My Son Is A Hero At His Micro-School, Even During Coronavirus Closures

This is a guest post by Jeremy Gartner, the loving father of two wonderful little explorers who attend Acton Academy of Bergen County. Jeremy has been a judge for the last three years at F.I.R.S.T Robotics Competitions and is currently excited to mentor the Robotics Teams at Acton Academy. Our son is eight years old. Last year, he was in a public school in first grade and did not find joy with the learning process. …

Why Can’t We Fix Asbury Park? Thirteen Years of State Oversight and Still Circling the Drain.

I’ve spent a fair bit of time recently on Asbury Park Public Schools at the behest of residents and staff members who have asked me to weigh in on the proposed 2020-2021 budget that the Board will approve on Thursday.  People are alarmed: They’re looking at a 22% school tax increase and, judging by reports of last week’s meeting, which I reported on here, Board members seemed fairly clueless about the details. Why? Because in …

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 …

Some Schools Are Rising to the Challenge. Guess Which Ones Aren’t?

I wrote last week about Princeton Regional Public Schools’ high expectations for students during this pandemic in comparison to the low expectations for students who attend nearby Trenton Public Schools. If these school closures were (as originally predicted by our commander-in-chief) a short hiatus from traditional brick-and-mortar classroom instruction, we’d call it an inconvenience. But for students who attend districts like Trenton, both within and without New Jersey, lengthy school closures due to COVID-19 are …

During Covid-19, Are Charter Schools Leading the Way?

On Monday I looked at the stark disparities in the quality of online instruction offered to children during the COVID-19 school closures, comparing Princeton Regional Public Schools with Trenton City Public Schools. This is one data point, although representative of New Jersey’s two separate and unequal school systems, an exemplary one for the wealthy (disproportionately white and Asian) students and an inferior one for the poor (disproportionately black and brown) students. These inequities are exacerbated …

Welcome to Montclair, Where “Progressivism” Turns Into the “Epitome of Black Oppression”

I know this will be controversial but I don’t  have a problem if a teacher is found to be racist, as long as it doesn’t interrupt instruction.* I feel comfortable around black people because I grew up on a dairy farm where my family employed four black families. Who’s that? Why, it’s Nathan Parker,  the superintendent of the “progressive” suburban school district of Montclair, New Jersey where the average price for a home is $662,000 and …

Half of Teacher Prep Programs In New Jersey Get “F’s.”

The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), as part its recent Teacher Prep Review,  just evaluated a total of 2,506 undergraduate and graduate elementary, secondary, and special education programs offered by education schools in 1,120 public and private institutions of higher education. Fifty percent of teacher prep programs across America received “A” or “B” grades, compared to only 35% in 2013. Great right? Especially since we’re owning up to what many call a crisis in …

Camden Councilwoman: “I Believe in the Transformation that is Taking Place in the City of my Birth,” Including Five Straight Years of Academic Improvement in Camden Schools.

This is a guest post by Felisha Reyes Morton who is a Camden Councilwoman (and first Latina to represent the 4th Ward since redistricting), co-founding member of the North Camden Little League, and former Camden School District Advisory Board Vice President. Years ago, the small city that I was born in, grew up in and went to school in was left for dead. Growing up in Camden’s Parkside neighborhood, I got to watch Diane Sawyer come …

What Happens When a Beloved Newark Charter School Is Threatened with Eviction? Ask Emma and Her Mom.

(This was originally published at Education Post.) Imagine that your 15-year-old daughter is enrolled in a public high school that you both chose for its affirmative culture and impressive academics. Your daughter—let’s call her Emma—struggled in middle school, yet midway through her sophomore year (finally!) she is flourishing, with a lovely group of friends, supportive teachers and a fierce determination to be the first in her family to go to college. But this afternoon she …

On Charters, a New Report Shows That White Democrats Are Getting It Wrong. (Listen Up, Bernie/Liz/Joe!)

Judging by the harsh turn that some politicians have taken against charter schools, voters might well imagine that the data look darker than they did when President Barack Obama championed them. That is simply not the case: studies still affirm that charters provide a substantial academic benefit for low-income students of color, benefit children who remain in traditional public schools, and provide the taxpayer with a far greater return on investment. Whatever is driving the …