Correction to Betsy DeVos from a Public School Teacher: Reports of Common Core’s Demise Are Grossly Exaggerated

Trump’s Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, in what Chalkbeat calls “some of her most expansive public remarks since taking over the department last year,” slammed the Common Core State Standards during a speech at the American Enterprise Institute. The Common Core is a set of state-led course objectives created by educators under the auspices of the National Governors Association. Said DeVos, “Federally mandated assessments. Federal money. Federal standards. All originated in Washington, and none solved the problem. Too …

NJ Charter School Association’s Statement on Phil Murphy’s Nominee for Education Commissioner

Position Statement: Governor-elect Murphy’s Nomination of Dr. Lamont Repollet Attribution: New Jersey Charter Schools Association’s Nicole Cole, Esq. January 12, 2018 The New Jersey Charter Schools Association applauds Governor-elect Murphy’s nomination of  Dr. Lamont Repollet as the next DOE Commissioner. Dr. Repollet is an experienced and committed educator who has served New Jersey’s children with distinction as an educator, administrator, school leader, and board member. We appreciate that Dr. Repollet brings to the position the …

If We’re Really About Leveling the Academic Playing Field, We Need to Prioritize the Arts

(This is a guest post by Aggie Sung, a certified early education teacher whose passion is in children’s books that teach young learners to express themselves through art, words, and motion. Her books include “Mommy Duck.” She resides in Princeton, N.J.) Once upon a time, standardized tests were given to adults from all walks of life to prove themselves worthy of certain jobs that they would otherwise not be able to access. These original tests …

GETTING REAL ABOUT EDUCATION: A Conversation With Black Parents, Teachers and Students

My colleague and friend Ikhlas Saleem writes, What happens when you get Black teachers, parents and students in a room with no talking points, no filter, just honest conversation? Well, as a Black baby raised in the ’90s would say, “it got real.” We recently invited more than 40 participants to share the joys and frustrations of being Black in America’s public schools. Their conversations were moderated by a few education advocates we invited from around the …

Mark Weber, Bruce Baker, and Thomas Jefferson

Mark Weber, who blogs at Jersey Jazzman, has lately been focused on a study he wrote with his Rutgers professor Bruce Baker that tries to undermine a Harvard analysis of the impact of education reform in Newark. (Here are links to my views of the Harvard study and the Weber/Baker study.)  Quick recap: The Harvard professors show that, post-reforms,  Newark schools are providing better results for students, especially in English Language Arts (ELA); students’ year-to-year …

In Newark, Every Teacher Is Sacred

Every sperm is sacred. Every sperm is great. If a sperm is wasted, God gets quite irate. Does anyone else  remember that ditty “Every Sperm is Sacred” from the Monty Python movie called “The Meaning of Life”? When I’m feeling most foul about teacher tenure laws, this song becomes my earworm. And Monday was one of those days because I read Leslie Brody’s coverage in the Wall Street Journal about chronic teacher absenteeism in Newark. …

Lakewood Fiscal Monitor: “This Entire District, When it Comes to the Staff, I Would Say It’s a Culture of Fear.”

Once again Lakewood Public Schools has failed QSAC, formally known as the Quality Single Accountability Continuum. That’s a mouthful but it’s pretty simple: every three years districts are rated — both by themselves and the state — on five areas of competency: Instruction and Program; Fiscal Management; Governance; Operations; and Personnel. In order to pass, districts have to get an 80 percent on every section and if they meet that mark they are categorized as …

Murphy’s Names Charter Leader Connie Sanchez to Education Transition Team

Unity Charter School in Morristown, NJ just announced that its Executive Director, Connie Sanchez, has been named to New Jersey Governor Elect Phil Murphy’s transition team as part of the Education, Access, and Opportunity Transition Advisory Committee. The Morristown charter is a K-8 public school of choice  that was established and chartered by the state of NJ in 1998, and is currently in its 20th year of operation. Unity Charter School Board of Trustees President …

Charter Schools Closing in on State Averages on Third Year of PARCC Testing: Newark Charters Outperform State Average in Math

New Jersey charter schools continue to narrow the achievement gap on the third year of Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exams based on data released this fall from the New Jersey Department of Education for the 2016-17 school year. “The release of PARCC scores confirms what we have known about New Jersey’s charter schools: they are closing the achievement gap for economically disadvantaged students and in some cases, outperforming the …

School Choice is Improving Prospects for Newark Schoolchildren But It’s Not Doing Much for Weber/Baker’s Analytical Acumen

In Wednesday’s NJ Spotlight, Mark Weber takes aim at two recent editorials, mine and Michele Mason’s, which cover different aspects of recent public school improvements in Newark, N.J.’s largest school district. Weber also uses the editorial to hype a new report he wrote with Rutgers Professor Bruce Baker (his dissertation advisor), published by the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) called “School District Reform in Newark and Impact of the Newark Education Reforms. The NEPC report by Weber/Baker, …