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 …

NJ DOE Watch: You Thought It Was Bad in Student Services? Check Out the Assessment Division’s Dysfunction.

Earlier this month I wondered whether the decay within the New Jersey Department of Education’s Division of Student Services (hostile work environment, retaliatory actions, talks of a class action suit) is an anomaly or emblematic of systemic dysfunction. I was hoping for the former; after all, one troubled department beats system-wide woes. But it appears to be the latter. At the very least, the dysfunction that pervades Student Services is also present in the DOE …

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 …

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 …

Just Picture These Scholars Tomorrow! KIPP Joins with District Schools To Celebrate Future Heroes

Yesterday KIPP Seek Academy students enjoyed a Halloween parade with children from two district schools, George Washington Carver Elementary and Bruce Street School. But this was not your typical Halloween celebration! Instead of ghosts and goblins, 1,100 children dressed in costumes that represented their hopes and dreams for the future. According to KIPP, spectators caught a glimpse of “our future police officers, doctors, teachers and even Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Astronaut Mae Jemison.” After the …

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 …

Hot Off the Press: New Report from NCTQ Reviews Newark’s Teacher Evaluation System

When the Newark Teachers Union (NTU) and the Newark Public Schools, under the superintendency of Cami Anderson, agreed in 2012 to a new contract that linked teacher pay to performance, AFT President Randi Weingarten said, “This agreement ensures that teacher voice, quality and experience are aligned with increased professionalism and better compensation.” This past summer NTU President John Abeigon, when queried by a Chalkbeat reporter about those 2012 innovatives and upcoming negotiations for a new …

The Abusive Parent in The Charter School/Traditional School Family

This is a guest post by my friend and colleague Lane Wright. Lane lives in Tallahassee with his wife and three children and serves as Director of Policy Analysis at Education Post, a national nonprofit. You can substitute NJEA and other abusive parents for Lane’s references to the Florida Education Association. Imagine a family with 10 kids: Nine biological and one adopted. After a couple years, the parents and siblings start to regret their choice to …

Great News as Camden Prep Closes the Achievement Gap!

Camden Prep, part of the Uncommon Schools network, first opened on Mt. Ephraim Avenue in 2014 through the Urban Hope Act, which authorized “renaissance schools,” hybrid charter-district neighborhood schools, to open if approved by the school board.  Camden Prep replaced the old Bonsall Elementary School, which was labeled one of the five most troubled schools in the worst district in New Jersey. When Camden Prep first opened, only 4 percent of students tested proficient in …