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 …

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 …

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 …

The “Virtuous Circle” in Camden: Positive Progress Yields Community Support

Bryan Morton, Executive Director of Great Camden Schools, has an op-ed in the Courier Post that traces the arc of Camden Public Schools’ transformation, which he ascribes to the leadership of state-appointed Superintendent Paymon Rouhanifard, a series of reforms that brought in hybrid renaissance schools, heightened expectations for students and teachers, and a growing sense of hope among Camden families. Morton also describes a trip he took with other community members to the State Board of …

What If We Held Traditional School to the Same Standards As Charter Schools?

The Star-Ledger reports that the International Academy of Trenton (IAT), a public charter school serving grades K-5, is being shut down for failing to meet student academic and social needs: Kimberley Harrington, then commissioner of the Department of Education, in a Jan. 12 letter to IAT said the state was not renewing the charter because the academy “failed to provide a strong educational program and sustained organizational stability.” A school performance report shows many students …

An Addendum to the Four Education Promises Gov. Murphy Can’t Keep

I have a piece in The 74 called “Four Education Promises New Jersey’s New Governor Can’t — or Shouldn’t — Keep.” If I had a time machine I’d ride back about two weeks (pre-deadline) and add a little more content to one of Governor Murphy’s promises, specifically the one he made to at the 2016 NJEA Convention (and other venues): When asked whether he’d follow NJEA’s instructions and get rid of assessments aligned with college/career …

Out-going DOE Deputy Commissioner On How New Jersey’s Recent Education Changes Help Students

(This is a guest post by Peter Shulman who was, until very recently, Deputy Commissioner of the Education for New Jersey. He helped drive policy to improve the academic achievement and life outcomes of approximately 1.4 million students. He directly supervised the Divisions of Talent, Performance, Information Technology and led education priorities including the development of a new comprehensive school accountability system under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.) Over the past 7 years, New …

If We’re Really About Leveling the Academic Playing Field, We Need to Prioritize the Arts

(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.) Once upon a time, standardized tests were given to adults from all walks of life to prove themselves worthy of certain jobs that they would otherwise not be able to access. These original tests …