I Spit Out My Coffee When I Read Cory Booker’s Op-Ed: Nine Theories That Explain His Change of Heart.

I gasped as I opened the op-ed section of the New York Times this morning and read Senator Cory Booker’s column repudiating his regressive stance on public charter schools. Until he entered the Democratic presidential nominating contest Booker was one of the nation’s most eloquent supporters for school choice, with his hometown of Newark the proofpoint for the impact of a high-quality charter sector on a struggling school system. But when he entered the primary …

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 …

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 …

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 …

The NJ DOE Is Desperate to Lower Standards. Here is Why This Approach Will Make State Tests More Stressful For Students.

This is an guest post by Patricia Morgan, Executive Director of JerseyCAN and Shelley Skinner, Executive Director of Better Education for Kids. It first appeared in NJ Spotlight. If we can all agree that the goal of student assessments should be to maximize the value and timeliness of the data received and minimize the amount of stress we put on students, then the latest proposal from Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet and the state Department of …

Notes from the New Jersey Charter School Association Convention (And Snaps To Repollet for Showing Up).

I got back yesterday  from the 11th annual New Jersey Charter School Association Convention, which celebrates the  school leaders and teachers who serve 55,000 students in alternative public schools. As NJCSA President Harry Lee noted, “public charter schools are knocking it out of the park in the Garden State and should be held up as a model for the rest of the public school community in New Jersey.” Here are a few highlights. Informal poll  …

Who Is in the Driver’s Seat: NJEA Leaders or Phil Murphy?

Two weeks ago Governor Phil Murphy was the guest speaker at Rider University’s Rebovich Institute for Politics’ “Governing New Jersey” series.* As reported by always-reliable journalist Lea Kahn, Murphy listed three educational priorities: 1)“fully funding the pension system;” 2)”bringing health care costs down — particularly, the percentage that teachers must contribute toward their health insurance premium;”  and 3) reversing “the shocking diminution in the number of future teachers in the pipeline” while making NJ “number …

Ed Richardson (Very Quietly) Out as NJEA Executive Director.

This is a guest post by Michael Lilley, Founder and President of the Sunlight Policy Center of New Jersey, which seeks to educate residents on the way NJEA “uses their tax dollars against their own interests, secures benefits for the few over the many, and blocks needed reforms.” This was originally published on SPCNJ’s website. This month’s NJEA Review revealed that Ed Richardson is no longer the executive director of the NJEA, having been replaced by another long-time …