Is Betsy DeVos on the Verge of Removing Civil Rights Protections for Students of Color?

(A different version of this piece appeared earlier this month at Education Post.) Let’s just call her Betsy DeVoid. Our secretary of education earns a name-change because of her predilection for voiding laws that protect our most disenfranchised students. First it was rescissions to the civil rights regulations that protect students with disabilities. Now it’s the 2014 Obama administration’s school discipline guidance, also based on civil rights law, that requires districts to address the wide …

Confessions of a Jersey-Born White Teacher in an Urban School

(This is a guest post by Jennifer Rich, an assistant professor in the College of Education at Rowan University, and the director of research and education for the Rowan Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies. It first appeared in the Hechinger Report.) My first year of teaching, I did almost everything wrong. They tell you to be yourself. Here was my first mistake: I didn’t want to be myself. I wanted to be Michelle Pfeiffer. …

New Jersey Has One of the Lowest Rates of Inclusion of Special Education Students in America. A New Report Explains What We’re Doing Wrong.

A new report called “An Advocate’s Guide to Transforming Special Education” by the nonprofit group Innovate Public Schools (IPS) doesn’t mince words: students with disabilities are segregated into classrooms with low expectations, “regardless of how moderate their disability may be.” Families and advocates are often “dismissed and ignored.”Special needs children, especially those of color, are systematically relegated to lower tracks, regardless of cognitive potential, all in violation of the basic tenet of federal law that children …

Voices from the NJ Parent Summit: “When Everyone Dresses the Same, The Focus is on Learning.”

Ubaidullah Jackson, who just turned seven years old, peers up at me with undisguised curiosity. I’m here to interview his mom, Shati Gerald, about why and how she has molded an ambitious academic track for her gifted son and so he’ll have to be satisfied with access to his mom’s smartphone and a promise for a snack at the closing brunch at the 2018 NJ Parents Summit. Shati is a social services coordinator for senior …

During KIPP’s “Summer Jump,” Kids with Disabilities Learn With Typical Kids. How Does This Work?

Last week I had the pleasure of interviewing Nicolina Abruzzese, Assistant Principal of Special Education at KIPP Bold Academy, a charter middle school in Newark that is part of the KIPP New Jersey charter school network. This is Nicolina’s fourth year with KIPPNJ and tenth year in education. She has worked as a Special Education coordinator, department chair and coach of special education teachers and  paraprofessionals, co-chair of the Child Study Team, and as a special education teacher in her …

I Didn’t Want to Go to KIPP But Now I’m in College and I Totally Get It.

Julien Broomfield is a senior at Howard University pursuing a degree in English with a minor in sociology. She aspires to be an elementary school English teacher at KIPP after graduating from Howard in the fall of 2018. Julien’s piece was first published at Education Post. It’s 5:45 a.m. on a Monday in mid-August. The year is 2006 and my mom is rapping on my bedroom door. “Julien! Time to get up Ju, you have …

Senior Signing Day at KIPP NJ! What’s Next For These Stellar Scholars?

One of the biggest decisions a high school senior will make is where to attend college, and KIPP NJ makes that decision a very big deal.  On May 24, from 6:00-8:00 pm, the 129 KIPP Newark Collegiate Academy (NCA) seniors publicly announced for the first time where they will be attending college in the fall.  The event took place at Montclair State University.  Among the invited guests were friends and families of the students, high school faculty, the KIPP Through College …

It Doesn’t Just Happen at Starbucks. Teachers Need Racial Bias Training Too.

Zachary Wright is the 12th-grade world literature and AP Literature teacher at Mastery Charter School Shoemaker Campus where he has been for the last eight years. Over his more than 10 years in Philadelphia classrooms, he was named Philadelphia’s Outstanding Teacher of the Year in 2013 and has participated in the fight for equal education funding. Zach wrote this piece shortly after the April 12th incident at a Philly Starbucks; it was originally published at Education Post. Last week, two Black men were arrested for sitting …

Guest Post: Does the Murphy Administration “Have the Courage” to Take Over Lakewood Public Schools?

Michael Hoban was an educator for 48 years, teaching at the elementary, high school and university levels.  He was a university professor of mathematics for 35 years, is a Professor Emeritus at the City University of NY, and has lived in Lakewood for 14 years. Prof. Hoban is the senior educational consultant to Lakewood U.N.I.T.E., the group that advocates for minority families in Lakewood. This post originally appeared in the Asbury Park Press. Most of us are …

Getting the Facts Straight on New Jersey Charter Schools: This Is No Time For a “Pause” On High-Quality Charter Growth

Donna Siminski is Director of Policy and Advocacy for the New Jersey Charter School Association with a focus on the policy issues impacting the the state’s charter schools. Donna works with members, charter families, and charter school professionals to advocate for high-quality charter schools and the children they serve. Governor Murphy and Acting Commissioner Repollet are interested in New Jersey’s charter school facts and reviewing the current law & regulations. As this analysis proceeds, the …