Lamont Repollet and the 64 Floor: How Did He Raise Asbury Park’s Graduation Rate? Let’s Do the Math.

When Governor Phil Murphy appointed then-Asbury Park Superintendent Lamont Repollet as New Jersey Commissioner of Education in 2018, he cited the “dramatic” increase in the long-troubled district’s graduation rate as proof of Repollet’s ability to raise student achievement. Indeed, as media reported, under his tenure the Asbury Park High School graduation rate rose from 49 to 71 percent during Repollet’s four years there. Remarkable, right? Especially in a district where 15.1 percent of students met …

Newark School Board Elections Signal A Shift on Charter Schools

On Tuesday, April 16th, Newark voters will select three School Board members. For the fourth consecutive year there is a slate of three candidates, once called the “Unity Slate,” now called “Moving Newark Schools Forward.” The evolution of this slate mirrors the evolution of Newark families’ and politicians’ sentiments about the public charter school sector in New Jersey’s largest school district. I work with a non-profit organization, a 501(c)3, and I don’t make endorsements. There …

People Show You Who They Are, Including The Head of Student Services At The New Jersey Department of Education. New Info From Asbury Park.

“When someone shows you who they are,” said Maya Angelou, “believe them the first time.” This would have been good advice for  Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet before he hired Carolyn Marano as Assistant Commissioner of Student Services at the Department of Education. We can’t absolve him on the basis of ignorance; after all, she was his Supervisor of Special Services when he was Superintendent at Asbury Park Public Schools. But I guess he likes what …

KIPP Camden Students Rock a Hackathon with A Jewish Day School!

What happens when schools, regardless of governance, work together to enrich student learning? This happens: a “Hackathon,” born through a collaboration between KIPP Lanning Square Middle School (KLSM) in Camden, one of Camden’s hybrid traditional/charter schools (also known as “renaissance” schools) and a private Jewish day school called Kellman Brown Academy (KBA) in Voorhees. Last week 25 students from each school met for two days at KBA to produce devices intended to help people with …

In Jersey City the Teacher Union Is Bargaining On Both Sides of the Table. Last Night One Ethical Board Member Tried to Uphold District Integrity.

I was a school board member for twelve years, including nine years as president. I thought I’d seen it all, including fraught negotiations with unions. I remember one particular negotiating session that commenced at 5 pm and concluded (successfully!) at 3:30 am the following morning. I ran home, got the house in order, packed lunches, got my kids ready for school, and was back in the Central Office by 8 am to sign a Memorandum …

There’s a New Report Out From NACSA on ‘Reinvigorating the Pipeline’ for Charter Schools. Too Bad Jersey Is Out of the Running.

I’ll bet you know that the pace of charter school growth has slowed throughout the country. But you may not know that while approvals of “no excuses” charter schools are way down, approvals of “diverse by design” schools are way up. That’s one of the conclusions of a new report just put out by the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (fondly known as NACSA) called “Reinvigorating the Pipeline: Insights into Proposed and Approved Charter …

Eight Corrections To An Error-Ridden Story About Cory Booker’s Education Legacy in Newark

Two weeks ago the Los Angeles Times ran an editorial that poses as journalism. Either that or the paper really needs to beef up its fact-checking department. In the interest of clearing up this false narrative about Cory Booker and his charter school legacy in Newark (first described incorrectly in Dale Russakoff’s The Prize), here are eight substantive items that the LA Times got wrong.  Correction #1: Newark’s “radical experiment in school choice” wasn’t that …

My Worlds Converge: A Personal Story About My Son, My Sister, Disabilities, and The Contraction of Education Reform.

Tomorrow is the Ides of National Disabilities Month, but in my family we observe this designation every day.  Our fourth child, Jonah, has Fragile X Syndrome, a genetic mutation that can cause (as it does in our son’s case) a constellation of symptoms including global developmental delays and autistic-like behaviors. My sister is afflicted by both physical disabilities and psychological disorders; as the only other surviving member of our original family (none of whom died …

If Your Kid Is a Ninth or Tenth Grader, He or She May Have to Take a Test on a Course Taken Three Years Ago. Unless This Happens.

Let’s say you’re a New Jersey parent of a current 10th grader. Your child, like one-third of New Jersey students, took Algebra 1 in 8th grade and, of course, is taking 10th grade English Language Arts right now. Guess what? Next year there is a very strong likelihood that your kid is going to have to take a standardized test in Algebra 1, a course he took three years previously, as well as repeat the …

Mashea Ashton Talks Newark, Cory Booker, and the Challenges of Launching Her Own School

This is a guest post by my friend and Colleague Maureen Kelleher. a senior writer and editor at Education Post where this piece first appeared. Her work has been published across the education world, from Education Week to the Center for American Progress. Mashea Ashton tells the truth, even when it’s hard. Almost three years ago, when she moved to Washington, D.C. to be closer to family, she initially rejected the idea of opening her own …