Newark’s Newest Charter School Leader Is Well Equipped to Manage School Reopenings Amidst a Pandemic

“The key is a great team of committed professionals — even in the midst of a pandemic, even in the midst of uncertainty— so that our scholars thrive and succeed.” That’s Dr. Christy Oliver-Hawley, the new Head of Schools for Newark’s University Heights Charter School (UHCS) as she takes over three schools with 926 pre-K-8th grade students in the Central Ward. Her recent appointment is a culmination of both UHCS’s national search for a leader …

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 …

Braven + Rutgers-Newark=”The American Dream.”

Braven, a nonprofit founded in 2013 with a mission to empower first-generation college students, particularly low-income students of color, has something to celebrate. According to its new 2020 Newark Jobs Report, in 2019, 130 Braven Fellows graduated from Rutgers-Newark University and 75% of graduates have had “strong job attainment” within six months of graduation, compared to 46% of their peers. That’s the point of Braven: Its Fellows receive personalized support, experience in the workplace, and …

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, …

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 …

Bloomfield College Inaugurates a New President: Meet Dr. Marcheta Evans, A Woman With Big Plans.

Last week I spoke with Dr. Marcheta P. Evans, the new president of Bloomfield College, whose inauguration is today. Dr. Evans was most recently the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas, and has spent her life in education. As a Black woman in the largely white and male-dominated field of academic leadership, she has a history of overcoming obstacles and anticipates turning Bloomfield College, …

Top Democratic Candidates’ Disrespect for Parents of Color Has Me Wondering If I Fit Into This Party Anymore.

Politico reports today that Elizabeth Warren’s support among Democratic and left-leaning Independent primary voters “plunged 50 percent over the past month, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll.”  The article speculates her “plummet” may be due to her “Medicare for All” plan, but, in a fit of wishful thinking — educational equity advocates should have such sway! — I wonder if Warren’s loss of support is at least partially due to last Friday’s news that …

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 …

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 …