Sometimes Timing is Everything: A New Program from Walton Family Foundation Offers Help For Charter Schools

The State of New Jersey is building a new school for Trenton Central High students and staff at the cost of  $117 million because Trenton is an Abbott district and state funds cover all costs of construction and renovation. Less than one mile away on Chambers Street, the International Academy of Trenton Charter School (IAT), as I wrote last week, is on the verge of closure. One reason that the Department of Education is rescinding …

I’m Celebrating How Newark Took Charter Schools From the Fringe to the Center

(Michele Mason is executive director of the Newark Charter School Fund, founded in 2008 to help provide all Newark students with access to great schools in collaboration with district efforts to improve the quality of Newark public education.) All parents deserve access to a high-quality school that nurtures and supports their children. But despite best intentions, many Newark parents continue to struggle finding great schools in the neighborhoods where they live. Many children fall victim …

How Deep Does Charter School Animus Run in Trenton? Ask the Head of the Trenton Teachers Union.

State unions are typically united. When the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) speaks, it speaks for all of its local bargaining units. But a recent series of events that revolves around a charter school in Trenton has disrupted that unanimity. The charter school that has fomented this atypical public display of discord is the International Academy of Trenton Charter School (IAT), now in its fourth year of operation with 700 students, grades K-5. After a …

Governor Murphy, This Is No Time for a Time Out on Charter Schools!

(Joanna Garnett Raeppold is a Jersey City resident and mother of two. Her sons are in Kindergarten and 4th grade at Learning Community Charter School. This first appeared in NJ Spotlight.) I am a proud charter school parent who voted for Gov. Phil Murphy. I support many of the governor’s key priorities and I’m excited for the changes he plans to make in New Jersey, including increasing funding to our public schools, fixing the inequality …

We Are #CharterStrong!

State Street in Trenton was hopping today! With the Senate and Assembly both in session on this bright chilly morning, NRA members gathered around the War Memorial to protest new gun control proposals, Lakewood attorney Michael Inzelbuch bussed in students to press the state for more money for non-public students, and Asbury Park residents gathered to support the confirmation of their former superintendent Lamont Repollet, nominated for State Education Commissioner. But the loudest and largest crowd …

When Politics Undermines Scholarship: A New “Analysis” from Julia Sass Rubin and Mark Weber

A new report is out called “New Jersey Charter Schools: A Data-Driven View – 2018 Update, Part I” by Julia Sass Rubin and Mark Weber. This study, draped with a Rutgers University banner, purports to be a scholarly analysis proving that charter schools are an untenable fiscal burden on traditional districts and enroll proportionally fewer special education students, English Language Learners, and low-income students than their sending district public schools. The report concludes with recommendations …

Why Mark Rynone Left Corporate to Help Kids With Special Needs

Mark Rynone considers his passion for education as an outgrowth of family values. After all, his mother, brother and a handful of other relatives work as teachers and education issues have dominated conversation at the dinner table since he was a child. While he first pursued business as a career—he thinks of this period now as the archetypal quest for independence—he never felt that he was “making a difference” in the corporate world. Hence, his …

Richard Buery, former New York City Deputy Mayor, Moves to KIPP

KIPP, the highly-regarded charter school network with 209 schools across the country serving 90,000 students, announced today the appointment of Richard Buery as Chief of Policy and Public Affairs. KIPP Chief Executive Richard Barth told the Wall Street Journalthat Buery “will be responsible for advocating for federal and state policies that make it easier for low-income students to afford college and overcome other barriers to success.” More specifically, Buery will sit on KIPP’s Senior Leadership Team and Operating …

New Report on Special Education in Charter Schools: Room to Grow, But Steady Progess

The National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools (NCSECS) released a report today, “Key Trends in Special Education in Charter Schools: A Secondary Analysis of the Civil Rights Data Collection,” which examines 2013-2014 data on enrollment and placements of children with disabilities in the nation’s charter schools. Let’s preface this post with a nod to those who claim that some charters produce better student outcomes because they don’t accept their “fair share” of  kids …

Newark Naysayers, Listen Up: A KIPP Teacher Dispels Some Myths

(This is a guest post by Tommy Luna, an 8th Grade Math Teacher and Grade Level Chair at KIPP’s Rise Academy in Newark, New Jersey.  Mr. Luna is a Newark resident and started his teaching career in Elizabeth, N.J.) Let’s be real, Newark often gets a bad rap as media attention tends to focus on the negatives in our city. And most of that narrative is told from people who don’t work here or live here who …