If Murphy and Repollet Were Really “Progressive,” They’d Care About the Prospects of Students in Districts Like Newark.

Two weeks ago New Jersey’s NAEP scores came out and they weren’t pretty. These national tests, often referred to as the “gold standard” and “The Nation’s Report Card,” showed that our fourth-graders’ reading proficiency dropped more than any other state in the country, that eighth-graders saw significant declines as well, and that we’ve made no progress in closing achievement gaps. At about the same time as the NAEP score release, Chalkbeat reported that Education Law …

The Annual NJEA Convention, Starting Today, Is SO Old-School. What If We Did Things Differently?

Today New Jersey parents woke up to their annual smack in the face: All public schools are closed today and tomorrow, the first Thursday and Friday in November, so that NJEA can host its convention in Atlantic City. That’s on top of school closures on Monday for Veteran’s Day, making this a delightful five-day weekend. That’s on top of student conferences, which some NJ schools hold in November, closing schools for several consecutive half-days. That’s …

Get Ready, New Jersey: If Shennell Has Her Way, Newark Will #CloseTheGap!

Yesterday I chatted with the Shennell McCloud, Newark’s indefatigable activist for educational equity and  parent empowerment. As Executive Director of Project Ready, she has already achieved the non-profit’s first goal of registering 1,000+ Newarkers to vote by mail, as well as hosted the annual New Jersey Parent Summit. Now Project Ready is embarking on an even more ambitious endeavor called #CloseTheGap Campaign, which kicked off yesterday, Election Day, by celebrating local advocacy. Shennell’s long-term goal …

Murphy Just Announced That He’s Replicating An Education Initiative That Failed in New York City.

Gov. Phil Murphy just announced a statewide “Computer Science for All” plan that allocates  $2 million in state grants “to help schools establish advanced, high-quality computer science programs.” According to the Governor’s Office, the plan includes five “key goals,” including adopting “rigorous computer science standards” K-12; delivering professional development for teachers; establishing alternative pathways to increase the number of computer science teachers; “leverag[ing] partnerships” with families, educators, and school boards; and “establishing a data-driven decision-making …

At KIPP Seek Academy in Newark, It’s A Different Kind of Halloween!

 Today’s no ordinary day at KIPP Seek Academy in Newark. Instead of the traditional Halloween parades, students there are attending school today dressed in outfits that represent their hopes and dreams for the future. Oh, there is a parade, but instead of ghosts and Spiderman, students will dress as doctors, teachers, computer programmers, police officers, and even Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and astronaut Mae Jemison! After the parade, Seek students will participate in a …

For Teachers Looking For An Alternative to Traditional Education Associations, Here’s a Real Find.

Last week I had the pleasure of interviewing Liz Parlett Butcher, New Jersey’s Regional Membership Director of the Association of American Educators. Liz was born and raised in Atlantic County, where she lives with her husband and four children, two of whom have special needs. Where appropriate I’ve added links.  Laura: Liz, I confess that I don’t know much about the Association of American Educators (AAE). Can you fill me in? Liz: Of course. AAE …

Camden Parents Celebrate Their Power as All Schools Rise.

For the very first time more than 250 families who call Camden home joined together on October 19th for what will become an annual event: the Camden Parent Power Summit. Sponsored by Parents for Great Camden Schools, the event featured leadership training, workshops, networking opportunities, a local business expo, and a “Kids Fun Day.” The point was to train parents in educational advocacy, raise their comfort level with school involvement, and celebrate the academic gains …

Special Education Parents, Know Your Rights! (Part 2)

Last week I published a post called “Ten Lies That Parents Of Special Needs Kids Often Hear: Know Your Rights!” and suggested that we in the special needs community share information to better advocate for our children. During the past week I’ve received many questions and comments from parents who are doing their best to navigate what can be an overwhelming thicket of regulations and red tape as they struggle to secure necessary services for …

How Do Low Expectations Work For Asbury Park’s Special Needs Kids? Legislators and State Board Members Pay Heed.

On Tuesday I commented on the New Jersey Department of Education’s proposal to the State Board of Education to lower standards for high school graduation. Instead of focusing on what NJ parents really need — clear information about school quality and student progress towards independent adulthood (70% of NJ community college students have to take remedial courses on content they should have mastered in high school)  — the DOE, with the backing of Gov. Murphy/NJEA …

State Board of Education Caves to Murphy and Repollet’s Regressive Demands: Can the Assembly Save Our Kids?

Yesterday the State Board of Education (with the exception of bold Vice President Andy Mulvihill) folded to pressure and voted 12-1 to eliminate the 10th grade standardized assessments that offer guidance to families, teachers, and schools on students’ academic strengths and weaknesses. Think of this as a domino effect: NJEA leaders own Governor Murphy, who accepted an early endorsement in exchange for a promise to eliminate PARCC “Day 1.” Murphy owns Lamont Repollet (who, to …