A Skeptic Turns Supporter: Community Leader Angel Cordero is Now Camden Supe’s Biggest Fan

Check out community leader Angel Cordero’s take on the last few years of progress in Camden schools! Cordero, a leader in Camden’s growing Hispanic community, who in the past has put pressure on the District to do as much as possible to support English Language Learners and provide necessary engagement and support to families of bilingual students, has written a glowing endorsement of Camden Superintendent Paymon Rouhanifard.  Once a critical skeptic, Cordero is now a …

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 …

The Grown-Up Version of PARCC: Can We Measure Up?

The New Jersey Department of Education just released our children’s 2017 scores on the state standardized PARCC tests in language arts and math. The news is good: students improved in both subjects. And, yet, the news is hard to hear because scores aren’t as high as we’re used to seeing on our older tests, ASK (grades 3-8) and HSPA (the former high school diploma qualifying test).  After all, unvarnished appraisals of student achievement are hard …

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 …

“I Love Newark And Am Proud To Say I Live Here,” Says NPS Grad

It’s easy to be skeptical about improvements to Newark Public Schools,given its sordid history of corruption, desultory oversight, and — most critically — poor student outcomes. But it just may be time to lighten up: after the incorporation of higher academic and operational standards, greater accountability and transparency, and Superintendent Chris Cerf’s leadership, New Jersey’s largest school district is finally able to point to meaningful measures of progress. To wit: a substantial increase in high …

“I Thought They Were Creaming Off Top Students”: Camden Charter Leader on His Own Learning Curve

“Even in my seat as a charter school leader, I always say that I wish I could have done what I’m able to do here in a traditional district school.” That’s William Hayes, principal of East Camden Middle School, one of Camden’s new “renaissance” charters (this one operated by Mastery) that are distinguished by an unusually collaborative partnership with district schools. Hayes acknowledges a bit of surprise at his career trajectory.  Earlier on “I bought the …

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 …

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 …

Do All Schools Rise? They Do In Newark!

On Thursday I attended College Signing Day at North Star, one of Newark’s best public charter schools. But someone beat them to the punch. On May 1st, Newark Public Schools inaugurated its first annual district-wide College Decision Day. where  each member of the 2017 NPS senior class who has committed to attending college this upcoming fall was celebrated by peers, teachers, administrators, and Superintendent Chris Cerf. “Today is a remarkable moment in the educational journey …