next Tuesday, May 19th, from 11 am to 12:15, the New Jersey Public Charter School Association is hosting a webinar to share innovative distance learning practices from schools that are knocking it out of the park. For families and public schools — both within and without New Jersey — this is a …

100,000 Students in New Jersey Are Cut Off From Remote Instruction: Murphy and Repollet Say “Let Them Eat Cake.”

In mid-March President Trump told a group of governors they were on their own in searching for respirators to help those stricken with the coronavirus. “Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment — try getting it yourselves. We will be backing you, but try getting it yourselves. Point of sales, much better, much more direct if you can get it yourself. This reminds me of the 90,000-100,000 New Jersey students — disproportionately low-income and of color—who …

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 …