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 …

Sometimes Timing is Everything: A New Program from Walton Family Foundation Offers Help For Charter Schools

The State of New Jersey is building a new school for Trenton Central High students and staff at the cost of  $117 million because Trenton is an Abbott district and state funds cover all costs of construction and renovation. Less than one mile away on Chambers Street, the International Academy of Trenton Charter School (IAT), as I wrote last week, is on the verge of closure. One reason that the Department of Education is rescinding …

How Deep Does Charter School Animus Run in Trenton? Ask the Head of the Trenton Teachers Union.

State unions are typically united. When the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) speaks, it speaks for all of its local bargaining units. But a recent series of events that revolves around a charter school in Trenton has disrupted that unanimity. The charter school that has fomented this atypical public display of discord is the International Academy of Trenton Charter School (IAT), now in its fourth year of operation with 700 students, grades K-5. After a …

Princeton Palace: This is What’s Wrong with Local Control

When my husband Dennis and I were getting ready to move from upstate New York to a new home within a reasonable commuting distance to his office in Manhattan, we zeroed in on Mercer County in Central Jersey. After all, you can get to Penn Station in an hour on an express NJ Transit train, we’d be reasonably close to my family, and housing prices were more affordable than, say, Westchester or Connecticut. Of course, …

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 …

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 …

Charter Schools Closing in on State Averages on Third Year of PARCC Testing: Newark Charters Outperform State Average in Math

New Jersey charter schools continue to narrow the achievement gap on the third year of Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exams based on data released this fall from the New Jersey Department of Education for the 2016-17 school year. “The release of PARCC scores confirms what we have known about New Jersey’s charter schools: they are closing the achievement gap for economically disadvantaged students and in some cases, outperforming the …

Confessions from A Recovering Academic; Or, The Problems with Proffered Solutions To N.J.’s Segregated Schools (with apologies to Emily Dickinson)

The Civil Rights Project has a new academic paper out called “New Jersey’s Segregated Schools Trends and Paths Forward,” a follow-up to a report on the same subject supplemented by new data from 2010-2015. This release of this report has been dutifully covered by New Jersey traditional media outlets (see the Star-Ledger, NJ Spotlight, NJ Today) by reciting a few talking points: New Jersey is more diverse than it used to be—there’s a “remarkable increase in …

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 …