Here’s What Matt Barnum Gets Wrong About Education Reform in Newark

Maybe it’s because I’m at the New Jersey Charter School Association annual conference and last evening heard Norm Atkins, founder of Uncommon Schools, remark that during Newark’s most recent open enrollment cycle half of all Newark kindergarten parents ranked Uncommon as their first choice and listened to his partner Jamey Verrilli describe school choice as a quest for educational justice. Maybe because I just spent the lunch hour listening to charter school teachers eagerly compare notes on …

This Mother Feels “Blessed” To Have Her Children in a N.J. Charter School: a New Report Tells Us Why

Last week wrote about the New Jersey Charter School Association’s new analysis, “20 Years of New Jersey Charter Schools: A State of the Sector Report,” from the perspective of the struggles of Paterson’s traditional school sector. That quick overview is just a tease of the wealth of data available from NJCSA, which begins its annual convention this morning. (I’m on my way!) I urge readers to check out the full report, which “demonstrates that, overall, New …

What is Driving Newark Students’ Academic Growth? Answers Here, Via New Harvard Analysis

Researchers at Harvard University’s Center for Education Policy Research (CEPR) are releasing a  study today called “Assessing the Impact of the Newark Education Reforms.” This report analyzes student academic growth since Mark Zuckerberg’s $100 million Facebook donation in 2011, matched by another $100 million raised by U.S. Senator (then Newark mayor) Cory Booker. The researchers — Thomas J. Kane (Harvard), Douglas Staiger (Dartmouth), Beth Schueler (Harvard), Whitney Kozakowski (Harvard), and Mark Chin (Harvard) — according …

“Significant Reforms” Drive Newark Students’ Steady Academic Gains

We are very encouraged by results that show our students continue to make steady gains, especially when comparing their results to students in other cities. This data shows us that while there remains progress to be made, thousands more Newark students are reading and doing math on grade level today than just a few years ago, and that these students have a better chance at attending college and pursuing a meaningful career when they leave …

Happy 20th Anniversary to New Jersey’s Charter Schools! A New Report Parses the Quality of the Sector

Twenty years ago New Jersey opened its first charter school. To mark the occasion, the New Jersey Charter School Association (NJCSA) released an analysis this morning called “Twenty Years of Charter Schools: A State of the Sector Report.” I’ll be diving into this report in more detail but one aspect is particularly timely: the state of the charter school sector in Paterson Last week an article in North Jersey  noted this: “more than 98 percent …

Was Lakewood Board of Education’s Hiring of Attorney Inzelbuch Legal? NJ Attorney General Says “Maybe Not.”

The letter below was sent to me by a kind reader who wishes to remain anonymous. This letter was procured from Lakewood Public Schools under the Freedom of Information Act. It is addressed to Lakewood’s superintendent Laura Winters and Board President Moshe Bender, and references the Board’s recent hiring of attorney Michael Inzelbuch at $600,000 per year, plus numerous benefits. For background, see this post where  I catalogue the Board’s disregard of the rules of …

“You Have to Ask — What is Going on Here?’’ The Canary is Dead in Lakewood

I’ve written much about Lakewood’s practice of privileging ultra-Orthodox Jewish schoolchildren, particularly those with special needs, over the school district’s almost entirely Latino and Black enrollment. This culture of inequity extends beyond public education services.   The school district’s practice of devoting disproportional funds to non-public school students who attend the 130 or so Jewish day schools and special education private schools that accept only Jewish students is merely the canary in the coal mine, an …

“I was never hungry in Nigeria.”— Three NJ Teachers Risk Everything To Save Their Students

(This is a guest post from my pal and colleague Erika Sanzi. It was originally posted on Erika’s blog, Good School Hunting.) The Nigerian boys arrived in Paterson to win games, feed a local basketball machine and parlay their talents into a better life. When their world collapsed in scandal amid allegations of human trafficking and cheating, it took 3 teachers who risked everything to save them. “All right. Give me a hug and let’s get the hell …

“If You’re Not a White Boy, You’re Less Likely to Be Diagnosed with Autism”

The National Autism Coordinator of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently submitted  a report to Congress called  “Young Adults and Transitioning Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder.” You can wade through the whole thing here but the conclusions will come as no surprise to parents with children and young adults on the autism spectrum: our country’s system for providing support is inadequate, inequitable, fragmented, confusing, and in “acute need” of reform. Any parent …

“I’m Embarrassed By My Union”: NJ Teachers Respond to NJEA’s Vendetta Against Steve Sweeney

As many (if not all) of you know, NJEA leaders have made an ill-considered decision to throw their clout behind Fran Grenier, who is running against Senate President Steve Sweeney in this November’s election.  Grenier is a Conservative Republican who backs Trump, as well as Christie’s plan to flat-fund every student, regardless of need, at $6,599 per year.. Sweeney is a lifelong Democrat and an officer with the iron-worker’s union who boasts a long list …