For New NJ Teacher Union Group, Politics Trumps Safe School Reopenings

I’m all for safety. As the mom of four young adults (and the mother-in-law of two more), I worry about any of them contracting COVID-19, not to mention my husband, myself, and all our loved ones. While I’m desperate (really, you have no idea) for the day when our youngest can return to his day program, we’re stoically resigned to the reality that this won’t happen any time soon. This has nothing to do with …

In Asbury Park, A Call for the State Fiscal Monitor to Resign

Last night the Asbury Park Board of Education held its monthly meeting –with a bit of a twist. Since mid-March all meetings have been held remotely: For the required public participation, people email in comments that are read at the appropriate time by an administrator and anyone can dial in to listen. But this time the Board decided, COVID-19 be damned, to meet in-person. Why? Because since meetings have been held remotely, community participation has …

New Report: 75% of Newark’s Public Charter Schools Beat The Odds.

Earlier this month, Margrady Research released a study called “Resilience: Will Urban Schools that Beat the Odds Continue to Do So During the COVID-19 Pandemic?” Analysts Jesse Margolis and Eli Groves started the project before coronavirus hit and so the report is divided into two parts. The first part updates 2015 data from the Center For Reinventing Public Education (CRPE), which calculated the percentage of students in 50 large U.S. cities that attend “beat the …

White Progressives Have a Lot of Work To Do And I’m Not Here To Help.

This is a guest post by my boss and colleague Chris Stewart, the Chief Executive Officer of brightbeam. He is a lifelong activist and 20-year supporter of nonprofit and education-related causes. When I ran for school board it was former Minneapolis mayor who was the first elected official to endorse me. She asked me a lot of questions, offered some straight talk about the political system, and spoke very clearly about what it takes to win …

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 …