In Ninety Minutes a NJ Legislative Committee Will Vote On Whether It Values Educational Equity For Children

At 1:00 today, the the New Jersey Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee will consider Bill 3381, sponsored by Senator Teresa Ruiz, who is Chair of the Senate Education Committee. This bill “revises provisions of law concerning graduation proficiency test and eliminates requirement that graduation proficiency test be administered in eleventh grade.” The reason for the bill’s urgency — it’s a last-minute addition to today’s legislative schedule — is that yesterday the State Appellate Court, which …

As N.J. Governor, Legislature & Teachers Union Wrangle Over PARCC, the Fate of 170,000 High School Seniors Hangs in the Balance

Check out my new column in The 74. It starts here: Phil Murphy won his New Jersey governorship in 2017 by promising progressive action on items as varied as a $15 minimum wage, raising taxes on millionaires, increasing gun control, and fully funding schools and teacher pensions. Another of those promises, as he vowed during his keynote at the 2016 New Jersey Education Association convention, was to “scrap PARCC day one.” Now this anti-Chris Christie …

How My Husband and I Were Privileged Over Other Parents Who Seek Public School Choice

I am a mom of a son with multiple disabilities. This means that, by definition, I am a school choice supporter. Nobody bothered me and my husband when we pursued school choice. Nobody tried to disparage our reputations or vilify us. Nobody tried to stop us from making choices; in fact, they supported us. Yet groups like NJEA, Education Law Center, and Save our Schools-NJ disparage low-income families and racial minorities who want what we …

NJ Court Rules PARCC Violates State Law So Now We Can Pretend Again That All Our Schools Are Great. Trenton Students Beg To Differ.

An article in Tuesday’s Trentonian recounts interviews with Trenton Central High School students, almost all Black,  Hispanic, and poor, who are stuck in a district where they feel unsafe and uneducated. Simultaneously, an appellate court ruled Monday that the New Jersey Department of Education’s regulations governing PARCC assessments “are in violation of laws passed by the Legislature.” Those particular laws say that high school diploma qualifying tests must be given in 11th grade but the …

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 …

Not So Fast with the “We” Word, Trenton Superintendent McDowell. You’re Leaving Out the Parents.

“We in Trenton are adamantly opposed to charter school expansion,” Trenton Superintendent Dr. Fred McDowell said Wednesday at a community meeting on the subject. “We are united in that statement.” Um, no, Dr. McDowell. I don’t know whom you are referring to when you say “We in Trenton” but it’s definitely not the Trenton parents I spoke to at last weekend’s NJ Parent Summit, where 250 parents, mostly single moms of color, mostly from Abbott …

Camden Families Beg To Differ With NJEA and Education Law Center: Pass That Bill!

Alert! Alert! A new bill in the New Jersey Legislature intends to infest Camden’s traditional school system with a malignancy disguised as a minor legislative tweak. This new bill, an adjustment to the 2012 Urban Hope Act, threatens to decimate the district by siphoning resources from real public schools in order to dramatically expand the reach of fake public schools, also known as “renaissance” schools, which are run by craven privatizers. In addition, the bill …

Karp the PARCC-Slayer

Stan Karp, Director of of Secondary Reform for New Jersey’s Education Law Center, had an op-ed in NJ Spotlight on Friday that was rife with errors. As a public service here are four corrections. But first let’s examine Karp the PARCC Slayer’s arguments. According to our test-averse warrior, N.J.’s  high school diploma requirement — students must pass the Algebra 1 and 10th grade English state standardized tests in order to graduate, with portfolio options for students …

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 …

A Fiscal Realist Responds to David Sciarra’s Innumeracy

David G. Sciarra, executive director of the Education Law Center, wrote an editorial last week in NJ Spotlight slamming former Governor Chris Christie for not spending enough on schools, creating a “false narrative of public school failure,” and a variety of other sins. But redemption is near, Sciarra rejoices, because new Governor Phil Murphy magically will fully fund the School Funding Reform Act (SFRA), expand free Pre-Kindergarten, and restore funding for facilities costs in Abbott districts. …