Phil Murphy Perfects the Pivot

“Pivoting” is an essential political skill when faced with a question you don’t want to answer. While I am eager to hear a non-pivot on this question asked by West Orange residents at a neighborhood block party, one can’t help but admire Murphy’s graceful evasion, via NJ Spotlight. Does he believe charter schools and vouchers for parochial schools will help improve outcomes in low performing school districts?   Murphy said he would improve K-12 schools …

Is Randi Weingarten Correct that School Choice is A Form of Jim Crow?

Two weeks ago AFT President Randi Weingarten highlighted a new policy brief that showed how school vouchers were used during Jim Crow to segregate school systems. From EdWeek: In a fiery speech, Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, condemned Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ school choice proposals, calling them “only slightly more polite cousins of segregation.”   She told teachers at the AFT Teach Conference in Washington that the country is facing …

When Friends Say it Best: Black Voices on How the NAACP Has Lost its Way

(This post is by my dear pal and colleague Erika Sanzi. It was originally published on her blog, Good School Hunting.) I have the absolute privilege of working alongside some incredibly smart and brave people, people willing to stand up to the power players and put themselves out there because they believe it will help kids and help families. While they don’t all come down on the same side of every issue, they push my …

The Grown-Up Version of PARCC: Can We Measure Up?

The New Jersey Department of Education just released our children’s 2017 scores on the state standardized PARCC tests in language arts and math. The news is good: students improved in both subjects. And, yet, the news is hard to hear because scores aren’t as high as we’re used to seeing on our older tests, ASK (grades 3-8) and HSPA (the former high school diploma qualifying test).  After all, unvarnished appraisals of student achievement are hard …

“For the First Time I Have Teachers Telling Me That Lisa is One Smart Kid”: A Parent’s Struggle with Dyslexia and Traditional Schools

(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 have done much to hide myself from the outside world, because there seems to be so little compassion out there. As testimony, I chose to live in a house adjoining a forest …

Lakewood’s Biggest Fan: Save Our Schools-NJ Supports the Tyranny of the Majority

Occasionally I check Save Our Schools-NJ’s Facebook page to keep tabs on the anti-choice/accountability crowd. Topping the newsfeed yesterday was an indignant post about the approval of five new charter school applications. Typical pablum, right? Charter schools cost money and so they are bad.  Charter schools don’t have to hire NJEA members (unless the teachers choose to unionize) and so they are bad. Charter schools threaten the traditional school monopoly because, among the best ones, …

Look What Happens When District and Charter Schools Collaborate

(This is a guest post by Charles Sahm, who is director of education policy at the Manhattan Institute, a think tank whose mission is to develop and disseminate new ideas that foster greater economic choice and individual responsibility. It was originally published in the Star-Ledger.) It’s often noted that the original vision for charter schools, championed by legendary teachers’ union leader Al Shanker and others, was that they’d be “laboratories of innovation” whose lessons could inform …

New Jersey’s Educational Inequities Go Right Through the Superintendent’s Office

Howard Lerner is the Superintendent of Bergen County Technical Schools, which comprise several buildings with a combined enrollment of 2,211 students. He makes $255,877 a year. Chris Cerf is Superintendent of Newark Public Schools, N.J.’s largest school district, which comprises 66 buildings and a combined enrollment of 35,835 students. He makes $255,524 per year. Chalk up another inequity in school funding, as well as another failure of a signature Chris Christie initiative. (You can check out the top …

Guest Post: “The Morality Problem Lurking Below the Surface in Lakewood”

This is a guest post from Thomas G. Gatti, a Lakewood resident and supporter of municipal and educational equity. Gatti is a media consultant and former Chief Operating Officer of the College Television Network. He was previously COO of  DIR Broadcasting and an executive at Eastman Radio. (For those of you new to Lakewood’s history of shortchanging non-ultra Orthodox schoolchildren and residents, see here, here, and here. For complete NJLB coverage, click here.) ******************************************************************  I …

Just How Irrelevant is the NEA?

This irrelevant: on Tuesday, July 4th, at its annual Delegate Assembly, the National Education Association passed a resolution that would suck the heart out of the healthy charter school sector that currently serves 5% of American schoolchildren. Specifically, NEA leaders resolved that charters must be approved by local traditional school districts (ensuring that no charter ever be approved); that all charters adopt local districts’ pay scales and, presumably, tenure laws; that no charters be expanded, …