Camden Public Schools Get a Reopening Lift from Camden Education Fund

As New Jersey schools make plans to reopen in September, Camden is getting some extra help from the Camden Education Fund through its Open Doors/Safe Classrooms grant program.  All Camden public school networks, including district, charter, and renaissance schools, will be eligible for up to $100,000 to support efforts to safely reopen.  CEF Executive Director Naeha Dean explains, “schools can use the funds to cover additional needs across a wide variety of areas, including operations, academic …

Op-Ed: New Jersey Schools Must Fully Open in September

This is a guest post by Sam Cole,a life-long resident of New Jersey.  He is the Co-Founder and a Managing Principal of Stonecutter Ventures LLC.  He is also the Chairman of the NYC Governing Board of Trustees of Success Academy Charter Schools.  The views expressed above are entirely his own and do not reflect those of NJLB. In less than two months, schools across New Jersey should be opening, but you’d never know it given the silence from …

7 Ways Teachers Can Use Zoom to Connect with Students Right Now

This is a guest post by Mark Joseph, a sixth-grade math teacher at KIPP Rise Academy in Newark, where he has taught for eleven years. For Mark’s other posts, see here, here, here, and here. No one knows for sure whether this fall we will resume regular school, remote learning, or some mix of the two. While this piece began as seven ways teachers could use Zoom to connect with their students in September, the more I thought about …

New Jersey Superintendents Decry the State’s “Lazy,” “Incomplete,” and “Contradictory” Guidance To Reopening Schools

The pattern was already there: New Jersey’s Department of Education, when faced complex issues, punts instead. We’ve seen this with the moribund “Charter School Act Review,” which promised clear guidance on charter school expansions and approvals; the report was never released. We’ve seen this in the DOE’s desultory attitude towards the digital divide that, three months into school closures, continues to exclude 100,000 students from accessing home instruction; Commissioner Repollet says, “we have been putting …

NJ Education Committee Chairs Ruiz and Lampitt Say State DOE Needs to Step it Up Now

Wednesday I wrote about the webinar “Learning from NJ’s Public Charter Schools during COVID-19” but I left out the opening discussion with Senator Teresa Ruiz and Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt, Chairs of the Senate and Assembly Education Committees, who both provided thoughtful comments about New Jersey’s educational crisis. First let’s focus on Ruiz’s concerns about the role of the NJ Department of Education. After moderator Harry Lee, head of the NJ Public Charter School Association, asked …

NJ School Districts Best Not Mess with Special Ed Parents

When news leaked that 30 New Jersey districts were demanding that parents sign waivers before their kids could get access to special education services during pandemic school closures, the proverbial shit hit the fan. And rightly so. Special education parents know that certain services listed in Individualized Education Plans (IEP’s) can’t be delivered remotely and certain therapies can’t be replicated in the home environment. Here’s what we do know: IEP’s are legal contracts and, while …

This New Jersey District Isn’t Even Getting The Bare Essentials To Its Students

This is the first section of a two-part post. Today I’m looking at Paterson Public Schools and its sluggish response to students’ needs for home instruction during the coronavirus. The second section (up tomorrow or Wednesday) will look at how Paterson is, in some ways, a proxy for other NJ districts’ failures and how some of  its struggles can be traced back to the state Department of Education (not just the Murphy Administration) and even the …

What is Driving Newark Students’ Academic Growth? Answers Here, Via New Harvard Analysis

Researchers at Harvard University’s Center for Education Policy Research (CEPR) are releasing a  study today called “Assessing the Impact of the Newark Education Reforms.” This report analyzes student academic growth since Mark Zuckerberg’s $100 million Facebook donation in 2011, matched by another $100 million raised by U.S. Senator (then Newark mayor) Cory Booker. The researchers — Thomas J. Kane (Harvard), Douglas Staiger (Dartmouth), Beth Schueler (Harvard), Whitney Kozakowski (Harvard), and Mark Chin (Harvard) — according …