“Without Braven, I Wouldn’t Be Where I Am Now.” A Partnership with Rutgers Helps First-Gen College Students “Achieve the American Dream.”

Here’s some warm news after the cold snap: Braven, a non-profit founded in 2013 with a mission to empower first-generation college students, particularly those of low-income and color, just issued a press release regarding its Newark program, which started in 2015: Braven-Newark today announced that Fellows who graduate from their university-embedded program at Rutgers University-Newark (RU-N) are outpacing their peers by 30 percentage points in strong economic opportunity attainment: six months after college graduation, 76 …

Legislative Superheroes Come Up With A PARCC Fix!

Throughout Phil Murphy’s slipshod attempts to eliminate PARCC assessments I’ve always wondered whether the State Legislature would take some sort of action to maintain this state’s quest for higher standards.  After all, we’re lucky to have some educationally-literate members in both the Assembly and Senate who understand the importance to families for regularly measuring student proficiency, and not just because federal law requires annual assessments in math and reading in grades 3-8, once in grades …

Who Needs Algebra II? A New Report Reveals Disconnect Between Test-Haters and What New Jersey Students Need To Live Here.

Less than two weeks ago a local paper reported that Trenton public schools students feel unsafe and uneducated.  At about the same time an appellate court ruled that the New Jersey Department of Education’s regulations governing PARCC assessments “are in violation of laws passed by the Legislature,” setting those Trenton students up for even lower standards for academic growth. (Here’s my post on that.) Now, in another flash of happenstance, Konrad Mugglestone and Michael Dannenberg have published …

Murphy Administration Grants Renewals To Five High-Performing Urban Charter Schools

This is a press release from the New Jersey Charter School Association, a statewide association representing the state’s charter sector. Last week, the New Jersey Department of Education granted five high-performing charter schools authorization to serve students for another five-year charter term. All five charter schools serve students in urban districts with strong demand for more public charter school seats. Charter schools that attain a Tier 1 designation (the highest for a NJ charter school) for three …

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 …