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 …

Why Can’t Plainfield City Find a Superintendent?

You have to have the parents of this district who are going to charter schools feel comfortable about coming here,” he said. “If they don’t, you’re going to lose more kids. That’s Ronald E. Bolandi, newly-named Interim Superintendent of Plainfield City Public Schools, one of New Jersey’s low-income “Abbott” districts that receive compensatory state aid. According to today’s  Star-Ledger, Bolandi is the fourth superintendent of Plainfield City just this year and the School Board is …

The “Virtuous Circle” in Camden: Positive Progress Yields Community Support

Bryan Morton, Executive Director of Great Camden Schools, has an op-ed in the Courier Post that traces the arc of Camden Public Schools’ transformation, which he ascribes to the leadership of state-appointed Superintendent Paymon Rouhanifard, a series of reforms that brought in hybrid renaissance schools, heightened expectations for students and teachers, and a growing sense of hope among Camden families. Morton also describes a trip he took with other community members to the State Board of …

What If We Held Traditional School to the Same Standards As Charter Schools?

The Star-Ledger reports that the International Academy of Trenton (IAT), a public charter school serving grades K-5, is being shut down for failing to meet student academic and social needs: Kimberley Harrington, then commissioner of the Department of Education, in a Jan. 12 letter to IAT said the state was not renewing the charter because the academy “failed to provide a strong educational program and sustained organizational stability.” A school performance report shows many students …

Murphy’s Names Charter Leader Connie Sanchez to Education Transition Team

Unity Charter School in Morristown, NJ just announced that its Executive Director, Connie Sanchez, has been named to New Jersey Governor Elect Phil Murphy’s transition team as part of the Education, Access, and Opportunity Transition Advisory Committee. The Morristown charter is a K-8 public school of choice  that was established and chartered by the state of NJ in 1998, and is currently in its 20th year of operation. Unity Charter School Board of Trustees President …

Is Integration Your Silver Bullet? Time to Get Real.

Last week I wrote a post about a report on N.J.’s segregated schools by Professor Gary Orfield et. al. which I found vacuous and flawed, particularly its conclusion that charter schools increase segregation because they cluster in districts that serve children of color. I noted that  “the reasons why more Black families are enthusiastic about charter school culture is beyond the scope of my blog post.” (Also, I’m not Black and, therefore, not an authentic …

Newark Update

I have a new column up at NJ Spotlight called “The Four Factors Behind Newark’s Education Turnaround.” It starts here: New Jersey is a fragmented and complicated state, splintered into 565 municipalities and even more school districts. Newark is its microcosm, a byzantine culture of powerful ward bosses who control every aspect of governance, including its school system. Although I’ve been writing about education in New Jersey for a decade, it wasn’t until a few …