Chris Cerf Unplugged: Charter Schools, Phil Murphy, NJEA, and Save Our Schools-NJ

In an interview in today’s Star-Ledger, Newark Superintendent and former New Jersey Commissioner of Education Chris Cerf discusses the threat of a charter school moratorium, his views on “boutique” charter schools in leafy suburbs, why NJEA leaders and Save Our Schools-NJ fight so vociferously against public charters yet give discriminatory magnet schools (and their own access to school choice) a pass, the impending governorship of Phil Murphy, and how Newark charters are incubating new ideas …

Can You Cough Up $20K a Year? Welcome To The Top New Jersey “Public” Schools!

  Tuition Rates—2015-2016 RESOLVED, that the Board of Education approve the revised tuition rates for the 2015-2016 school year as follows: Elementary Schools Pre-K Full-Day Program $13,000 Kindergarten Full-Day Program $16,953 Grades 1-5 $19,029 Grades 6-8 $17,691 Grades 9-12 $17,831 Special Education Autism $90,913 Learning and/or Language Disability $23,603 Cranbury Sending/Receiving Tuition Grades 9-12 $17,345 What you see here is a section of the Princeton Regional Public School Board’s April 2015 Minutes that set tuition rates …

This New Jersey Parent Summit Had Parents Fired Up and Ready to Go!

(This is a guest post from Quibila Divine, an education advocate who works tirelessly to ensure that all children are provided with equal access to a high-quality education. She lives in North Philadelphia, where she was born and raised.) Awesome…Uplifting…Informative…Amazing…Spectacular…Inspirational…Wonderful…Successful…these are just some of the words parents used to describe the New Jersey Parent Summit. Upon arrival, attendees received gift bags full of “swag” from major sponsors that included, KIPP NJ, JerseyCAN, Newark Charter School …

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 …

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, …

A Hope for the Heart of Phil Murphy

The big news story today, of course, is U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell’s failure to summon enough votes to bring to the floor a bill that would decimate the Affordable Care Act and throw 22 million Americans, mostly low-income, old, or disabled, off the insurance rolls. The New York Times Editorial Board, for example, writes that “the bill is a cruel hoax that would help the wealthiest Americans at the expense of the poorest.” And, as …

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 …

What Does the New Camden Teacher Union President Think About Superintendent Rouhanifard? Hold Onto Your Hat!

Keith Benson, newly-elected President of the Camden Education Association, must be terrified. Over the last five years Camden public schoolchildren increased their graduation rate by 21 percent, up from 49 percent to 70 percent, and their academic growth has outpaced their peers in the rest of the state. Schools are safer. Families are, at last, hopeful about the city school system. And, after a revolving door of superintendents — 13 in the last 20 years …