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, …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …