Has the NJ Department of Education Misallocated Federal Funds Intended for Low-Income Students?

Earlier this week school districts in New Jersey received this email from the Department of Education: Dear Colleague: You are receiving this message because this email account was recently used to sign up for an upcoming Technical Assistance( TA) session regarding  discretionary grant opportunities using, Title 1 Part A Funds. This email is to inform you that the TA session has been cancelled. The New Jersey  Department of Education (NJDOE) under the direction and guidance …

You Want An Authentic Charter School Review? New Jersey Has One Now! Parents Brave the Cold To Speak Truth to Comm. Repollet

Yesterday I stood outside State Department of Education in Trenton and watched dozens of parents deliver 2,000 postcards, carefully stacked in boxes, each pleading with DOE Commissioner Lamont Repollet to end the charter school moratorium. One by one, on frigid Riverside Plaza, parents approached the microphone and voiced support for public school choice in New Jersey. “Parents are standing strong, and we have a clear message for our leaders: we love our public charter schools …

We Need To Talk About Race When We Talk About New Jersey Charter Schools.

I’ve been thinking about race this weekend, probably because NJ Advance Media just came out with The Force Report, which describes this state’s broken criminal justice system. According to the journalists, who worked for 16 months to complete this project, in New Jersey Black people are more than three times as likely as white people to face police use of force, which includes “compliance holds,” “takedowns,” using “open hand strikes or closed punches,” “leg strikes,” …

NJ DOE Watch: You Thought It Was Bad in Student Services? Check Out the Assessment Division’s Dysfunction.

Earlier this month I wondered whether the decay within the New Jersey Department of Education’s Division of Student Services (hostile work environment, retaliatory actions, talks of a class action suit) is an anomaly or emblematic of systemic dysfunction. I was hoping for the former; after all, one troubled department beats system-wide woes. But it appears to be the latter. At the very least, the dysfunction that pervades Student Services is also present in the DOE …

For Parents Advocating For a Child with Disabilities, Here’s the Golden Rule: If You Don’t Ask for It, You Won’t Get It!

I have a new piece out in New Jersey Family Magazine on advocating for your child with special needs. It starts here: My husband and I welcomed our son into the world with the calm conviction of experienced parents. Jonah was our fourth child, and we were pros at child rearing, fluent in the language of raising kids. Feeding schedule? Check. Separation anxiety? Check. Toilet training? Check. Education? Check. But Jonah isn’t typical. When he …

Uncommon’s Camden Prep Joins Forces with Community Groups to Keeps Children Warm and Well-Fed

Talk about getting into the Thanksgiving spirit! Last Wednesday Uncommon Schools, which runs New Jersey public charter schools in Camden and Newark, joined forces with the Woodland Community Development Group to donate 100 winter coats, 60 pairs of black shoes, and 30 Thanksgiving baskets to needy students who attend Camden Prep. “We are grateful for the Woodland Community Development Corporation’s generosity in ensuring our children and families have the resources needed this winter and holiday …

Here’s What’s Wrong With Save Our Schools-NJ’s Answers to the DOE Charter School Survey. Or, Let Them Eat Cake.

Last week the anti-choice/accountability Princeton-based group called Save Our Schools-New Jersey summoned its Facebook members to fill out the survey that is part of the state’s charter school law review.  No brain required because SOS-NJ has helpfully given supporters the answers to the survey; all they have to do is cut and paste. There’s one problem with this convenience: the answers SOS-NJ supplies contradict best practices and distort facts. As a public service I’m providing …

A Good Charter Approval Process = Good Charter Schools. Check Out the Videos!

As New Jersey halts all charter school expansion in order to “study” our 23-year-old charter school law (call it a pause, call it a moratorium, call it a pander to NJEA/Save Our Schools-NJ/Education Law Center), the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) has just put out some information relevant to our…well, whatever you want to call it. “For years, we’ve known that good authorizing leads to great charter schools, not just for a few …

What the Heck Is Going on at the DOE’s Special Education Division? Or, Some (Verified) Leaks from the Inside.

Ever since I published this post (and this follow-up) recapping layoffs of 40 people from the New Jersey Department of Education, a process a manager there described  as callous” and “sloppily done,”  I occasionally receive information from former and current employees who report on dysfunction, disarray, and deteriorating morale. I read their comments gratefully (if sadly) but don’t considering posting unless I can verify with a second reliable source. After all, these are people’s lives. …

Jasmine Morrison, Newark parent: “With Rigor Comes Endless Possibilities!”

In the interest of giving NJ Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet and Gov. Murphy some (unsolicited) help in their Charter School Program Act Review (which, according to the web page, has closed off registration for community focus groups), I’ve been interviewing some parents about their public school experiences, both traditional and charter. This is an interview with Jasmine Morrison. You can see the first interview here. Scroll to the bottom for a video! Laura: Jasmine, as a …