Not So Fast with the “We” Word, Trenton Superintendent McDowell. You’re Leaving Out the Parents.

“We in Trenton are adamantly opposed to charter school expansion,” Trenton Superintendent Dr. Fred McDowell said Wednesday at a community meeting on the subject. “We are united in that statement.” Um, no, Dr. McDowell. I don’t know whom you are referring to when you say “We in Trenton” but it’s definitely not the Trenton parents I spoke to at last weekend’s NJ Parent Summit, where 250 parents, mostly single moms of color, mostly from Abbott …

Camden Families Beg To Differ With NJEA and Education Law Center: Pass That Bill!

Alert! Alert! A new bill in the New Jersey Legislature intends to infest Camden’s traditional school system with a malignancy disguised as a minor legislative tweak. This new bill, an adjustment to the 2012 Urban Hope Act, threatens to decimate the district by siphoning resources from real public schools in order to dramatically expand the reach of fake public schools, also known as “renaissance” schools, which are run by craven privatizers. In addition, the bill …

Karp the PARCC-Slayer

Stan Karp, Director of of Secondary Reform for New Jersey’s Education Law Center, had an op-ed in NJ Spotlight on Friday that was rife with errors. As a public service here are four corrections. But first let’s examine Karp the PARCC Slayer’s arguments. According to our test-averse warrior, N.J.’s  high school diploma requirement — students must pass the Algebra 1 and 10th grade English state standardized tests in order to graduate, with portfolio options for students …

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 …

A Fiscal Realist Responds to David Sciarra’s Innumeracy

David G. Sciarra, executive director of the Education Law Center, wrote an editorial last week in NJ Spotlight slamming former Governor Chris Christie for not spending enough on schools, creating a “false narrative of public school failure,” and a variety of other sins. But redemption is near, Sciarra rejoices, because new Governor Phil Murphy magically will fully fund the School Funding Reform Act (SFRA), expand free Pre-Kindergarten, and restore funding for facilities costs in Abbott districts. …

Was Lakewood Board of Education’s Hiring of Attorney Inzelbuch Legal? NJ Attorney General Says “Maybe Not.”

The letter below was sent to me by a kind reader who wishes to remain anonymous. This letter was procured from Lakewood Public Schools under the Freedom of Information Act. It is addressed to Lakewood’s superintendent Laura Winters and Board President Moshe Bender, and references the Board’s recent hiring of attorney Michael Inzelbuch at $600,000 per year, plus numerous benefits. For background, see this post where  I catalogue the Board’s disregard of the rules of …

Education Law Center Files Complaint with Attorney General Re: Lakewood Board’s Hiring of Inzelbuch

Yesterday Education Law Center’ Executive Director David Sciarra sent a formal complaint to the Office of the Attorney General in Trenton. The letter is addressed to Director Michelle Miller and references “Lakewood BOE [Board of Education] Legal Services Contract: Request for Investigation.” Click on this:: Lakewood BOE Legal Services Miller Letter For those of you playing catch-up — a large cohort, no doubt, given the histrionic dysfunction of Lakewood Public School District — the Board recently …

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, …

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, …

Charter Parent: With Adults, It’s All About Money; This Is Supposed To Be About Children

As you can see from the post below, I had an informative visit with Ms. Dreya Teel, her son Jared, and staff members from KIPP NJ’s Life Academy. That post was all about Jared, but towards the end of the day Ms. Teel, a long-time Newark resident and single mom of four boys, and Farida Mallah, Jared’s teacher, shared with me their thoughts about New Jersey charter school politics. Newark remains the epicenter of New …