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 …

Michael Inzelbuch Responds to NJEA’s Charges That Lakewood Is Violating Social-Distancing Orders.

Earlier this week I published a letter from a law firm representing NJEA, sent to Lakewood Public Schools Superintendent Laura Winters and cc’d to the president of the local union, the president of the Lakewood School Board (Moshe Bender), and Michael Inzelbuch, attorney for Lakewood Public Schools district. The letter demands, in reference to the one-on-one evaluations currently underway in the district for students with disabilities, that Lakewood “cease and desist its blatant violation of  …

Breaking News: NJEA Lawyers Demand Lakewood Schools Stop Violating State Social Distancing Orders

Last week the law firm Selikoff & Cohen sent a seven-page letter on behalf of NJEA and the union’s local Lakewood arm to Superintendent Laura Winters demanding that the district “cease and desist its blatant violation of  violation of Executive Orders 104 and 107 and the guidance issued by the New Jersey Department of Education on school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic.” The letter is cc’d to the president of the local union, the president …

Seven Tips for Parents of Children With Disabilities During School Closures.

The National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools just released its “top tips” for parents of students with disabilities during these endless school closures. Check it out! If you’re a parent whose world has been turned upside down by COVID-19, you’re certainly not alone. In the span of days as the virus spread, America’s parents took on a new role—co-teachers. And as students around the world have transitioned to remote learning, parents of students …

My Child with Dyslexia Won’t Be Your Statistic

Marilyn Muller is the mother of a 12 year-old child with dyslexia. She is a retired SmithBarney Financial Advisor turned full-time mom and accidental volunteer activist. Through her daily efforts she advocates for evidence-based literacy practices in public school classrooms for the equitable benefit of each vulnerable child. I didn’t lay in a hospital bed for 51 days to lose my only biological child to illiteracy. Yet I almost did. This isn’t supposed to happen because …

Tonight the Lakewood School Board Will Approve A Budget It Can’t Pay For.

Later today at its public meeting the Lakewood Board of Education will approve a budget of $204 million that assumes the state will kick in a loan of $60 million. In addition, the Board will request that Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet defer the repayment of prior year DOE loans. The Board will also approve attorney Michael Inzelbuch’s annual compensation of $750,000. A few notes: If the State approves the $60 million loan, Lakewood’s unpaid annual …

New Jersey DOE Issues Guidance on Special Education Waivers: Parents Get a Win!

Last night Peggy McDonald, who leads the New Jersey Department of Education’s oversight of students with disabilities, released the memo below concerning the 30 NJ school districts represented by the Machado Law Firm that were requiring parents to sign waivers in order for their children to receive remote special education services. (See my reaction here.) Parents were told they must waive their rights to due process, as well as their children’s rights to compensatory services …

We Can’t Use This Crisis To Abandon Our Most Complex Learners: Creative Solutions Abound

This post was written by Lindsay Jones ( President and CEO of National Center for Learning Disabilities), Erin Mote ( Executive Director of InnovateEDU), Lauren Morando Rhim ( Executive Director and Co-Founder of the National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools), and Eric Tucker (  Executive Director of Brooklyn Laboratory Charter Schools). It was first published at Fordham’s Flypaper. COVID-19 has delivered countless challenges for essential workers, from nurses and doctors risking their lives due …

Disability Advocates Fear Betsy DeVos Will Roll Back Students’ Educational Rights

In January 2017, during Betsy DeVos’s Senate confirmation hearing for her nomination by Donald Trump as U.S. Education Secretary, Senator Tim Kaine asked her a question about the rights of students with disabilities. She replied, “I think that is a matter that is best left to the states.” When Senator Maggie Hassan, who has a son with cerebral palsy, asked DeVos directly whether she understood that the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) is federal law …

For Students Who Struggle With Reading, This Mom of a Dyslexic Son Has Some COVID-19 Era Advice

This is a guest post by Debbie Meyer, a founding member of the Dyslexia (Plus) in Public Schools Task Force, a small group of community leaders working to help students with dyslexia and related language-based disabilities thrive in their neighborhood schools. This was first published at Education Post. For me, helping my son go from a bright but illiterate fourth-grader to a high school student who can read and write was an incredible full-time job. It was really hard …