Asbury Park Spends $42K per Student and Still Can’t Get the Job Done: Highlights from the Recent State Audit.

Once again it’s time to take a look at Asbury Park Public School District, which spends more per pupil ($42,382 total a year) than almost any other district and is the former post of Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet. This past November the New Jersey State Legislature’s Office of the State Auditor completed an analysis of the district’s functioning that spans from July 2016 (when Repollet was still superintendent) to December 2018. The auditor, Stephen M. …

Four Corrections to an Anti-Choice Op-Ed By the Head of the Newark NAACP.

Yesterday the Star-Ledger ran an op-ed by Deborah Smith Gregory, the president of Newark NAACP and chairperson of Alliance for Newark Public Schools, entitled, “Let’s pause the charter school experiment in Newark.”  As a public service, here are four corrections to this error-ridden attack on the public schools most popular with Black parents in Newark and across the country. Does it seem strange that the venerable and virtuous NAACP would fight against the interests of …

Parent Voices: This District Calls the Police When a 6-Year-Old with Down Syndrome Points a Finger But Ignores Beatdowns.

This guest post was written by blogger Pattye Benson, who lives in the Tredyffrin/Easttown (T/E) school district in Chester County, Pennsylvania. It is a follow-up to last week’s post, written by the mom of a kindergartner with Down Syndrome. The earlier post describes how the six-year-old pointed her finger at a teacher and said “I shoot you;” the district reacted by making a formal police report, which will remain on Margot’s permanent record. Here is …

School Officials File Police Report on Kindergartner with Down Syndrome.

This post was originally published on Project Forever Free by its chief editor, my pal Erika Sanzi. Erika also blogs at Good School Hunting. She is a former educator and school board member and the mother of three school aged sons who currently attend a district school, a charter school, and a private school. We have all heard of school districts where discretion and common sense seem non-existent and poorly drafted policies end up being …

Newark Superintendent Wants to Build That Wall. Will The DOE Stop Him?

Newark may have problems but one of them isn’t the production of drama. Recent example: Superintendent Roger Leon declared last month, ““I believe families should make decisions where their child should go [to school] and I don’t think anyone should change that.” Then last week  he took the unprecedented step of writing a (boiler-plate, error-ridden) letter to the New Jersey Department of Education demanding that four Newark charter schools be shut down. From all accounts, …

All the Things Max Eden Gets Wrong About Students With Disabilities and IDEA.

We barely survived my son Jonah’s adolescence. One evening in Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station he pushed me so hard I fell to the ground and a woman leaned over and whispered in my ear, “that child has the devil in him.” When my husband took our four kids to a minor league baseball game, Jonah started stomping and yelling so angrily that park officials called security. One day in upstate New York where we rent …

Your Taxes At Work in Lakewood: Trick or Treat?

I’ve been neglecting Lakewood and so decided to pop over to the district website and check the most recent School Board meeting agenda. The date said October 31st at 6:30, which I thought was odd: That’s prime Halloween trick-or-treating time. Why would a Board schedule a public meeting — the only opportunity for parents and community members to address their representatives — for a time slot that guarantees almost all public school parents have prior commitments? …

New Report From the National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools: How Does Enrollment of Students with Disabilities Vary Between the Sectors?

The National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools (NCSECS), a non-profit started in 2013 to address the challenges associated of providing high-quality access and supports to students with disabilities enrolled in charters, has a new report that went live this morning. “Key Trends in Special Education in Charter Schools: A Secondary Analysis of the Civil Rights Data Collection” examines the last five years for trends on enrollment, discipline, inclusion, and placement with a particular focus …

Special Education Parents, Know Your Rights! (Part 2)

Last week I published a post called “Ten Lies That Parents Of Special Needs Kids Often Hear: Know Your Rights!” and suggested that we in the special needs community share information to better advocate for our children. During the past week I’ve received many questions and comments from parents who are doing their best to navigate what can be an overwhelming thicket of regulations and red tape as they struggle to secure necessary services for …

Ten Lies That Parents Of Special Needs Kids Often Hear: Know Your Rights!

When I speak to parents of children with disabilities, I often hear reports of Child Study Teams (those responsible, along with parents, for creating Individualized Education Plans or IEP’s) who pass along false information or undermine the critical role parents have in deciding on necessary services and appropriate placements.  I hear these reports from Latinx parents — some not completely comfortable with the English language and/or concerned about their immigration status — in low-income districts …