“It’s Time To Step Away from the Zero-Sum Politics Around District and Charter Schools”: An Interview with Kyle Rosenkrans:

This week I interviewed Kyle Rosenkrans, the executive director of a newly-launched nonprofit called New Jersey Children’s Foundation (NJCF).   Rosenkrans, a Jersey native, plans to initiate a fact-based discussion about public education in Newark and, in doing so, encourage stakeholders to move away from the “zero-sum politics” that have characterized the growth of the public charter sector. Instead, he will urge all Newarkers towards a shared goal of doubling the number of students in …

What Sort of Teacher Union Leader Compares Teachers to Concentration Camp Prisoners? This One.

Last week I wrote a post called“Should Gov. Murphy Take Advice From Newark Teacher Union Prez John Abeigon on Charter Schools? Depends On How You Feel About Blackface.” There I noted Abeigon’s blustery defense of his mission to value adults over schoolchildren: “Everyone and their mother in this city is an advocate for the children,“ he explains. “I’m not the parents union…I’m not the children’s union.” In case you forgot, “it’s the Newark Teachers Union.” …

The Newark School Board Election Results Are In: Voters Choose Choice.

Here are two quotes that, for me, sum up yesterday’s school board election in Newark. Shayvonne Anderson, candidate on the Moving Newark Schools Forward slate, is a mother of 10 who founded a support group for women who have survived abuse and sends her children to a combination of Newark traditional schools and charter schools. She said, “I’m not a pro-charter parent. I’m a pro-choice parent.” Leah Owens, school board incumbent on the Children Over …

A Lawsuit Pressed By the Anti-Charter Gang Sheds Light on the Presumptions of White Privilege

Last Thursday I published a post about the North Jersey Media Group’s hit job on New Jersey’s public charter schools. This five-part series was rife with errors and distortions. The primary actors behind the scenes of the series are former judge/now attorney Gary Stein of Pashman Stein (his son Michael Stein is a partner), Education Law Center, NJEA, and some anti-charter lobbyists, including Rutgers Professor Bruce Baker. I didn’t know it at the time but …

Newark School Board Elections Signal A Shift on Charter Schools

On Tuesday, April 16th, Newark voters will select three School Board members. For the fourth consecutive year there is a slate of three candidates, once called the “Unity Slate,” now called “Moving Newark Schools Forward.” The evolution of this slate mirrors the evolution of Newark families’ and politicians’ sentiments about the public charter school sector in New Jersey’s largest school district. I work with a non-profit organization, a 501(c)3, and I don’t make endorsements. There …

As Newark Changes, We Can’t Leave Our Children Behind

This is a guest post by A. Robert Gregory, Superintendent/CEO of the Marion P. Thomas Charter School network and fromer Interim Superintendent of Newark Public Schools. He’s part of the annual Future Chiefs leadership program by Chiefs for Change, a national nonprofit organization.  I remember it like yesterday, driving up Springfield Avenue from Metropolitan Baptist Church in Newark with my grandmother, Juanita Gregory, more than 30 years ago. She was a first-generation Newarker who loved and …

A New Parent Advocacy Group Called “Project Ready” Launches in Newark: “It’s Time To Raise Our Voices,” says Leader Shennell McCloud

I first met Shennell McCloud, a tireless activist for the children and families of Newark, when she worked for KIPP New Jersey serving as Director of Recruitment and then as Director of Advocacy. We bonded personally over shared stories of our experiences with big-city public education (she in Newark, me in New York City) and having two children very close together. We’ve worked together professionally through her annual NJ Parent Summit and other Newark-based education-informed …

Tafshier Cosby-Thomas: “Parents are Making Choices for Their Children. Why Would Anyone Get in the Way of That?”

Last week I had the opportunity to interview long-time Newark resident Tafshier Cosby-Thomas on her experiences with the city’s public schools: traditional, magnet, and charter. While Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet, under instructions from Governor Phil Murphy, takes a “pause” on authorizing charter expansion in order to conduct his “review,” let’s pierce the smog of special interests and politicking around this hot-button issue and actually talk to parents whose children’s educational trajectory rides on decisions made …

Just Picture These Scholars Tomorrow! KIPP Joins with District Schools To Celebrate Future Heroes

Yesterday KIPP Seek Academy students enjoyed a Halloween parade with children from two district schools, George Washington Carver Elementary and Bruce Street School. But this was not your typical Halloween celebration! Instead of ghosts and goblins, 1,100 children dressed in costumes that represented their hopes and dreams for the future. According to KIPP, spectators caught a glimpse of “our future police officers, doctors, teachers and even Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Astronaut Mae Jemison.” After the …

Improving Special Education is a Priority for Newark Charters

Mark Rynone is Executive Director of the NJ Special Education Collaborative. Since its inception in 2013, the National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools has provided support to charter schools in Newark. The focus of our work has been to improve the capacity of charter schools across the city to ensure that they are equipped to provide high quality supports and services to students with a wide range of learning differences. In 2016, we …