Some Schools Are Rising to the Challenge. Guess Which Ones Aren’t?

I wrote last week about Princeton Regional Public Schools’ high expectations for students during this pandemic in comparison to the low expectations for students who attend nearby Trenton Public Schools. If these school closures were (as originally predicted by our commander-in-chief) a short hiatus from traditional brick-and-mortar classroom instruction, we’d call it an inconvenience. But for students who attend districts like Trenton, both within and without New Jersey, lengthy school closures due to COVID-19 are …

Four Corrections to an Anti-Choice Op-Ed By the Head of the Newark NAACP.

Yesterday the Star-Ledger ran an op-ed by Deborah Smith Gregory, the president of Newark NAACP and chairperson of Alliance for Newark Public Schools, entitled, “Let’s pause the charter school experiment in Newark.”  As a public service, here are four corrections to this error-ridden attack on the public schools most popular with Black parents in Newark and across the country. Does it seem strange that the venerable and virtuous NAACP would fight against the interests of …

Is Newark Superintendent Leon Taking His Cues From Teacher Union President Who Approves of Blackface and Demeans Students on Facebook?

Last Tuesday a group of players on the junior varsity basketball team at Newark’s Malcolm Shabazz High School instigated a “violent attack” on their coach, punching and kicking until officials intervened.  Newark Teachers Union President John Abeigon responded with a long racist harangue on Facebook (since deleted but no worries: I saved it) that garnered 83 “thumbs up” emojis, 37 “love” emojis, and 157 shares. The rant is worth a look because it opens a …

Three Cheers for NJ DOE Commissioner Lamont Repollet!

Boy, I bet you didn’t expect to see that headline from me. I just can’t help myself: After Newark Superintendent Roger Leon —with no guidance from his School Board–demanded that Comm. Repollet close down four charter schools and “deny any and all requests for new charter schools and charter renewals unless the applicant shows that it would serve a specific educational need,” the answer appears to be “no.” Or close to that: Of the three …

Newark Superintendent Wants to Build That Wall. Will The DOE Stop Him?

Newark may have problems but one of them isn’t the production of drama. Recent example: Superintendent Roger Leon declared last month, ““I believe families should make decisions where their child should go [to school] and I don’t think anyone should change that.” Then last week  he took the unprecedented step of writing a (boiler-plate, error-ridden) letter to the New Jersey Department of Education demanding that four Newark charter schools be shut down. From all accounts, …

Charter Skeptics, Look at the Facts: The Majority of Newark Parents Say Charters Are Their First Choice as They Watch Their Children Thrive.

This is a guest post by Kyle Rosenkrans, founder and executive director of the New Jersey Children’s Foundation. Its mission is to invest in people, programs, and partnerships that will improve public education systems by putting the interests of children first. It first ran in the Star-Ledger. Facts, science, and truth matter more today than ever, as the public swims in a polluted ocean of “fake news” and stealthy misinformation campaigns to sway their opinion. …

What Happens When a Beloved Newark Charter School Is Threatened with Eviction? Ask Emma and Her Mom.

(This was originally published at Education Post.) Imagine that your 15-year-old daughter is enrolled in a public high school that you both chose for its affirmative culture and impressive academics. Your daughter—let’s call her Emma—struggled in middle school, yet midway through her sophomore year (finally!) she is flourishing, with a lovely group of friends, supportive teachers and a fierce determination to be the first in her family to go to college. But this afternoon she …

New Report Dispels Myths and Proves That Attending Newark Charter Schools Is Good for Children

Today the Manhattan Institute published a data analysis by senior fellow Marcus Winters called “Charter Schools in Newark: The Effect on Student Test Scores.” Unsurprisingly– a number of other reports have confirmed this (see here, here, here, here) — Newark charter school students outperform traditional school district students when assessed for proficiency in reading and math. What makes Winters’ analysis different is that he is able to control for a number of issues that often …

“Dear Commissioner Repollet”: NJ Children’s Foundation Fends Off Newark Superintendent’s “Ideology and Factual Misstatements” Against Charter Schools.

Below is a letter sent late yesterday from the New Jersey Children’s Foundation expressing the non-profit’s “vehement disagreement with the four letters submitted by the Newark school district last week opposing the renewal applications submitted by four Newark charter schools.” For my coverage of Newark Superintendent Roger Leon’s attempt to cancel parent voices, see here. January 6, 2020 Dr. Lamont Repollet, CommissionerNew Jersey Department of EducationP.O. Box 500Trenton, NJ 08625-0500 RE: Newark Charter Renewal Applications …

Cancel Culture in Newark: Superintendent Ignores Parent Voices and Demands Closure of Charters.

Last week Newark Superintendent Roger Leon wrote a letter to New Jersey Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet demanding that Repollet, NJ’s sole charter authorizer, not renew four Newark charter schools and “deny any and all requests for new charter schools and charter renewals unless the applicant shows that it would serve a specific educational need.”  Leon’s “request” is bewildering — not to mention arrogant — as he tries to cancel the voices of Newark parents who …