Paymon Rouhanifard and Cami Anderson Discuss the “Staggering Lack of Efficiency and Accountability” In the Schools Development Authority. Your Taxes at Work, Folks.

On Sunday TapintoNewark ran a piece that describes how over the last ten years “the state agency responsible for building schools in 31 former Abbott districts has spent more than $263 million to build five schools in Newark at a cost that far exceeded the limits set by the Legislature.” This agency is, of course, the scandal-ridden Schools Development Authority which is responsible for building and renovating school buildings in New Jersey’s Abbott districts. In …

Citing Turnout, This Camden Parent Leader Salutes November School Board Elections

Bryan Morton is Executive Director of Parents for Great Camden Schools, which seeks to “empower, mobilize and strengthen the voice of every Camden parent to advocate for all children to receive a high quality education.”  It is a very exciting time to be a Camden parent! Our schools are making progress at a rate that was previously unheard of, quality options are available in almost every corner of the city, and most recently the community …

Confessions of a Jersey-Born White Teacher in an Urban School

(This is a guest post by Jennifer Rich, an assistant professor in the College of Education at Rowan University, and the director of research and education for the Rowan Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies. It first appeared in the Hechinger Report.) My first year of teaching, I did almost everything wrong. They tell you to be yourself. Here was my first mistake: I didn’t want to be myself. I wanted to be Michelle Pfeiffer. …

Murphy Gives A Big Wet Kiss to NJEA and a Punch to the Gut for Camden Families as He Vetoes a Student-Centered Bill.

Last week Governor Phil Murphy “conditionally” vetoed a bill that would have allowed the most popular and high-achieving public schools in Camden to add seats, expanded parents’ public school options, and stabilized the universal enrollment system called Camden Enrollment. He did this at the bidding of NJEA, which celebrated by issuing a press release lauding Murphy’s dedication to “truly public schools” that are run “not for the benefit of outside corporate management companies.” Camden teacher …

Getting the Facts Straight on New Jersey Charter Schools: This Is No Time For a “Pause” On High-Quality Charter Growth

Donna Siminski is Director of Policy and Advocacy for the New Jersey Charter School Association with a focus on the policy issues impacting the the state’s charter schools. Donna works with members, charter families, and charter school professionals to advocate for high-quality charter schools and the children they serve. Governor Murphy and Acting Commissioner Repollet are interested in New Jersey’s charter school facts and reviewing the current law & regulations. As this analysis proceeds, the …

When Politics Undermines Scholarship: A New “Analysis” from Julia Sass Rubin and Mark Weber

A new report is out called “New Jersey Charter Schools: A Data-Driven View – 2018 Update, Part I” by Julia Sass Rubin and Mark Weber. This study, draped with a Rutgers University banner, purports to be a scholarly analysis proving that charter schools are an untenable fiscal burden on traditional districts and enroll proportionally fewer special education students, English Language Learners, and low-income students than their sending district public schools. The report concludes with recommendations …

Why Mark Rynone Left Corporate to Help Kids With Special Needs

Mark Rynone considers his passion for education as an outgrowth of family values. After all, his mother, brother and a handful of other relatives work as teachers and education issues have dominated conversation at the dinner table since he was a child. While he first pursued business as a career—he thinks of this period now as the archetypal quest for independence—he never felt that he was “making a difference” in the corporate world. Hence, his …

Richard Buery, former New York City Deputy Mayor, Moves to KIPP

KIPP, the highly-regarded charter school network with 209 schools across the country serving 90,000 students, announced today the appointment of Richard Buery as Chief of Policy and Public Affairs. KIPP Chief Executive Richard Barth told the Wall Street Journalthat Buery “will be responsible for advocating for federal and state policies that make it easier for low-income students to afford college and overcome other barriers to success.” More specifically, Buery will sit on KIPP’s Senior Leadership Team and Operating …

Does a New Jersey High School Diploma Signify Anything At All?

Here’s the start of my new column at NJ Spotlight Last month, New Jersey’s new acting Commissioner of Education Lamont Repollet described the state’s sixth year in a row of increased high school graduation rates – now 90.5 percent – as “exciting,” because it “demonstrates we are on a path toward closing our achievement gaps and achieving excellent and equitable educational opportunities for our children.” Mr. Repollet is both right and wrong. New Jersey is on the …

Charter Schools Closing in on State Averages on Third Year of PARCC Testing: Newark Charters Outperform State Average in Math

New Jersey charter schools continue to narrow the achievement gap on the third year of Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exams based on data released this fall from the New Jersey Department of Education for the 2016-17 school year. “The release of PARCC scores confirms what we have known about New Jersey’s charter schools: they are closing the achievement gap for economically disadvantaged students and in some cases, outperforming the …