Two Rebellions in Lakewood: Latinx Parents Fight For Their Children While the Board Contests School Quality Scores.

“The board has no interest and shows no respect for us,” Norma Morales, mother of two Lakewood schools students, said in Spanish. “I feel very disappointed for how disrespectful they are, for how they treat us.” “We want to expose the abuse of power and the irregularities happening in our schools,” Ana Benito, mother of two Lakewood schools students, said in Spanish. “They’re not doing their job, and our children don’t have teachers and are …

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: An Interview with Jabbar Wilkins.

During this past weekend at the New Jersey Parent Summit (see here for an overview) I chatted with many parents. During the next two weeks I’m posting some of the interviews: See the first one here. In some cases I’ve added links and editorial comments to add context. Here’s Jabbar Wilkins, father of seven (three biological children and four step-children) who grew up and still lives in Camden. Laura: Jabbar, would you tell me about …

What Happens When Traditional Schools and Charter Schools Are Located in the Same Building? Answers from a Newark Mom.

April Peele is a Newark mother of a daughter who attends KIPP Seek Academy. I want to be completely honest with you: I don’t understand parents who say they don’t care what school their child goes to or what type of experience they have while they’re there. What parent in their right mind would say that? Certainly not me! When choosing a school for my daughter, I did my research. When I found KIPP I …

I Want To Raise My Children In A World Where People of Color Are Empowered To Vote: Here’s How We Get It Done!

Shennell McCloud is the Executive Director of Project Ready, an organization which seeks to engage more Newark, NJ families in decision-making. She is the mother of a two-year-old and one-year-old and lives with her husband in Newark. While watching Stacey Abrams deliver a passionate, articulate, and fiery response to the State of the Union, all I could think was “how could this woman possibly lose the election for governor of her state?” The real reason …

Citing Turnout, This Camden Parent Leader Salutes November School Board Elections

Bryan Morton is Executive Director of Parents for Great Camden Schools, which seeks to “empower, mobilize and strengthen the voice of every Camden parent to advocate for all children to receive a high quality education.”  It is a very exciting time to be a Camden parent! Our schools are making progress at a rate that was previously unheard of, quality options are available in almost every corner of the city, and most recently the community …

You Want An Authentic Charter School Review? New Jersey Has One Now! Parents Brave the Cold To Speak Truth to Comm. Repollet

Yesterday I stood outside State Department of Education in Trenton and watched dozens of parents deliver 2,000 postcards, carefully stacked in boxes, each pleading with DOE Commissioner Lamont Repollet to end the charter school moratorium. One by one, on frigid Riverside Plaza, parents approached the microphone and voiced support for public school choice in New Jersey. “Parents are standing strong, and we have a clear message for our leaders: we love our public charter schools …

For Parents Advocating For a Child with Disabilities, Here’s the Golden Rule: If You Don’t Ask for It, You Won’t Get It!

I have a new piece out in New Jersey Family Magazine on advocating for your child with special needs. It starts here: My husband and I welcomed our son into the world with the calm conviction of experienced parents. Jonah was our fourth child, and we were pros at child rearing, fluent in the language of raising kids. Feeding schedule? Check. Separation anxiety? Check. Toilet training? Check. Education? Check. But Jonah isn’t typical. When he …

No Matter What Anyone Says, the Money Ought to Follow the Kid Regardless of What Kind of Public School They Choose

This is a post by my friend and colleague Zachary Wright, a national finalist for the United States Department of Education’s School Ambassador Fellowship. Zach is an assistant professor of practice at Relay Graduate School of Education serving Philadelphia and Camden. Prior to that, he was the 12th-grade world literature and AP literature teacher at Mastery Charter School Shoemaker Campus, teaching the school’s first eight graduating classes. I am punching above my weight. I am no …