Is NJEA the Ventriloquist and Governor Murphy the Dummy?

Once upon a time the New Jersey Education Association was about education and professional development for teachers. But NJ’s primary teachers’ union has undergone a shift and, according to a new report out by Michael Lilley, “today’s NJEA is all politics.” This shift ties directly to the current shenanigans at the NJ Department of Education, which I’ve been covering for about nine months (complete NJ DOE Watch series here) and recent confirmation that  NJEA “contributed …

An Open Letter to Gov. Phil Murphy: Which Side Are You On?

Dear Governor Murphy, I heard you just demanded that State Board of Education member Jack Fornaro resign after he inquired whether Hispanic students in Paterson were capable of passing courses in American history. I share your concerns about Fornaro’s low expectations for students of color and applaud your quick response. That’s true progressivism in action within the realm of public education. Bully for you! But I’m confused. While you proudly identify as a progressive — …

Education Law Center and NJEA Are Not Celebrating National Charter Schools Week. Here’s Why.

School choice and equity supporters are celebrating National Charter Schools Week and in New Jersey we have an extra reason to celebrate. Last week a NJ Appellate Court upheld a 2016 decision by then-Education Commissioner David Hespe to allow seven Newark charter schools to expand. Who’s not celebrating? Education Law Center, which challenged the decision, as well as NJ’s primary union NJEA, which largely funds ELC and whose former and current Executive Directors sit on …

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 …

“It’s Time To Step Away from the Zero-Sum Politics Around District and Charter Schools”: An Interview with Kyle Rosenkrans:

This week I interviewed Kyle Rosenkrans, the executive director of a newly-launched nonprofit called New Jersey Children’s Foundation (NJCF).   Rosenkrans, a Jersey native, plans to initiate a fact-based discussion about public education in Newark and, in doing so, encourage stakeholders to move away from the “zero-sum politics” that have characterized the growth of the public charter sector. Instead, he will urge all Newarkers towards a shared goal of doubling the number of students in …

The Newark School Board Election Results Are In: Voters Choose Choice.

Here are two quotes that, for me, sum up yesterday’s school board election in Newark. Shayvonne Anderson, candidate on the Moving Newark Schools Forward slate, is a mother of 10 who founded a support group for women who have survived abuse and sends her children to a combination of Newark traditional schools and charter schools. She said, “I’m not a pro-charter parent. I’m a pro-choice parent.” Leah Owens, school board incumbent on the Children Over …

Should Gov. Murphy Take Advice From Newark Teacher Union Prez John Abeigon on Charter Schools? Depends On How You Feel About Blackface.

“We have no problem with getting more money into the pockets of our members. That’s what we’re about. We’re a union. It’s the Newark Teachers Union. A lot of people forget that. No, I’m not the parents union. I’m not the taxpayers union. I’m not the children’s union. The children in this city got more advocates than you can throw a…They got the [Advocates for Children of New Jersey], they got the Education Law Center, …

A Lawsuit Pressed By the Anti-Charter Gang Sheds Light on the Presumptions of White Privilege

Last Thursday I published a post about the North Jersey Media Group’s hit job on New Jersey’s public charter schools. This five-part series was rife with errors and distortions. The primary actors behind the scenes of the series are former judge/now attorney Gary Stein of Pashman Stein (his son Michael Stein is a partner), Education Law Center, NJEA, and some anti-charter lobbyists, including Rutgers Professor Bruce Baker. I didn’t know it at the time but …

This Newspaper Series Says NJ Charter Schools Are a “Flawed Experiment.” That’s Wrong — And The Series Itself Proves That.

After I read North Jersey Media Group’s (NJMG) voluminous series called “Millions of Your Tax Dollars Have Disappeared Into NJ’s Flawed Charter School Experiment,” I had two reactions. On the one hand, I was angry that the paper, with its ties to anti-charter groups, would have the chutzpah to publish a hit job on school choice without revealing its agenda. On the other hand I felt sorry for reporters Jean Rimbach and Abbott Koloff who, …

Newark School Board Elections Signal A Shift on Charter Schools

On Tuesday, April 16th, Newark voters will select three School Board members. For the fourth consecutive year there is a slate of three candidates, once called the “Unity Slate,” now called “Moving Newark Schools Forward.” The evolution of this slate mirrors the evolution of Newark families’ and politicians’ sentiments about the public charter school sector in New Jersey’s largest school district. I work with a non-profit organization, a 501(c)3, and I don’t make endorsements. There …