GETTING REAL ABOUT EDUCATION: A Conversation With Black Parents, Teachers and Students

My colleague and friend Ikhlas Saleem writes, What happens when you get Black teachers, parents and students in a room with no talking points, no filter, just honest conversation? Well, as a Black baby raised in the ’90s would say, “it got real.” We recently invited more than 40 participants to share the joys and frustrations of being Black in America’s public schools. Their conversations were moderated by a few education advocates we invited from around the …

Mark Weber, Bruce Baker, and Thomas Jefferson

Mark Weber, who blogs at Jersey Jazzman, has lately been focused on a study he wrote with his Rutgers professor Bruce Baker that tries to undermine a Harvard analysis of the impact of education reform in Newark. (Here are links to my views of the Harvard study and the Weber/Baker study.)  Quick recap: The Harvard professors show that, post-reforms,  Newark schools are providing better results for students, especially in English Language Arts (ELA); students’ year-to-year …

Murphy’s Names Charter Leader Connie Sanchez to Education Transition Team

Unity Charter School in Morristown, NJ just announced that its Executive Director, Connie Sanchez, has been named to New Jersey Governor Elect Phil Murphy’s transition team as part of the Education, Access, and Opportunity Transition Advisory Committee. The Morristown charter is a K-8 public school of choice  that was established and chartered by the state of NJ in 1998, and is currently in its 20th year of operation. Unity Charter School Board of Trustees President …

Charter Schools Closing in on State Averages on Third Year of PARCC Testing: Newark Charters Outperform State Average in Math

New Jersey charter schools continue to narrow the achievement gap on the third year of Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exams based on data released this fall from the New Jersey Department of Education for the 2016-17 school year. “The release of PARCC scores confirms what we have known about New Jersey’s charter schools: they are closing the achievement gap for economically disadvantaged students and in some cases, outperforming the …

School Choice is Improving Prospects for Newark Schoolchildren But It’s Not Doing Much for Weber/Baker’s Analytical Acumen

In Wednesday’s NJ Spotlight, Mark Weber takes aim at two recent editorials, mine and Michele Mason’s, which cover different aspects of recent public school improvements in Newark, N.J.’s largest school district. Weber also uses the editorial to hype a new report he wrote with Rutgers Professor Bruce Baker (his dissertation advisor), published by the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) called “School District Reform in Newark and Impact of the Newark Education Reforms. The NEPC report by Weber/Baker, …

Is Integration Your Silver Bullet? Time to Get Real.

Last week I wrote a post about a report on N.J.’s segregated schools by Professor Gary Orfield et. al. which I found vacuous and flawed, particularly its conclusion that charter schools increase segregation because they cluster in districts that serve children of color. I noted that  “the reasons why more Black families are enthusiastic about charter school culture is beyond the scope of my blog post.” (Also, I’m not Black and, therefore, not an authentic …

Newark Update

I have a new column up at NJ Spotlight called “The Four Factors Behind Newark’s Education Turnaround.” It starts here: New Jersey is a fragmented and complicated state, splintered into 565 municipalities and even more school districts. Newark is its microcosm, a byzantine culture of powerful ward bosses who control every aspect of governance, including its school system. Although I’ve been writing about education in New Jersey for a decade, it wasn’t until a few …

How Do We Foster Integration and Inclusion in New Jersey?

(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.) Historically, the American education system has been shaped for the concept of inclusion, which means accepted without condition. Aligned with the beliefs of the ostracized Christians who settled the 13 colonies, education in America …

Confessions from A Recovering Academic; Or, The Problems with Proffered Solutions To N.J.’s Segregated Schools (with apologies to Emily Dickinson)

The Civil Rights Project has a new academic paper out called “New Jersey’s Segregated Schools Trends and Paths Forward,” a follow-up to a report on the same subject supplemented by new data from 2010-2015. This release of this report has been dutifully covered by New Jersey traditional media outlets (see the Star-Ledger, NJ Spotlight, NJ Today) by reciting a few talking points: New Jersey is more diverse than it used to be—there’s a “remarkable increase in …

The Soprano State, Muhammed Akil, and PC2E: A Jersey Story

Here’s part of Friday’s press release from the Newark-based organization Parent Coalition for Excellent Schools, or PC2E: Today the Parent Coalition for Excellent Education (PC2E) announced Founder and Executive Director Muhammed Akil is resigning from the organization to pursue other professional opportunities effective Friday, November 10, 2017…“One of the main objectives of PC2E’s Action Fund was to give the charter school sector a strong political voice in Newark,” said Mr. Akil. “The formation and success …