The Votes Are In: New Jersey’s Teachers Union Really Blew It

The leaders of New Jersey’s primary teachers union, the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA), have egg on their faces. In a triumph of vindictiveness over intelligence, the leadership of the richest lobbying group in the state decided to spurn State Senator Steve Sweeney and back a Trump-loving, climate change-denying, xenophobic, little-known councilman named Fran Grenier. On Tuesday, Sweeney, running for re-election in New Jersey’s District 3, beat Grenier by 18 points. Why would union leaders …

The Lakewood Vaad Says, “Vote For Murphy, He’s a Mensch”

To no one’s surprise, the Lakewood Vaad, a group of eleven ultra-Orthodox men who control all educational, political, budgetary, and construction activity in this rapidly-growing city, has endorsed Phil Murphy for governor. (See here and here for background.) According to the Asbury Park Press, this announcement comes two weeks after Murphy visited Lakewood for a fundraiser and  “mixer” with 50 ultra-Orthodox men. I’ve printed the endorsement below. First, a few comments. The Vaad, which typically …

Announcing (drumroll, please) the #GraduateReadyNJ Initiative!

We know what it takes for all New Jersey students to graduate ready for a successful future, whether college or career. While many students and schools in New Jersey are successful, data shows that: 70% of those in New Jersey who enroll in two-year colleges and 30% in traditional four-year colleges take remedial classes. Less than half of New Jersey students are at grade level in reading and math.  The Pentagon estimates that 71% of Americans aged 17 to 24 would fail to qualify for military service. …

When We Look Closer at the Results in Newark, the Arrow Is Unquestionably Pointed Up

(This is a guest post by Newark Superintendent Chris Cerf.  Prior to becoming superintendent, he was appointed by Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey to serve as the state’s Commissioner of Education, beginning January 2011. As Acting Commissioner, he oversees 2,500 public schools, 1.4 million students, and 110,000 teachers in over 600 school districts.‪ This was originally published at Education Post.) Neerav Kingsland, in my estimation, is one of the premier thinkers (and doers) in …

Newark Signatories Put Adults Before Kids

Nostalgia is a wonderful thing, except when  treasured memories are delusional. Which pretty much describes yesterday’s op-ed in NJ Spotlight signed by State Senator Ronald Rice Sr., Newark School Board member Leah Owens, Newark Teachers Union president John Abeigon, and other Newark luminaries. In this piece the writers lament that they were “disenfranchised by the state takeover of the public school system for 22 years” and — even worse —  “boldly disrespected during the past …

In Princeton, Says This Special Needs Mom, A Choice Between Schools is No Choice At All

(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.) I live in an illustrious town, Princeton, New Jersey. It is home to Gownies likes Joyce Carol Oates. It’s also home to regular Townies like me. But this highly educated, self-proclaimed democratic town with …

NJEA Leaders Speak Stupid to Truth

Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe. That’s Albert Einstein, who was just proven correct about the existence of gravitational waves. He’s also correct about stupidity. The evidence is  NJEA’s profligate effort to sabotage New Jersey Senator Steve Sweeney’s re-election campaign because the Senate President did the math and realized that it would be irresponsible to hold a vote on fully funding pensions, currently $50 billion in …

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 …