LILLEY: NJ Teachers’ Pension Plan Still in Deep Trouble, Projected to be Insolvent in 20 YearsMarch 31, 2023
GOODMAN: Let’s Rethink College. Everyone Doesn’t Have to Go and It Shouldn’t Cost So MuchApril 3, 2023
When Gov. Murphy’s Education Commissioner, Angelica Allen-McMillan, defended the state’s school funding formula and its allocation to Lakewood Public Schools, one of her arguments, besides (slightly) rising test scores, was that the conditions of school buildings were much better than in the old Abbott v. Burke cases, which led to mandatory compensatory funding. The state lost this particular legal battle, in part because Allen-McMillan claimed there were no “stark deficiencies in school facilities,” like in Abbott districts, an argument that carried no truck with Administrative Law Judge Susan Scarola.
Lakewood students agree: Maria Torres, a Lakewood High School junior with a 3.9 grade point average, says that her her math class has “such a strong mold odor it gives her headaches.” In her Spanish class, the classroom is so hot, she says, that “one student was overcome by the heat. The ceiling also leaks: She’s counted more than 40 dark spots on the ceiling where water drips. ‘Every day we’ve got to position our desks away from the leaks, so that our notebooks and papers don’t get wet,’” she said. “It’s been like this since September. We have been bringing this up to the principal multiple times, but nothing changes.’”
Earlier this week the Asbury Park Press reported that over a dozen students showed up at the school board meeting to complain not only about wretched facilities but also low academic expectations, poor communication between administrators and students, and unfilled teacher slots..
- Torres: “Lakewood doesn’t teach to its ability and it’s affecting us tremendously. I fear that I won’t be able to have the knowledge that I need for college.”
- Jonathan Flores, who is enrolled in a program that’s supposed to allow him to get his high school diploma and community college diploma simultaneously: “We don’t have teachers for many dual enrollment courses. If I want to actually get my associates degree, I’ll have to pay for courses at Ocean County College. They promised us an associate’s degree program that now I’m not able to enjoy.”
- Raul Castillo: ““A big problem that I noticed is the lack of communication.”
- Perla Castillo told the school board that sophomores didn’t have a science teacher until this month and Anthony Trujillo said “many ninth-graders had no English language teacher for over a semester…it’s chaotic in here.”
(Note: According to the latest standardized test scores, 28% of Lakewood ninth-grades are proficient in reading and 31% are proficient in algebra.)
What was the board’s response? Board attorney Michael Inzelbuch, the board’s spokesman, and board president Moshe Bender told the students to write them a letter with their concerns.
How much mold could you clear out with Inzelbuch’s $1 million/year compensation? Just asking.