Six Ways in Which Lakewood is “Special”; Or, What Happens When Local Control Runs Wild

I’ve been thinking about local control lately and the ways in which it contributes, both locally and nationally, to public education inequities. New Jersey, of course, is local control run wild —  late Assemblyman Alan Karcher called us an exemplar of  “multiple municipal madness” —  with our 590 school districts and 565 municipalities. Every attempt to even out disparities in funding and affordable housing fails miserably because no amount of money — think of Asbury …

Dear Gov. Murphy and Comm. Repollet: NJ Voters Want You to Maintain State Standardized Tests

The public school advocacy group called We Raise NJ just released a the results of a recent poll exploring NJ residents’ views on  current course content standards, aligned tests, and school quality.  According to a press release, “the poll — conducted by Global Strategy Group — revealed that voters, especially those of color, believe strongly in high standards, aligned assessments, and importance of being prepared for college and career.” This is a hot topic in …

Here’s What It’s Like to Have a Teacher Think You Can’t Write Because You’re a Black Boy From Trenton.

(This piece, originally published at Education Post, is by Tre Johnson, a freelance writer on race, culture and politics. He’s also an educator, advocate and part-time superhero.) “Can you see me after school about this?” was scrawled across the last page of my essay in that trademark punitive red ink that teachers always used in school. A sinister visual, it might as well have been lettered “REDRUM.” But this wasn’t a letter grade; this was a …

All Hail NJEA. All Jeer UFT.

When I was growing up in New York City, visitors from New Jersey were disparagingly mocked as the “bridge and tunnel crowd.” Woody Allen got a big laugh when his character in Sleeper posited, “I’m what you would call a teleological, existential atheist. I believe that there’s an intelligence to the universe, with the exception of certain parts of New Jersey.” And don’t get me started on Housewives of New Jersey or Jersey Shore. Fear …

GETTING REAL ABOUT EDUCATION: A Conversation With Black Parents, Teachers and Students

My colleague and friend Ikhlas Saleem writes, What happens when you get Black teachers, parents and students in a room with no talking points, no filter, just honest conversation? Well, as a Black baby raised in the ’90s would say, “it got real.” We recently invited more than 40 participants to share the joys and frustrations of being Black in America’s public schools. Their conversations were moderated by a few education advocates we invited from around the …

Is Integration Your Silver Bullet? Time to Get Real.

Last week I wrote a post about a report on N.J.’s segregated schools by Professor Gary Orfield et. al. which I found vacuous and flawed, particularly its conclusion that charter schools increase segregation because they cluster in districts that serve children of color. I noted that  “the reasons why more Black families are enthusiastic about charter school culture is beyond the scope of my blog post.” (Also, I’m not Black and, therefore, not an authentic …

Beverly City Schools Makes “Incredible Progress” By Using Data to Focus on Kids

(This post is by Chris Minnich, Executive Director, Council of Chief State School Officers, and originally appeared in Huffington Post.) I visit many schools across the country. I get to talk with teachers and hear about their incredible students. I meet with students and hear about their big dreams for the future. I also get to talk with school and district administrators. Those conversations usually focus on what’s working well and what’s not working so well. …

How Do We Foster Integration and Inclusion in New Jersey?

(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.) Historically, the American education system has been shaped for the concept of inclusion, which means accepted without condition. Aligned with the beliefs of the ostracized Christians who settled the 13 colonies, education in America …

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 …