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 …

Newark Naysayers, Listen Up: A KIPP Teacher Dispels Some Myths

(This is a guest post by Tommy Luna, an 8th Grade Math Teacher and Grade Level Chair at KIPP’s Rise Academy in Newark, New Jersey.  Mr. Luna is a Newark resident and started his teaching career in Elizabeth, N.J.) Let’s be real, Newark often gets a bad rap as media attention tends to focus on the negatives in our city. And most of that narrative is told from people who don’t work here or live here who …

Why Can’t Plainfield City Find a Superintendent?

You have to have the parents of this district who are going to charter schools feel comfortable about coming here,” he said. “If they don’t, you’re going to lose more kids. That’s Ronald E. Bolandi, newly-named Interim Superintendent of Plainfield City Public Schools, one of New Jersey’s low-income “Abbott” districts that receive compensatory state aid. According to today’s  Star-Ledger, Bolandi is the fourth superintendent of Plainfield City just this year and the School Board is …

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 …

Correction to Betsy DeVos from a Public School Teacher: Reports of Common Core’s Demise Are Grossly Exaggerated

Trump’s Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, in what Chalkbeat calls “some of her most expansive public remarks since taking over the department last year,” slammed the Common Core State Standards during a speech at the American Enterprise Institute. The Common Core is a set of state-led course objectives created by educators under the auspices of the National Governors Association. Said DeVos, “Federally mandated assessments. Federal money. Federal standards. All originated in Washington, and none solved the problem. Too …

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 …