During Covid-19, Are Charter Schools Leading the Way?

On Monday I looked at the stark disparities in the quality of online instruction offered to children during the COVID-19 school closures, comparing Princeton Regional Public Schools with Trenton City Public Schools. This is one data point, although representative of New Jersey’s two separate and unequal school systems, an exemplary one for the wealthy (disproportionately white and Asian) students and an inferior one for the poor (disproportionately black and brown) students. These inequities are exacerbated …

This Father of a Special Needs Student Thinks Online Instruction Can Be A Great Fit.

This is a guest post by Jeff Kwitowski, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs & Policy at K12 Inc. For more than 20 years he’s been active in education policy and advocacy.  He lives in Herndon, VA with his wife, Rebecca, and their four daughters.  It was originally published on brightbeam’s Project Forever Free. Education in America came to a virtual standstill after schools were ordered closed in a nationwide effort to contain the spread …

How Did College Achieve Public Charter Schools Pull Together Online Learning So Quickly and Effectively? Answers From the Founder.

This is a guest post by Mike Piscal, founder of College Achieve Public Schools in New Jersey, which operates six public charter schools in New Jersey. A week ago, we thought we were probably going to have to close our schools for a couple of weeks.  We started to plan.  Our network – College Achieve Public Schools (CAPS) – operates seven charter schools on six campuses in Paterson, Plainfield, North Plainfield, Neptune, and Asbury Park, …

Will This Pandemic Force Us To Boldly Address the Inequities in Our Schools?

I live right off Route 206, a mostly two-lane road that begins in the Pinelands of southern New Jersey, winds 130 miles north to Stokes State Forest, and ends in Dingman Township, Pennsylvania. One twelve-mile stretch of 206 connects Princeton, Lawrence Township (where I live), and Trenton, the state capitol.  As COVID-19 affects, well, everything —here, we’re currently in something close to a lockdown, with a 158% jump in confirmed cases during the last three …

NJ’s Head of Special Education on Home Instruction for Students with Disabilities: “I’m Not Trying To Sugarcoat This in Any Way.”

If you’re a parent of a child with disabilities, you might have panicked when you read this yesterday: As part of [U.S.] Congress’ response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) has proposed to include a provision in the pending stimulus bill that would give the Secretary of Education authority to approve state waiver requests for any statutory and/or regulatory requirement of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for 1 year and extensions …

Schools Must Stop Using Students With Disabilities as An Excuse to Do Nothing

My husband and I have four children. Our three oldest are what we in the special needs community call “neuro-typical” and our youngest has multiple disabilities. Let’s pretend that they are all school-age—our whole family thrust into COVID-19 school-closure chaos—and we are informed that because our district can’t comply fully with our disabled child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP), our three other kids will have no support or instruction from their teachers for weeks or months. …

As New Jersey Schools Struggle to Go Virtual, Here’s What We Can Learn From New Egypt High School.

As COVID-19 continues to spread across New Jersey, “long term school closures are inevitable,” said Governor Phil Murphy on Friday. All across the country school districts are scrambling to replace traditional educational models of education—the teacher standing before students imparting knowledge—with, well, something else. New Jersey Commissioner of Education Lamont Repollet said, in reference to this transition, “We are pretty much creating a new educational system.” But at New Egypt High School, which I visited before the …

With Kids at Home, Parents Are Overwhelmed. Here Are Resources That Can Help.

This is a guest post by my friend and colleague Erika Sanzi. Erika is a former educator and elected school committee member and the chief editor of Project Forever Free, where this piece first appeared. I wish my kids loved to read. But they don’t. They don’t even like it very much. And this may present a challenge as we move forward into a pandemic that will likely have our kids out of school for …

Five Tips From a Teacher About Talking To Kids About Coronavirus Fears

This is a guest post by Dana Kaplan who has her MA in Early Childhood Education with an additional certification in Gifted Education. She recently launched her personal business, Developing Empathetic Education with Dana (D.E.E.D.), where she consults with schools and parents on the critical needs for Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) as well as gifted and talented and “all things school related.” This first appeared on brightbeam’s New York School Talk. As much as …