New Jersey’s Charter Schools Share What’s Working and What’s Not During Remote Instruction

This is a guest post by Harry Lee, president and CEO of the New Jersey Public Charter School Association. It first appeared in NJ Spotlight. School districts across New Jersey are nearing the end of the state’s first foray into remote learning, due to COVID-19 school closures. As we reach the end of the school year, and begin planning for an upcoming year that looks increasingly uncertain, the state’s educational and policy leaders should take …

With Repetition and Consistency, This Special Education Teacher Is Keeping Her Students on Track

As New Jersey enters its fourth month of school closures due to COVID-19, students on the margins are predictably suffering the most, especially those with disabilities.  The learning loss is often exacerbated if a special needs student’s family is poor. “Special education looks so different for a privileged family than it does in other places,” said Jessica Bacon, a professor of teaching and learning at Montclair State University. “I think this is going to reveal …

Senator Ruiz amd Assemblywoman Lampitt Join Public Charter School Leaders To Share Best Practices for Home Instruction: Sign Up Now!

For teachers, parents, and administrators struggling to meet children’s educational needs during the coronavirus pandemic, here’s an opportunity to learn about best practices: Next Tuesday, May 19th, from 11 am to 12:15, the New Jersey Public Charter School Association is hosting a webinar to share innovative distance learning practices from schools that are knocking it out of the park. For families and public schools — both within and without New Jersey — this is a …

My Son’s School Is My Partner As We Work Together on His Emotional Health

This is a guest post by Alison Seanor, a parent of a first grade student at Elysian Charter School in Hoboken, New Jersey. Every morning I log into a Zoom and see dozens of smiling, six-year old faces beaming back at me.  My son isn’t one of them. He’s the one hiding under the coffee table at my feet.  Transitioning to remote learning has not been easy for my son, Nicholas. My normally calm and …

Why Can’t We Fix Asbury Park? Thirteen Years of State Oversight and Still Circling the Drain.

I’ve spent a fair bit of time recently on Asbury Park Public Schools at the behest of residents and staff members who have asked me to weigh in on the proposed 2020-2021 budget that the Board will approve on Thursday.  People are alarmed: They’re looking at a 22% school tax increase and, judging by reports of last week’s meeting, which I reported on here, Board members seemed fairly clueless about the details. Why? Because in …

This New Jersey District Isn’t Even Getting The Bare Essentials To Its Students

This is the first section of a two-part post. Today I’m looking at Paterson Public Schools and its sluggish response to students’ needs for home instruction during the coronavirus. The second section (up tomorrow or Wednesday) will look at how Paterson is, in some ways, a proxy for other NJ districts’ failures and how some of  its struggles can be traced back to the state Department of Education (not just the Murphy Administration) and even the …

Four Reasons Why Public Schools Won’t Return to “Normal” Anytime Soon

Yogi Berra proclaimed (perhaps apocryphally), “predictions are difficult, especially about the future.” I have no crystal ball but, whenever this pandemic subsides, I think we’re a long way out from returning to “normal” schooling. Why? Here are four reasons. Human Behavior:  My  husband is an avid sports fan. I’m not but tried to be supportive when he contemplated a summer without his season ticket to the Trenton Thunder, our local AA team. I said, “maybe …

During Covid-19, Are Charter Schools Leading the Way?

On Monday I looked at the stark disparities in the quality of online instruction offered to children during the COVID-19 school closures, comparing Princeton Regional Public Schools with Trenton City Public Schools. This is one data point, although representative of New Jersey’s two separate and unequal school systems, an exemplary one for the wealthy (disproportionately white and Asian) students and an inferior one for the poor (disproportionately black and brown) students. These inequities are exacerbated …

How Did College Achieve Public Charter Schools Pull Together Online Learning So Quickly and Effectively? Answers From the Founder.

This is a guest post by Mike Piscal, founder of College Achieve Public Schools in New Jersey, which operates six public charter schools in New Jersey. A week ago, we thought we were probably going to have to close our schools for a couple of weeks.  We started to plan.  Our network – College Achieve Public Schools (CAPS) – operates seven charter schools on six campuses in Paterson, Plainfield, North Plainfield, Neptune, and Asbury Park, …

Listen Up, New Jersey: It’s Time to Respect Parent Choice and Fairly Fund Public Charter School Facilities.

This is a guest post by Harry Lee, president of the New Jersey Public Charter Schools Association, and Patricia Morgan, executive director of JerseyCAN. Every student in New Jersey deserves to go to school in a safe, secure, and healthy school building. Since the 1980’s (when the New Jersey Supreme Court established a constitutional mandate that the state provide funding to low-income school districts), the state of New Jersey has spent roughly $15 billion on …