Voices from the Parent Summit: Troy Still’s Mom Fought For His Education; Now He Fights For Camden Students.

During the first weekend in August, Project Ready hosted the New Jersey Parent Summit (see here for an overview) I chatted with many parents and I’m posting some of the interviews: See earlier ones here, here, here, and here.  In some cases I’ve added links and editorial comments to add context. This interview is with Troy Still, a member of the Camden City School Board. Laura: Troy, where did you attend school in Camden? Troy: …

Voices from the Parent Summit: Tafshier Cosby-Thomas on Charter School Wars, a Pact With Her Sisters, and Helping Parents Become Education Advocates.

Last year I interviewed Tafshier Cosby-Thomas about her educational experiences in Newark, both as a student and a parent. At the time of that interview, the New Jersey Department of Education was in the midst of its Charter School Act Review and soliciting input from lobbyists and, more importantly, parents. Tafshier was one of those parents. (Scroll to the bottom of this post for a video of her addressing  the DOE and Commissioner Repollet).When I …

Charter Schools Must Be Part of the Solution for Desegregation.

This is a guest post by Sonia Park, Executive Director of Diverse Charter Schools Coalition. She has has over 18 years of experience in school start-up, support, accountability, and development. This essay, which first appeared at Education Post, is particularly relevant to New Jersey given a current lawsuit that claims, all evidence to the contrary, that NJ’s charter sector increases school segregation. For my take on the lawsuit, see here and here. America is more …

A Pro’s Advice to New Teachers: When You’re Honest About Yourself, You Give Students Permission to Be Honest Too.

This is a guest post by Mark Joseph, a sixth-grade math teacher at KIPP Rise Academy in Newark, where he has taught for ten years.  I like to say that kids have the best bullshit detectors in the world. They can tell when you’re faking and they can tell when it’s real. My usual prescription to teachers against the inevitable bullshit is — be authentic, be you. However, I think that the word authentic has …

Voices From the Parent Summit: Shayvonne Anderson Overcomes Personal Tragedy and Explains How Newark Got Beyond The “Charter vs. Traditional” School Mindset.

Shayvonne Anderson,  a lifelong Newark resident and mother of ten children, was elected this year to the Newark School Board as part of the Unity Slate. I interviewed her during the New Jersey Parent Summit (see here for an overview).  For other interviews with attendees, here are Ruthven Haneef Auguste and Jabbar Wilkins. In some cases I’ve added links and editorial comments to add context. Laura: Shayvonne, will you tell me a little about yourself …

Voices From the Parent Summit: An Interview with Jabbar Wilkins.

During this past weekend at the New Jersey Parent Summit (see here for an overview) I chatted with many parents. During the next two weeks I’m posting some of the interviews: See the first one here. In some cases I’ve added links and editorial comments to add context. Here’s Jabbar Wilkins, father of seven (three biological children and four step-children) who grew up and still lives in Camden. Laura: Jabbar, would you tell me about …

Is Restorative Justice Working? According to Teachers, Not So Much. Focus on Asbury Park.

I was chatting with a teacher from Asbury Park High School, who wishes to remain anonymous. We were talking about the impact of the then-Asbury Park Superintendent, now-Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet’s decision to create a system, “The 64 Floor,” that makes it impossible for students to fail a course. (Repollet owned up to this practice during a New Jersey Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee hearing and justified it by claiming that “teachers weaponize grades.”) Now …

Voices From the Parent Summit: An Interview with Ruthven Haneef Auguste.

During this past weekend at the New Jersey Parent Summit (see here for an overview) I chatted with many parents. Over the next two weeks I’ll post some of the interviews. In some I’ve added links and editorial comments to add context. Here’s Newark dad Ruthven Haneef Auguste, who told me about his own school experiences and how he has fought for better outcomes for his three daughters. Laura: Haneef, can you tell me a …

New Jersey Parents Celebrate “The Power of Us” at the Fourth Annual Summit.

“I didn’t run through my obstacles. I jumped over them. And I remember where I came from.” Shayvonne Anderson “If we don’t collaborate, our kids won’t be successful.” Tafshier Cosby Thomas “ Most successful students have bought-in parents.”  Troy Still  “I am the example of exercising parent autonomy.” Nicole Harris “It’s more than just a school. We all know each other and lean on each other. It’s a community. “ Ruthven Haneef Auguste “A lot …

The Flogging Will Continue Until Morale Improves: Jersey City Residents Get Cheated Out of the Democratic Process.

The farce that is the Jersey City Board of Education continues unabated. I’ve written before about the ethical lapses by Board President Sudhan Thomas and  Board member Lorenzo Richardson, as well as  the Board’s habit of deferring to the local teacher union, including during contract negotiations. The lone holdout for moral propriety has been Board member Matt Schapiro. He tried his best to achieve at least a small degree of transparency with Jersey City residents …