A New Parent Advocacy Group Called “Project Ready” Launches in Newark: “It’s Time To Raise Our Voices,” says Leader Shennell McCloud

I first met Shennell McCloud, a tireless activist for the children and families of Newark, when she worked for KIPP New Jersey serving as Director of Recruitment and then as Director of Advocacy. We bonded personally over shared stories of our experiences with big-city public education (she in Newark, me in New York City) and having two children very close together. We’ve worked together professionally through her annual NJ Parent Summit and other Newark-based education-informed …

Murphy Administration Grants Renewals To Five High-Performing Urban Charter Schools

This is a press release from the New Jersey Charter School Association, a statewide association representing the state’s charter sector. Last week, the New Jersey Department of Education granted five high-performing charter schools authorization to serve students for another five-year charter term. All five charter schools serve students in urban districts with strong demand for more public charter school seats. Charter schools that attain a Tier 1 designation (the highest for a NJ charter school) for three …

You Want An Authentic Charter School Review? New Jersey Has One Now! Parents Brave the Cold To Speak Truth to Comm. Repollet

Yesterday I stood outside State Department of Education in Trenton and watched dozens of parents deliver 2,000 postcards, carefully stacked in boxes, each pleading with DOE Commissioner Lamont Repollet to end the charter school moratorium. One by one, on frigid Riverside Plaza, parents approached the microphone and voiced support for public school choice in New Jersey. “Parents are standing strong, and we have a clear message for our leaders: we love our public charter schools …

We Need To Talk About Race When We Talk About New Jersey Charter Schools.

I’ve been thinking about race this weekend, probably because NJ Advance Media just came out with The Force Report, which describes this state’s broken criminal justice system. According to the journalists, who worked for 16 months to complete this project, in New Jersey Black people are more than three times as likely as white people to face police use of force, which includes “compliance holds,” “takedowns,” using “open hand strikes or closed punches,” “leg strikes,” …

Uncommon’s Camden Prep Joins Forces with Community Groups to Keeps Children Warm and Well-Fed

Talk about getting into the Thanksgiving spirit! Last Wednesday Uncommon Schools, which runs New Jersey public charter schools in Camden and Newark, joined forces with the Woodland Community Development Group to donate 100 winter coats, 60 pairs of black shoes, and 30 Thanksgiving baskets to needy students who attend Camden Prep. “We are grateful for the Woodland Community Development Corporation’s generosity in ensuring our children and families have the resources needed this winter and holiday …

A Good Charter Approval Process = Good Charter Schools. Check Out the Videos!

As New Jersey halts all charter school expansion in order to “study” our 23-year-old charter school law (call it a pause, call it a moratorium, call it a pander to NJEA/Save Our Schools-NJ/Education Law Center), the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) has just put out some information relevant to our…well, whatever you want to call it. “For years, we’ve known that good authorizing leads to great charter schools, not just for a few …

Tafshier Cosby-Thomas: “Parents are Making Choices for Their Children. Why Would Anyone Get in the Way of That?”

Last week I had the opportunity to interview long-time Newark resident Tafshier Cosby-Thomas on her experiences with the city’s public schools: traditional, magnet, and charter. While Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet, under instructions from Governor Phil Murphy, takes a “pause” on authorizing charter expansion in order to conduct his “review,” let’s pierce the smog of special interests and politicking around this hot-button issue and actually talk to parents whose children’s educational trajectory rides on decisions made …

Newark Charters Make Great Progress and Eliminate the Achievement Gap!

Donna Siminski is Director of Policy and Advocacy for the New Jersey Charter School Association with a focus on the policy issues impacting the the state’s charter schools. Donna works with members, charter families, and charter school professionals to advocate for high-quality charter schools and the children they serve. On Friday, the New Jersey Department of Education released PARCC results for the 2017-18 school year. For the first time, Newark charter students in grades 3-8 …

Do Gov. Murphy and Ed. Comm. Repollet Have What it Takes to Put Education Over Politics?

“We parents filled that room last night and our voices were heard on why we LOVE our Public Charter schools!” That’s Paterson parent Ashley Lauren describing the vibrant atmosphere at the NJ Department of Education’s first of five stops on its Charter School Program Outreach 2018 Calendar. With almost no notice (the dates for focus groups were announced on Thursday, October 11th and the Paterson meeting was the following Tuesday) and at a parent-unfriendly time …

Charter School Review Must Address Funding Bias Against Charter Schools

This is a press release from the New Jersey Charter School Association. Those interested in the state’s “comprehensive review” of NJ charter schools can submit written feedback and attend meetings. For information about how you can contribute, click here. (And do it soon! The DOE has established a very short window for accepting comments.)  For my own concerns about the Murphy Administration’s oversight of the charter sector, see my column today in NJ Spotlight. Charter …