What the Heck Is Going on at the DOE’s Special Education Division? Or, Some (Verified) Leaks from the Inside.

Ever since I published this post (and this follow-up) recapping layoffs of 40 people from the New Jersey Department of Education, a process a manager there described  as callous” and “sloppily done,”  I occasionally receive information from former and current employees who report on dysfunction, disarray, and deteriorating morale. I read their comments gratefully (if sadly) but don’t considering posting unless I can verify with a second reliable source. After all, these are people’s lives. …

No Matter What Anyone Says, the Money Ought to Follow the Kid Regardless of What Kind of Public School They Choose

This is a post by my friend and colleague Zachary Wright, a national finalist for the United States Department of Education’s School Ambassador Fellowship. Zach is an assistant professor of practice at Relay Graduate School of Education serving Philadelphia and Camden. Prior to that, he was the 12th-grade world literature and AP literature teacher at Mastery Charter School Shoemaker Campus, teaching the school’s first eight graduating classes. I am punching above my weight. I am no …

Jasmine Morrison, Newark parent: “With Rigor Comes Endless Possibilities!”

In the interest of giving NJ Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet and Gov. Murphy some (unsolicited) help in their Charter School Program Act Review (which, according to the web page, has closed off registration for community focus groups), I’ve been interviewing some parents about their public school experiences, both traditional and charter. This is an interview with Jasmine Morrison. You can see the first interview here. Scroll to the bottom for a video! Laura: Jasmine, as a …

Tafshier Cosby-Thomas: “Parents are Making Choices for Their Children. Why Would Anyone Get in the Way of That?”

Last week I had the opportunity to interview long-time Newark resident Tafshier Cosby-Thomas on her experiences with the city’s public schools: traditional, magnet, and charter. While Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet, under instructions from Governor Phil Murphy, takes a “pause” on authorizing charter expansion in order to conduct his “review,” let’s pierce the smog of special interests and politicking around this hot-button issue and actually talk to parents whose children’s educational trajectory rides on decisions made …

Just Picture These Scholars Tomorrow! KIPP Joins with District Schools To Celebrate Future Heroes

Yesterday KIPP Seek Academy students enjoyed a Halloween parade with children from two district schools, George Washington Carver Elementary and Bruce Street School. But this was not your typical Halloween celebration! Instead of ghosts and goblins, 1,100 children dressed in costumes that represented their hopes and dreams for the future. According to KIPP, spectators caught a glimpse of “our future police officers, doctors, teachers and even Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Astronaut Mae Jemison.” After the …

Improving Special Education is a Priority for Newark Charters

Mark Rynone is Executive Director of the NJ Special Education Collaborative. Since its inception in 2013, the National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools has provided support to charter schools in Newark. The focus of our work has been to improve the capacity of charter schools across the city to ensure that they are equipped to provide high quality supports and services to students with a wide range of learning differences. In 2016, we …

Newark Charters Make Great Progress and Eliminate the Achievement Gap!

Donna Siminski is Director of Policy and Advocacy for the New Jersey Charter School Association with a focus on the policy issues impacting the the state’s charter schools. Donna works with members, charter families, and charter school professionals to advocate for high-quality charter schools and the children they serve. On Friday, the New Jersey Department of Education released PARCC results for the 2017-18 school year. For the first time, Newark charter students in grades 3-8 …

NJ Department of Education Watch: Another One Bites the Dust

Friday morning I put up a post that describes five ways that the New Jersey Department of Education is undermined by questionable hires and actions. These incidents appear to be panders to special interests by Governor Murphy and/or Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet, resulting in a DOE bereft of transparency, moral integrity, and effectiveness. The majority of these actions are personnel appointments. I should have waited until Friday afternoon to publish the post because there’s now …

Five Ways That New Jersey’s Education System Is Being Undermined

Sue me. I was an English major. When I think about the state of the Murphy Administration’s Department of Education, a host of literary allusions sweeps over me: Faust selling his soul to Mephistopheles in exchange for power; Dionysus gifting Midas with the golden touch, thus cursing him with starvation; Macbeth’s moral compass eclipsed by blind ambition. Okay.  I’m being melodramatic. Yet let us look at five ways in which the Governor’s tendency to pander …

NEW JERSEY TEACHERS HAVE ASKED – WHERE DO MY UNION DUES GO? WE FOUND THE FACTS…. AND IT SURE LOOKS UGLY.

This is a guest post from New Jersey Education Watch. Since New Jersey Education Watch’s recent launch, we have been inundated with stories, questions, and concerns from New Jersey teachers regarding the statewide leadership of the NJEA. One demand has clearly come through —teachers throughout New Jersey want a better understanding of how they benefit from their dues – is the money being well spent. So, let’s get to the facts… By law, the NJEA …