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 …

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 …