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: Shayvonne Anderson Overcomes Personal Tragedy and Explains How Newark Got Beyond The “Charter vs. Traditional” School Mindset.

Shayvonne Anderson,  a lifelong Newark resident and mother of ten children, was elected this year to the Newark School Board as part of the Unity Slate. I interviewed her during the New Jersey Parent Summit (see here for an overview).  For other interviews with attendees, here are Ruthven Haneef Auguste and Jabbar Wilkins. In some cases I’ve added links and editorial comments to add context. Laura: Shayvonne, will you tell me a little about yourself …

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 Does Your New VP of the New Jersey State Board of Education Think About Testing and Accountability? Let Him Tell You Himself.

Last week Andrew Mulvihill was elected Vice President of the New Jersey State Board of Education, with Kathy Goldenberg as President. He shared with me his remarks upon his election, prefacing them by noting that he is “looking forward to a fresh, new approach to how the board operates. With what limited power we do have I plan on pursuing an agenda that focuses on standards and accountability because that’s what’s best for New Jersey …

Newark Students Deserve Education Champions Who Keep Their Promises

This is a guest post by Tommy Luna who is currently entering his 10th year as an eighth grade math teacher at Newark’s Rise Academy. He is also co-chair for the grass-roots group Newark for Educational Equity and Diversity (NEED). This first appeared at Education Post. It’s no secret that education in the city of Newark has had a tumultuous history. It’s a history with a complex narrative—going from a distinguished district to a state …

New Credo Study on Camden Proves That “You Can Provide More High Quality Choices for Families” and Improve Outcomes for “Students Who Have Been Most Underserved.”

The Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University (CREDO) has almost completed  its City Studies Project with the aim “to provide the public with periodic reports of academic performance for public K-12 schools in selected cities across the United State.” Eleven urban school districts are included (and the only one not posted yet is Oakland). One of those cities is Camden, New Jersey and yesterday CREDO released its findings, which indicate both good …

People’s Prep Celebrates! Founder Jess Rooney Explains Her Work With Students Who Enter Years Behind Grade Level.

Last week I interviewed Jess Rooney, founder of People’s Prep, the only charter school in Newark without a “feeder,” i.e., an elementary and/or middle school that prepares students for rigorous high school academics. The reason for this interview is People’s Prep’s first celebration honoring the Class of 2019 and their families. But these honorees aren’t high school seniors: They’re college graduates. That’s because People’s Prep’s mission is to give students the tools to graduate from …

New Newark Report: Improvements in Academic Growth for Children in Both District and Charter Schools But There’s More Work To Do.

The New Jersey Children’s Foundation (NJCF) just issued an analysis called “A New Baseline: Progress in Newark’s District and Charter Schools from 2006 to 2018,” written by Jesse Margolis and Eli Groves of MarGrady Research. This inaugural project for NJCF fits neatly into its vision: providing clear, practical information so that all people — parents, students, teachers, school leaders — can have access to accurate facts about student growth and school quality. The data is …

Repollet Rumor Expansion, Plus Commentary on a New DOE Appointment.

I stand corrected. Yesterday, in reporting on a rumor about the departure of Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet, I noted that “17 out of 55 leadership positions are marked ‘vacant’ on the DOE organization chart.” A few hours after I published that post the State Board of Education, reports NJ Spotlight, approved six candidates for those leadership positions, leaving only 11 out of 55 seats that “had been long-vacant under [Repollet].” Sometimes timing is everything, not …