All Signs Point To The Waning of the Opt-Out Movement: Just Look at Princeton

Princeton Regional Public Schools is the bellwether of the opt-out movement in New Jersey. The wealthy and mostly White district is the birthplace of Save Our Schools-NJ which, with assistance from NJEA, is a primary lobbyist against accountability. (SOS-NJ’s other bailiwick is opposing school choice — easy to doif you have access to districts like Princeton, which spends $24,634 per student per year.) Two years ago 340 Princeton High School juniors opted out of the …

Disunity in Newark As Voters Prepare to Select School Board Members

In less than two weeks Newark voters will elect three new members of their Board of Education and the stakes have never been higher. After twenty-two years of state control, city representatives will once again oversee every aspect of New Jersey’s largest and most politically-convoluted school district. As if this set of circumstances weren’t challenging enough, the education community’s spanking-new solidarity is in danger of fracture. For many decades Newark board members have been beholden …

KIPP NJ Students Teach Us How To “Be The Change”

Last Wednesday KIPP New Jersey hosted the 10th annual “Be the Change” celebration, its primary fundraising initiative. By the end of the evening KIPP NJ, which manages the much sought-after public charter school group with facilities in Newark and Camden, had raised over $1.8 million, all of which will be directly funneled into classrooms. Luminaries included Shavar Jeffries, president of Democrats for Education Reform;  Richard Barth, CEO of the KIPP Foundation,; Ays Necioglu, Vice President …

Newark Mom on LIFO Lawsuit: “I’m Just a Parent Who Wants To Make A Change”

Earlier this month, a short animated video was released to the public explaining New Jersey’s quality-blind “last in, first out” (LIFO) teacher layoff statute.  As one of ten remaining states in the country that mandates LIFO, the law requires school districts to lay off teachers based only on the date when they started teaching in the district, with the newest teachers losing their jobs first.By forbidding administrators from considering classroom effectiveness, this law runs counter …

NJEA as a Fish?

This image above is from NJEA’s facebook page. Predatory, anyone? Not sure what to make of it:  NJEA  eviscerating charter schools through a moratorium? NJEA swallowing Senate President Steve Sweeney whole? Pension costs devouring N.J.’s budget? A fantastical depiction of “fully funding” the school aid formula (farcically promised by NJEA’s anointed next governor Phil Murphy) which would gobble up all other state allocations? A piscine display of general prowess? Suggestions are welcome.

Paulo Freire Charter School Closed By State, Even Though “Our Students Are Outperforming Their Peers”

Earlier this month the New Jersey Department of Education announced the closing of three charter schools in Newark: Newark Prep, Merit Prep, and Paulo Freire Charter School. The reason given was “poor performance.” The closings were announced a day after the deadline for for Newark’s universal enrollment system. In response, leaders of Paulo Freire sent a letter this week to parents. Below is the complete letter. March 24, 2017 Dear Paulo Freire Parents and Guardians: …

Here’s What’s Wrong With NJEA’s Strategy To Unseat Senate President Steve Sweeney

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported this week that the New Jersey Education Association just launched a full-scale attack against long-time Democratic leader and Senate President Steve Sweeney. The union’s new web page lists a variety of betrayals that include “he cut our take home pay,” “he failed to secure our pensions,” “he took away bargaining rights,” and “he refuses to enforce the School Funding Reform Act.” In what the Inquirer calls “a risky move,” NJEA President …

This is Why A Rich Town Like Princeton Needs a Charter School

(This is a guest post by Princeton Resident Liz Winslow) The following are remarks I’ve prepared for a Princeton Board of Education budget meeting this evening, but might not get to deliver, being pressed for time. But I want people to know our story. My son’s story. In case I never got a shot at the podium during public comment. I’m Liz Winslow, and my disabled sons are Tristan Schartman, age 10, and Aaron Schartman, …

News from Camden: All Schools Must Rise and So This One Must Close

This week Camden Superintendent Paymon Rouhanifard announced that Charles Sumner Elementary School, which serves 210 K-6 students and employs 57 staff members, will close at the end of this school year. School closings are hard on communities. But this one is a no-brainer. First, academic performance is dismal, despite multiple interventions and total cost per pupil of $25,027.  Only three percent of students reached proficiency in language arts and math, according to the district’s Information …

Newark Public Schools: We Are “Hampered” By LIFO Laws that Privilege Adults Over Children.

Defendant admits to the allegations contained in Paragraph 12 of the Complaint in part. Defendants declare that the District Schools are making great strides towards to meet the constitutionally-mandated Thorough and Effective education requirements for all schools in the District. Through no fault of its own, however, and even without additional cuts to the District’s funding, the District has been hampered by statutory restrictions that essentially protect the interests of adults over the rights of …