I Spit Out My Coffee When I Read Cory Booker’s Op-Ed: Nine Theories That Explain His Change of Heart.

I gasped as I opened the op-ed section of the New York Times this morning and read Senator Cory Booker’s column repudiating his regressive stance on public charter schools. Until he entered the Democratic presidential nominating contest Booker was one of the nation’s most eloquent supporters for school choice, with his hometown of Newark the proofpoint for the impact of a high-quality charter sector on a struggling school system. But when he entered the primary …

Camden Parents Celebrate Their Power as All Schools Rise.

For the very first time more than 250 families who call Camden home joined together on October 19th for what will become an annual event: the Camden Parent Power Summit. Sponsored by Parents for Great Camden Schools, the event featured leadership training, workshops, networking opportunities, a local business expo, and a “Kids Fun Day.” The point was to train parents in educational advocacy, raise their comfort level with school involvement, and celebrate the academic gains …

Is Andrew Yang the Only One Brave Enough to Speak the Truth About Our Public Schools?

This is a guest post by my fellow education reform warriior (and close friend) Erika Sanzi who blogs about education in Rhode Island and New England at Good School Hunting. Erika is a mother of three sons and taught in public schools in Massachusetts, California and Rhode Island. This was originally published at Education Post. Education voters—people for whom education is the issue that determines their vote— have been banging our heads against the wall forever during …

Notes from the New Jersey Charter School Association Convention (And Snaps To Repollet for Showing Up).

I got back yesterday  from the 11th annual New Jersey Charter School Association Convention, which celebrates the  school leaders and teachers who serve 55,000 students in alternative public schools. As NJCSA President Harry Lee noted, “public charter schools are knocking it out of the park in the Garden State and should be held up as a model for the rest of the public school community in New Jersey.” Here are a few highlights. Informal poll  …

NJCSA Takes a Stand Against For-Profit Charter School Operators at Annual Convention.

This is a press release from the New Jersey Charter School Association. Atlantic City, NJ- On October 14th and 15th, the New Jersey Charter Schools Association hosted its annual conference, “Excellence, Equity and Innovation” where more than 500 charter school professionals, advocates, and policymakers from across the state gathered together to examine a wide variety of topics surrounding public charter schools. During Tuesday’s keynote address, Harry Lee, President of the New Jersey Charter School Association, …

Lessons Learned From Camden As All Schools Rise.

Camden City Public Schools just announced that, for the fourth year in a row, students in both traditional and renaissance schools are improving their academic skills. In 2014-15, based on state standardized tests, 4.3% of students were proficient in math; last Spring 15% met or exceeded expectations. In 2014-15, 7% of students were proficient in English Language Arts (ELA); now 21% are. Question: How did this turnaround occur in what was once New Jersey’s worst …

Should the Opinions of “National Pundits” Outweigh the Opinions of Newark Residents on Charter Schools? A New Poll Reveals a Stark Difference.

“Contrary to what you may hear in the national narrative, there is a lot of public support for the historic progress Newark has made. Newark voters are still looking for more quality school options, and they broadly support public charter schools as part of the solution. We should trust the opinions of the people living in our communities and experiencing our school system every day over the opinions of national pundits.” That’s Kyle Rosenkrans, Executive …

“If the Latino Action Network Would Actually Look at My Children’s Classrooms They Would Know They’re Wrong About Segregation”: A Latina Mother Contests A Specious Lawsuit.

This week I had the pleasure of speaking with Ana Maria De La Roche Araque, one of the three parents interveners in the lawsuit Latino Action Network v. State of New Jersey. (For the charter schools’ response, see here; for my commentary on the lawsuit, see here, here, and here.) Ana joins two other charter school parents, along with the New Jersey Charter School Association and Beloved Community Charter School in Jersey City, in seeking …

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 …