Just How Good Is Your Local School District? You Won’t Find Out By Browsing Ratings Sites. Spotlight on Princeton, Montclair, and Newark.

Over the weekend the Star-Ledger published a list of high schools with “surprisingly low scores” on school quality. Unlike the algorithms used by sites like the U.S. News and World Report ratings, which are limited to overall averages on tests like the SAT, New Jersey, like many other states, evaluates schools in a more granular manner (per federal education law), using a combination of student growth on standardized tests, graduation rates, and chronic absenteeism, the latter an indication …

Shavar Jeffries, Montclair Public Schools, and the ESSA Shell Game

I once heard a Montclair High School student describe how he could tell whether a class was an AP or honors course by glancing into the room: If the students inside were almost all white, it was AP or honors; if the students were mostly Black and brown it wasn’t. That’s Montclair, a plush district in Essex County that is externally diverse but internally segregated. The 6,700 students are half White, one-third Black, and one-tenth …

This Montclair Mom Moves to Brooklyn with Her Special Needs Son: Here’s What Happens

Nine-year-old Wesley Clark is a fourth-grader at PS 8 in Brooklyn Heights. He and his family were recently profiled in the New York Post, which described PS 8 as a “supposedly progressive” public school “that talks a good game about inclusion but is purposely neglecting their child to try to get him to leave.” Could this be true? Bewildered, I gave Wesley’s mom, Kim Williams Clark, a call. She was generous with her time and her story. First I asked …