Announcing (drumroll, please) the #GraduateReadyNJ Initiative!

We know what it takes for all New Jersey students to graduate ready for a successful future, whether college or career. While many students and schools in New Jersey are successful, data shows that: 70% of those in New Jersey who enroll in two-year colleges and 30% in traditional four-year colleges take remedial classes. Less than half of New Jersey students are at grade level in reading and math.  The Pentagon estimates that 71% of Americans aged 17 to 24 would fail to qualify for military service. …

Newark Signatories Put Adults Before Kids

Nostalgia is a wonderful thing, except when  treasured memories are delusional. Which pretty much describes yesterday’s op-ed in NJ Spotlight signed by State Senator Ronald Rice Sr., Newark School Board member Leah Owens, Newark Teachers Union president John Abeigon, and other Newark luminaries. In this piece the writers lament that they were “disenfranchised by the state takeover of the public school system for 22 years” and — even worse —  “boldly disrespected during the past …

Here’s What Matt Barnum Gets Wrong About Education Reform in Newark

Maybe it’s because I’m at the New Jersey Charter School Association annual conference and last evening heard Norm Atkins, founder of Uncommon Schools, remark that during Newark’s most recent open enrollment cycle half of all Newark kindergarten parents ranked Uncommon as their first choice and listened to his partner Jamey Verrilli describe school choice as a quest for educational justice. Maybe because I just spent the lunch hour listening to charter school teachers eagerly compare notes on …

This Mother Feels “Blessed” To Have Her Children in a N.J. Charter School: a New Report Tells Us Why

Last week wrote about the New Jersey Charter School Association’s new analysis, “20 Years of New Jersey Charter Schools: A State of the Sector Report,” from the perspective of the struggles of Paterson’s traditional school sector. That quick overview is just a tease of the wealth of data available from NJCSA, which begins its annual convention this morning. (I’m on my way!) I urge readers to check out the full report, which “demonstrates that, overall, New …

What is Driving Newark Students’ Academic Growth? Answers Here, Via New Harvard Analysis

Researchers at Harvard University’s Center for Education Policy Research (CEPR) are releasing a  study today called “Assessing the Impact of the Newark Education Reforms.” This report analyzes student academic growth since Mark Zuckerberg’s $100 million Facebook donation in 2011, matched by another $100 million raised by U.S. Senator (then Newark mayor) Cory Booker. The researchers — Thomas J. Kane (Harvard), Douglas Staiger (Dartmouth), Beth Schueler (Harvard), Whitney Kozakowski (Harvard), and Mark Chin (Harvard) — according …

“Significant Reforms” Drive Newark Students’ Steady Academic Gains

We are very encouraged by results that show our students continue to make steady gains, especially when comparing their results to students in other cities. This data shows us that while there remains progress to be made, thousands more Newark students are reading and doing math on grade level today than just a few years ago, and that these students have a better chance at attending college and pursuing a meaningful career when they leave …

Happy 20th Anniversary to New Jersey’s Charter Schools! A New Report Parses the Quality of the Sector

Twenty years ago New Jersey opened its first charter school. To mark the occasion, the New Jersey Charter School Association (NJCSA) released an analysis this morning called “Twenty Years of Charter Schools: A State of the Sector Report.” I’ll be diving into this report in more detail but one aspect is particularly timely: the state of the charter school sector in Paterson Last week an article in North Jersey  noted this: “more than 98 percent …

“You Have to Ask — What is Going on Here?’’ The Canary is Dead in Lakewood

I’ve written much about Lakewood’s practice of privileging ultra-Orthodox Jewish schoolchildren, particularly those with special needs, over the school district’s almost entirely Latino and Black enrollment. This culture of inequity extends beyond public education services.   The school district’s practice of devoting disproportional funds to non-public school students who attend the 130 or so Jewish day schools and special education private schools that accept only Jewish students is merely the canary in the coal mine, an …

Five Maxims for Phil Murphy

At a town hall in Montclair this past weekend, Phil Murphy held forth on the four New Jersey school districts — Jersey City, Paterson, Newark, and Camden — that over the last twenty-four years have been taken over by the state.  “In every  case, 100 percent of cases, state takeovers are of communities of color — that’s a fact, whether it is the school district or the entire community. And,” added Murphy indignantly, “ I …

PARCC Results are in and New Jersey is Improving!

(This is a guest post by Tish Johnson, the Coalition Manager of We Raise New Jersey and a N.J. public school parent. We Raise New Jersey is a collective of statewide organizations that advocate to ensure every student in New Jersey graduates prepared for college and career. Tish has over 15 years of combined financial, government, legal and corporate knowledge that she brings with her to education advocacy sector.) A coalition of parents, educators, and …