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 …

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 …

Dear Gov. Murphy and Comm. Repollet: NJ Voters Want You to Maintain State Standardized Tests

The public school advocacy group called We Raise NJ just released a the results of a recent poll exploring NJ residents’ views on  current course content standards, aligned tests, and school quality.  According to a press release, “the poll — conducted by Global Strategy Group — revealed that voters, especially those of color, believe strongly in high standards, aligned assessments, and importance of being prepared for college and career.” This is a hot topic in …

New Column: Murphy Says He Wants to Scrap PARCC Tests but Doesn’t Know How. Here’s What It Would Take — and It’s Not Easy

It starts here: Eighteen months ago, Governor-to-be Phil Murphy vowed during his keynote address at the 2016 New Jersey Education Association convention to “scrap PARCC Day One.” Two and a half months later, his new education commissioner, Lamont Repollet, announced the beginning of the process to fulfill that vow, in a method he recently described as “thoughtful,” “deliberative,” and designed to “ensure compliance with state and federal law” and be implemented “in a manner that is most …

When Politics Undermines Scholarship: A New “Analysis” from Julia Sass Rubin and Mark Weber

A new report is out called “New Jersey Charter Schools: A Data-Driven View – 2018 Update, Part I” by Julia Sass Rubin and Mark Weber. This study, draped with a Rutgers University banner, purports to be a scholarly analysis proving that charter schools are an untenable fiscal burden on traditional districts and enroll proportionally fewer special education students, English Language Learners, and low-income students than their sending district public schools. The report concludes with recommendations …

A Preliminary Analysis of Murphy’s Education Budget from N.J.’s School Funding Expert

(This is a guest post from the anonymous writer of the great school funding blog called New Jersey Education Aid. The writer notes that this is a preliminary look based on the Governor Phil Murphy’s proposed education budget, presented yesterday, that calls for a $283 million increase in aid to public schools.) On Tuesday, March 13th, Phil Murphy gave his first budget address. The budget address gives the amount of money Phil Murphy wants the state …

Does a New Jersey High School Diploma Signify Anything At All?

Here’s the start of my new column at NJ Spotlight Last month, New Jersey’s new acting Commissioner of Education Lamont Repollet described the state’s sixth year in a row of increased high school graduation rates – now 90.5 percent – as “exciting,” because it “demonstrates we are on a path toward closing our achievement gaps and achieving excellent and equitable educational opportunities for our children.” Mr. Repollet is both right and wrong. New Jersey is on the …

Here’s What It’s Like to Have a Teacher Think You Can’t Write Because You’re a Black Boy From Trenton.

(This piece, originally published at Education Post, is by Tre Johnson, a freelance writer on race, culture and politics. He’s also an educator, advocate and part-time superhero.) “Can you see me after school about this?” was scrawled across the last page of my essay in that trademark punitive red ink that teachers always used in school. A sinister visual, it might as well have been lettered “REDRUM.” But this wasn’t a letter grade; this was a …

Why Can’t Plainfield City Find a Superintendent?

You have to have the parents of this district who are going to charter schools feel comfortable about coming here,” he said. “If they don’t, you’re going to lose more kids. That’s Ronald E. Bolandi, newly-named Interim Superintendent of Plainfield City Public Schools, one of New Jersey’s low-income “Abbott” districts that receive compensatory state aid. According to today’s  Star-Ledger, Bolandi is the fourth superintendent of Plainfield City just this year and the School Board is …