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: An Interview with Ruthven Haneef Auguste.

During this past weekend at the New Jersey Parent Summit (see here for an overview) I chatted with many parents. Over the next two weeks I’ll post some of the interviews. In some I’ve added links and editorial comments to add context. Here’s Newark dad Ruthven Haneef Auguste, who told me about his own school experiences and how he has fought for better outcomes for his three daughters. Laura: Haneef, can you tell me a …

What Does Your New VP of the New Jersey State Board of Education Think About Testing and Accountability? Let Him Tell You Himself.

Last week Andrew Mulvihill was elected Vice President of the New Jersey State Board of Education, with Kathy Goldenberg as President. He shared with me his remarks upon his election, prefacing them by noting that he is “looking forward to a fresh, new approach to how the board operates. With what limited power we do have I plan on pursuing an agenda that focuses on standards and accountability because that’s what’s best for New Jersey …

Paymon Rouhanifard and Cami Anderson Discuss the “Staggering Lack of Efficiency and Accountability” In the Schools Development Authority. Your Taxes at Work, Folks.

On Sunday TapintoNewark ran a piece that describes how over the last ten years “the state agency responsible for building schools in 31 former Abbott districts has spent more than $263 million to build five schools in Newark at a cost that far exceeded the limits set by the Legislature.” This agency is, of course, the scandal-ridden Schools Development Authority which is responsible for building and renovating school buildings in New Jersey’s Abbott districts. In …

People’s Prep Celebrates! Founder Jess Rooney Explains Her Work With Students Who Enter Years Behind Grade Level.

Last week I interviewed Jess Rooney, founder of People’s Prep, the only charter school in Newark without a “feeder,” i.e., an elementary and/or middle school that prepares students for rigorous high school academics. The reason for this interview is People’s Prep’s first celebration honoring the Class of 2019 and their families. But these honorees aren’t high school seniors: They’re college graduates. That’s because People’s Prep’s mission is to give students the tools to graduate from …

Project Ready Delivers Over 1,000 Care Packages To All Newark High School Graduates Embarking on College or the Military!

“Whether they’re attending college or joining our military, we want to support the next generation of Newark leaders by providing these graduating seniors with some essentials for their next chapter in life.One of those essentials is a voter registration form, because elections matter to our community and we want to empower our young leaders to use their voice to vote not just in the upcoming presidential election, but in all local races as well.” That’s …

Mashea Ashton Talks Newark, Cory Booker, and the Challenges of Launching Her Own School

This is a guest post by my friend and Colleague Maureen Kelleher. a senior writer and editor at Education Post where this piece first appeared. Her work has been published across the education world, from Education Week to the Center for American Progress. Mashea Ashton tells the truth, even when it’s hard. Almost three years ago, when she moved to Washington, D.C. to be closer to family, she initially rejected the idea of opening her own …

What I’ve Learned in 10 Years of Teaching at Newark’s KIPP Rise Academy

This is a guest post by Mark Joseph, a sixth-grade math teacher at KIPP Rise Academy in Newark, where he has taught for ten years. It was first published at Education Post. I am currently in my 12th year of teaching. I spent my first two years in The Bronx at P.S. 211 and have spent these past 10 years in Newark at Rise Academy. What follows is a series of recommendations to myself—the first, what …

New Community Advocacy Group Project Ready, Hosts “1,000 Newarkers Vote By Mail” Luncheon

I go to education-related events all the time but I’ve rarely been as inspired as I was Saturday in Newark. There, Shennell McCloud’s new community organization, Project Ready NJ, hosted a celebration of its successful first initiative: to get 1,000 Newarkers, mostly women of color, to register to vote by mail. Why? Because Shennell and her enthusiastic team believe voting is a critical issue of access and equity, as well as a key part of …

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 …