Two Teacher Union Presidents, Per These Videos, Excuse the Inexcusable

The following is a letter sent by Patricia Morgan of JerseyCAN and Shelley Skinner of Better Education for Kids to Senator Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex), Chair of the State Senate Education Committee, regarding two videos released last week. The first (below) features the President of the Hamilton Education Association and the second (below that) features the President of the Union City Education Association. Both expose what Morgan and Skinner describe as a teacher disciplinary system “vulnerable …

“You Broke Our Dreams.” Latina Mom “Talks the Truth” to Lakewood’s School Board and Lawyer

“You promised to help my community but that’s not the truth,” said Alejandra Morales of the advocacy group La Voz Latina to the Lakewood Board of Education and board attorney Michael Inzelbuch. “How do you know what’s going on in the schools? You don’t have children there. I want to talk the truth. Now you’re asking for money from the state and my children don’t have a teacher.” It was a chaotic scene during the …

This May Be The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship: A District Embraces a Charter School

Just one year ago the Hoboken Public Schools District (HPSD) was locked in a years-long battle with one of the state’s most successful charter schools, the Hoboken Dual Language Charter School, or HoLa. On Friday the superintendent of Hoboken Public Schools joined HoLa for a celebration of an honor awarded to only five public schools in the state. What a difference a year makes. Over the last two years the HPSD has spent hundreds of thousands …

Sheesh, SCHI: A Civil Rights Complaint, Plus the Director of Lakewood Special Ed School Accused of Stealing Million Dollars from the District

Last week Rabbi Osher Eisemann, the founder of the School for Hidden Intelligence (SCHI), previously arrested for mere money-laundering, is now facing corruption charges. A year ago the State said he stole $630,000 in tuition paid by Lakewood Public Schools to SCHI, a state-approved private special education that educates almost exclusively ultra-Orthodox children.. (Lakewood schools’ monthly bill to SCHI is $1.8 million for 200 students’ tuition.) This new indictment, says the Asbury Park Press, “increases the sum …

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 …

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 …