Great News For Newark Families: The Board of Education Just Renewed the City’s Universal Enrollment System!

Last night the Newark Board of Education renewed its collaboration with the city’s charter school sector by committing to continue the district’s universal enrollment system called Newark Enrolls. While there have been some challenges during the last seven years, the Board consensus is a win for district parents and children. “I believe families make decisions where their child should go,” Newark Superintendent Roger Leon said, “and I don’t think anyone should change that.” Kyle Rosenkrans, …

Newark Students “Show The Rest of the State What is Possible”: A New Analysis Reveals Four Straight Years of Citywide Improvements for Children.

The bottom line is that a larger share of Newark kids are reading and doing math on grade level again this year, and in so doing, they show the rest of the state and the country what’s possible.  That’s Kyle Rosenkrans, Executive Director of the New Jersey Children’s Foundation (NJCF), responding to his non-profit’s citywide analysis of Newark students’ outcomes in math and reading. The analysis, based on student performance on state standardized tests, shows …

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 …

At KIPP Seek Academy in Newark, It’s A Different Kind of Halloween!

 Today’s no ordinary day at KIPP Seek Academy in Newark. Instead of the traditional Halloween parades, students there are attending school today dressed in outfits that represent their hopes and dreams for the future. Oh, there is a parade, but instead of ghosts and Spiderman, students will dress as doctors, teachers, computer programmers, police officers, and even Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and astronaut Mae Jemison! After the parade, Seek students will participate in a …

Should the Opinions of “National Pundits” Outweigh the Opinions of Newark Residents on Charter Schools? A New Poll Reveals a Stark Difference.

“Contrary to what you may hear in the national narrative, there is a lot of public support for the historic progress Newark has made. Newark voters are still looking for more quality school options, and they broadly support public charter schools as part of the solution. We should trust the opinions of the people living in our communities and experiencing our school system every day over the opinions of national pundits.” That’s Kyle Rosenkrans, Executive …

Five Facts About A Request to Intervene In a Lawsuit Seeking to Deny School Choice to Low-Income New Jersey Families.

Yesterday a group of New Jersey public charter school parents, a Jersey City charter school, and the NJ Charter School Association (NJCSA) filed a motion to intervene in a May 2018 lawsuit filed by the New Jersey Coalition for Diverse and Inclusive Schools and litigated by a law firm called Pashman Stein. The Pashman Stein lawsuit charges that former Education Commissioner David Hespe’s 2016 approval of expansions in seven (now six) Newark charter schools should …

Voices From the NJ Parent Summit: Nicole Harris Says Parents Have The Right To Choose the Best Schools in Their Community — and That Choice May Be Different for Each Child.

During the first weekend in August, Project Ready hosted the New Jersey Parent Summit (see here for an overview). I chatted with many parents and this is the last of the posted interviews: See earlier ones here, here, here, here, and here.  In some cases I’ve added links and editorial comments to add context. This interview is with Nicole Harris, a mother of three who runs an afterschool program for 1,000 New Jersey students. Laura: Can you tell me a bit about …

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 …

Voices From the Parent Summit: Shayvonne Anderson Overcomes Personal Tragedy and Explains How Newark Got Beyond The “Charter vs. Traditional” School Mindset.

Shayvonne Anderson,  a lifelong Newark resident and mother of ten children, was elected this year to the Newark School Board as part of the Unity Slate. I interviewed her during the New Jersey Parent Summit (see here for an overview).  For other interviews with attendees, here are Ruthven Haneef Auguste and Jabbar Wilkins. In some cases I’ve added links and editorial comments to add context. Laura: Shayvonne, will you tell me a little about yourself …