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, …

In Princeton, Says This Special Needs Mom, A Choice Between Schools is No Choice At All

(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.) I live in an illustrious town, Princeton, New Jersey. It is home to Gownies likes Joyce Carol Oates. It’s also home to regular Townies like me. But this highly educated, self-proclaimed democratic town with …

“For the First Time I Have Teachers Telling Me That Lisa is One Smart Kid”: A Parent’s Struggle with Dyslexia and Traditional Schools

(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.)   I have done much to hide myself from the outside world, because there seems to be so little compassion out there. As testimony, I chose to live in a house adjoining a forest …

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, …

Look What Happens When District and Charter Schools Collaborate

(This is a guest post by Charles Sahm, who is director of education policy at the Manhattan Institute, a think tank whose mission is to develop and disseminate new ideas that foster greater economic choice and individual responsibility. It was originally published in the Star-Ledger.) It’s often noted that the original vision for charter schools, championed by legendary teachers’ union leader Al Shanker and others, was that they’d be “laboratories of innovation” whose lessons could inform …

Jared’s Got Something Special and KIPP’s ‘Pathways’ Is Helping Him Show It

Eight-year-old Jared Teel-Drayton hops into the room, hands flapping, eyes darting, smile alight. He’s been painting—his class went to the art room today—and his teacher, Farida Mallah, patiently combs through a plastic drawer for a clean tee-shirt, which he dons happily. It’s his favorite one, navy blue with the word “grit” stenciled in front, usually awarded as a prize. Jared’s got something special, and it’s not just a new tee-shirt. “Can you tuck it in?” …

Let’s Play a Guessing Game

There is a sector of schools in New Jersey that rigorously creams off top-performing students, provides little (if any) support for students with disabilities, doesn’t backfill (accept students to fill open spots when students leave), increases segregation, and is paid for by a combination of tax dollars and tuition payments from traditional district schools. If you get your state education news from NJEA, Education Law Center, or Save Our Schools-NJ, then you would most  likely …