Latest News on New Jersey’s (Rapidly Changing) School Reopening Plans.

It’s not a secret how all this should work. When anticipating prolonged school closures, states need to set clear expectations for the quality of learning models and ensure that all students are equipped with the technology necessary to access online instruction. New Jersey, particularly at the level of the State Department of Education, has failed in every way. And now, a month before school reopenings, a soon-to-be-proposed Assembly bill —that may best protect students and …

A Tale of Two Cities: Remote Instruction in Princeton and Trenton

We’re about 5 weeks into our coronavirus lock-down in New Jersey, about a month since much of America has embarked on a national experiment of remote instruction that likely will continue for the duration of the school year.  In New Jersey this means 555 school districts are independently creating remote learning plans, coming up with laptop distribution strategies, figuring out meal delivery for low-income kids, and setting expectations for students. On the face of it, …

A Nifty Fix for the New Jersey Segregation Lawsuit?

Last week I wrote about a lawsuit currently before Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson which charges that New Jersey’s public schools are unconstitutionally segregated due to our policy of assigning students to districts where their families can afford the rent or mortgage. The endgame pressed by the plaintiffs in the suit —New Jersey Coalition for Diverse & Inclusive Schools, the Latino Action Network, and NAACP —mirrors that of anti-choice zealots: To halt the expansion of …

Voices from the Parent Summit: Tafshier Cosby-Thomas on Charter School Wars, a Pact With Her Sisters, and Helping Parents Become Education Advocates.

Last year I interviewed Tafshier Cosby-Thomas about her educational experiences in Newark, both as a student and a parent. At the time of that interview, the New Jersey Department of Education was in the midst of its Charter School Act Review and soliciting input from lobbyists and, more importantly, parents. Tafshier was one of those parents. (Scroll to the bottom of this post for a video of her addressing  the DOE and Commissioner Repollet).When I …

Newark Students Deserve Education Champions Who Keep Their Promises

This is a guest post by Tommy Luna who is currently entering his 10th year as an eighth grade math teacher at Newark’s Rise Academy. He is also co-chair for the grass-roots group Newark for Educational Equity and Diversity (NEED). This first appeared at Education Post. It’s no secret that education in the city of Newark has had a tumultuous history. It’s a history with a complex narrative—going from a distinguished district to a state …

Here’s What’s Wrong With Save Our Schools-NJ’s Answers to the DOE Charter School Survey. Or, Let Them Eat Cake.

Last week the anti-choice/accountability Princeton-based group called Save Our Schools-New Jersey summoned its Facebook members to fill out the survey that is part of the state’s charter school law review.  No brain required because SOS-NJ has helpfully given supporters the answers to the survey; all they have to do is cut and paste. There’s one problem with this convenience: the answers SOS-NJ supplies contradict best practices and distort facts. As a public service I’m providing …

Six Ways in Which Lakewood is “Special”; Or, What Happens When Local Control Runs Wild

I’ve been thinking about local control lately and the ways in which it contributes, both locally and nationally, to public education inequities. New Jersey, of course, is local control run wild —  late Assemblyman Alan Karcher called us an exemplar of  “multiple municipal madness” —  with our 590 school districts and 565 municipalities. Every attempt to even out disparities in funding and affordable housing fails miserably because no amount of money — think of Asbury …

Princeton Palace: This is What’s Wrong with Local Control

When my husband Dennis and I were getting ready to move from upstate New York to a new home within a reasonable commuting distance to his office in Manhattan, we zeroed in on Mercer County in Central Jersey. After all, you can get to Penn Station in an hour on an express NJ Transit train, we’d be reasonably close to my family, and housing prices were more affordable than, say, Westchester or Connecticut. Of course, …

Cerf: “This Is The Moment. The Biggest Risk as We Go To Local Control Is That Lurking In the Background Is a Real Transactional Mentality.”

Last week in The 74 I analyzed the legacy of Chris Cerf’s tenure in New Jersey, both as Commissioner of Education and, more recently, as state-appointed Superintendent of Newark Public Schools. Part of my analysis came from a conversation we had last month and I wasn’t able to work all the content into the article. So, in the interest of completeness, here are some of his answers to other questions I posed to him. Waters: …