People’s Prep Celebrates! Founder Jess Rooney Explains Her Work With Students Who Enter Years Behind Grade Level.

Last week I interviewed Jess Rooney, founder of People’s Prep, the only charter school in Newark without a “feeder,” i.e., an elementary and/or middle school that prepares students for rigorous high school academics. The reason for this interview is People’s Prep’s first celebration honoring the Class of 2019 and their families. But these honorees aren’t high school seniors: They’re college graduates. That’s because People’s Prep’s mission is to give students the tools to graduate from …

New Newark Report: Improvements in Academic Growth for Children in Both District and Charter Schools But There’s More Work To Do.

The New Jersey Children’s Foundation (NJCF) just issued an analysis called “A New Baseline: Progress in Newark’s District and Charter Schools from 2006 to 2018,” written by Jesse Margolis and Eli Groves of MarGrady Research. This inaugural project for NJCF fits neatly into its vision: providing clear, practical information so that all people — parents, students, teachers, school leaders — can have access to accurate facts about student growth and school quality. The data is …

Project Ready Delivers Over 1,000 Care Packages To All Newark High School Graduates Embarking on College or the Military!

“Whether they’re attending college or joining our military, we want to support the next generation of Newark leaders by providing these graduating seniors with some essentials for their next chapter in life.One of those essentials is a voter registration form, because elections matter to our community and we want to empower our young leaders to use their voice to vote not just in the upcoming presidential election, but in all local races as well.” That’s …

Promises, Promises: Does New Jersey’s Education Commissioner Care?

Every year school administrators and central office staff wig out right before October 15th. Why? That’s the date when districts must submit detailed files on student enrollment data to the New Jersey Department of Education through a platform called NJSMART. So much, including state aid, rides on this count (this file is the first submission of the funding process) and so there’s always a mad scramble to make sure numbers accurately reflect the number of …

Repollet Rumor Expansion, Plus Commentary on a New DOE Appointment.

I stand corrected. Yesterday, in reporting on a rumor about the departure of Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet, I noted that “17 out of 55 leadership positions are marked ‘vacant’ on the DOE organization chart.” A few hours after I published that post the State Board of Education, reports NJ Spotlight, approved six candidates for those leadership positions, leaving only 11 out of 55 seats that “had been long-vacant under [Repollet].” Sometimes timing is everything, not …

Is NJ’s Education Commissioner Heading For the Exit?

The New Jersey Department of Education is rife with gossip, as many workplaces are, but in my experience gossip spreads more quickly when staff morale is low and ineffective leadership prevails. This is just to say that I hear a lot of DOE gossip and, as faithful readers know, I don’t print anything I can’t verify from two or more sources. A new rumor is circulating at the DOE and, due to its import, I …

Why Is It Important That Journalists and Politicians Point Out NJEA’s Control of Governor Murphy?

Mike Lilley of the Sunlight Foundation of New Jersey raises an interesting point in a recent blog post: While Tom Moran wrote an excellent editorial lambasting Gov. Phil Murphy for conditionally vetoing a bill that would require non-profits to reveal funders (like New Direction New Jersey that exists solely to push the Governor’s agenda), the Star-Ledger editor “neglects to point out the FACT that in the case at hand – where Murphy appears in the …

“If We Can’t Look In the Mirror and Think We’re Doing the Right Thing, Then We Need To Change What We’re Doing.”

Today’s New York Times has a story about a two-year-old named Skylar Jones born in 2014 with a “common and treatable” heart defect. She was a “normal, active” toddler but when she started having symptoms, her parents, as directed by Skylar’s pediatric cardiac surgeon, took her to nearby North Carolina Children’s Hospital (UNC). Their daughter needed a low-risk surgery, which went fine, although the operation took longer than predicted. Her parents were told “she should …

Andrew Martin Corrects a Warped Narrative of Newark Public Schools That is “Long on Political Intrigue But Short on Data.”

This is a guest post by Andrew Martin, who served as the Chief Data Officer for the Newark Public Schools from 2017-18.  Prior to working for NPS he was the Director of Special Projects for KIPP New Jersey, leading research, evaluation, and assessment efforts.  He is a graduate of the University of Chicago and a former classroom teacher for KIPP NJ and the New York City Department of Education.   Last year, test scores for Newark …

Is NJEA the Ventriloquist and Governor Murphy the Dummy?

Once upon a time the New Jersey Education Association was about education and professional development for teachers. But NJ’s primary teachers’ union has undergone a shift and, according to a new report out by Michael Lilley, “today’s NJEA is all politics.” This shift ties directly to the current shenanigans at the NJ Department of Education, which I’ve been covering for about nine months (complete NJ DOE Watch series here) and recent confirmation that  NJEA “contributed …