How do PARCC Tests Match Up with “Gold Standard” Assessments?

New Jersey is celebrating its national dominance in academic achievement. The new National Assessment of Educational Progress scores (NAEP) just came out — these tests, given to a sampling of 4th and 8th grade students in reading and math every two years (as well as other subjects), are regarded as the “gold standard” for measuring student growth and proficiency — and N.J. students are at the head of the pack.  Acting State Education Commissioner Lamont …

Rouhanifard Resigns: What’s Next for Camden City Public Schools?

Today Camden Superintendent Paymon Rouhanifard announced his resignation. I’ve followed the trajectory of Camden Public Schools since I started this blog ten years ago and I’m sad about the loss of this gifted leader who relentlessly prioritizes the needs of schoolchildren above institutional stagnation. But I’m also confident that Camden’s rise in academic achievement will continue because Rouhanifard’s reforms are deeply entrenched throughout the city. For families who see the difference five years makes, there’s …

Sometimes Timing is Everything: A New Program from Walton Family Foundation Offers Help For Charter Schools

The State of New Jersey is building a new school for Trenton Central High students and staff at the cost of  $117 million because Trenton is an Abbott district and state funds cover all costs of construction and renovation. Less than one mile away on Chambers Street, the International Academy of Trenton Charter School (IAT), as I wrote last week, is on the verge of closure. One reason that the Department of Education is rescinding …

I’m Celebrating How Newark Took Charter Schools From the Fringe to the Center

(Michele Mason is executive director of the Newark Charter School Fund, founded in 2008 to help provide all Newark students with access to great schools in collaboration with district efforts to improve the quality of Newark public education.) All parents deserve access to a high-quality school that nurtures and supports their children. But despite best intentions, many Newark parents continue to struggle finding great schools in the neighborhoods where they live. Many children fall victim …

An Open Letter from NJEA Member to NJEA Leaders

Dear NJEA leadership, My name is Andre Halaw; I teach English at South Brunswick High School and for the past 17 years I have been a proud NJEA member. Until now. Alongside my fellow public educators, for the past eight years I have endured Chris Christie’s attacks on public education, patiently waiting for a change in state leadership and educational policy. I voted for Governor Murphy and was optimistic that he would address the gross budget inequities …

How Deep Does Charter School Animus Run in Trenton? Ask the Head of the Trenton Teachers Union.

State unions are typically united. When the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) speaks, it speaks for all of its local bargaining units. But a recent series of events that revolves around a charter school in Trenton has disrupted that unanimity. The charter school that has fomented this atypical public display of discord is the International Academy of Trenton Charter School (IAT), now in its fourth year of operation with 700 students, grades K-5. After a …

Six Ways in Which Lakewood is “Special”; Or, What Happens When Local Control Runs Wild

I’ve been thinking about local control lately and the ways in which it contributes, both locally and nationally, to public education inequities. New Jersey, of course, is local control run wild —  late Assemblyman Alan Karcher called us an exemplar of  “multiple municipal madness” —  with our 590 school districts and 565 municipalities. Every attempt to even out disparities in funding and affordable housing fails miserably because no amount of money — think of Asbury …

Governor Murphy, This Is No Time for a Time Out on Charter Schools!

(Joanna Garnett Raeppold is a Jersey City resident and mother of two. Her sons are in Kindergarten and 4th grade at Learning Community Charter School. This first appeared in NJ Spotlight.) I am a proud charter school parent who voted for Gov. Phil Murphy. I support many of the governor’s key priorities and I’m excited for the changes he plans to make in New Jersey, including increasing funding to our public schools, fixing the inequality …

We Are #CharterStrong!

State Street in Trenton was hopping today! With the Senate and Assembly both in session on this bright chilly morning, NRA members gathered around the War Memorial to protest new gun control proposals, Lakewood attorney Michael Inzelbuch bussed in students to press the state for more money for non-public students, and Asbury Park residents gathered to support the confirmation of their former superintendent Lamont Repollet, nominated for State Education Commissioner. But the loudest and largest crowd …

Princeton Palace: This is What’s Wrong with Local Control

When my husband Dennis and I were getting ready to move from upstate New York to a new home within a reasonable commuting distance to his office in Manhattan, we zeroed in on Mercer County in Central Jersey. After all, you can get to Penn Station in an hour on an express NJ Transit train, we’d be reasonably close to my family, and housing prices were more affordable than, say, Westchester or Connecticut. Of course, …