Wait: Is This a Democratic Presidential Candidate “Public Education Forum” or a Circle-Jerk?

“At last,” I exulted, as I peered at a Slack message from a colleague. The Democratic presidential candidates are going to finally discuss America’s public schools! We’ll witness (it’s live-streamed) a robust conversation about their plans to improve school quality, how they’ll ensure that children know how to read by third grade, how they’ll hold schools accountable for student growth, whether they’re committed to giving parents (especially those in long-struggling districts) the right to have …

Newark Students “Show The Rest of the State What is Possible”: A New Analysis Reveals Four Straight Years of Citywide Improvements for Children.

The bottom line is that a larger share of Newark kids are reading and doing math on grade level again this year, and in so doing, they show the rest of the state and the country what’s possible.  That’s Kyle Rosenkrans, Executive Director of the New Jersey Children’s Foundation (NJCF), responding to his non-profit’s citywide analysis of Newark students’ outcomes in math and reading. The analysis, based on student performance on state standardized tests, shows …

If Murphy and Repollet Were Really “Progressive,” They’d Care About the Prospects of Students in Districts Like Newark.

Two weeks ago New Jersey’s NAEP scores came out and they weren’t pretty. These national tests, often referred to as the “gold standard” and “The Nation’s Report Card,” showed that our fourth-graders’ reading proficiency dropped more than any other state in the country, that eighth-graders saw significant declines as well, and that we’ve made no progress in closing achievement gaps. At about the same time as the NAEP score release, Chalkbeat reported that Education Law …

Thank God for Parents Who Refuse to Be Gaslighted by the Failing Education System

This is a guest post by my colleague Chris Stewart, CEO of Education Post. Previously Chris was chief executive of Wayfinder Foundation, the executive director of the African American Leadership Forum (AALF), and an elected member of the Minneapolis Public Schools Board of Education where he was radicalized by witnessing the many systemic inequities that hold our children back. Recently Education Post held its annual Blogger Summit in Nashville to support our friend Vesia Hawkins, …

Camden Parents Celebrate Their Power as All Schools Rise.

For the very first time more than 250 families who call Camden home joined together on October 19th for what will become an annual event: the Camden Parent Power Summit. Sponsored by Parents for Great Camden Schools, the event featured leadership training, workshops, networking opportunities, a local business expo, and a “Kids Fun Day.” The point was to train parents in educational advocacy, raise their comfort level with school involvement, and celebrate the academic gains …

How Do Low Expectations Work For Asbury Park’s Special Needs Kids? Legislators and State Board Members Pay Heed.

On Tuesday I commented on the New Jersey Department of Education’s proposal to the State Board of Education to lower standards for high school graduation. Instead of focusing on what NJ parents really need — clear information about school quality and student progress towards independent adulthood (70% of NJ community college students have to take remedial courses on content they should have mastered in high school)  — the DOE, with the backing of Gov. Murphy/NJEA …

State Board of Education Caves to Murphy and Repollet’s Regressive Demands: Can the Assembly Save Our Kids?

Yesterday the State Board of Education (with the exception of bold Vice President Andy Mulvihill) folded to pressure and voted 12-1 to eliminate the 10th grade standardized assessments that offer guidance to families, teachers, and schools on students’ academic strengths and weaknesses. Think of this as a domino effect: NJEA leaders own Governor Murphy, who accepted an early endorsement in exchange for a promise to eliminate PARCC “Day 1.” Murphy owns Lamont Repollet (who, to …

Is Andrew Yang the Only One Brave Enough to Speak the Truth About Our Public Schools?

This is a guest post by my fellow education reform warriior (and close friend) Erika Sanzi who blogs about education in Rhode Island and New England at Good School Hunting. Erika is a mother of three sons and taught in public schools in Massachusetts, California and Rhode Island. This was originally published at Education Post. Education voters—people for whom education is the issue that determines their vote— have been banging our heads against the wall forever during …

The NJ DOE Is Desperate to Lower Standards. Here is Why This Approach Will Make State Tests More Stressful For Students.

This is an guest post by Patricia Morgan, Executive Director of JerseyCAN and Shelley Skinner, Executive Director of Better Education for Kids. It first appeared in NJ Spotlight. If we can all agree that the goal of student assessments should be to maximize the value and timeliness of the data received and minimize the amount of stress we put on students, then the latest proposal from Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet and the state Department of …

Lessons Learned From Camden As All Schools Rise.

Camden City Public Schools just announced that, for the fourth year in a row, students in both traditional and renaissance schools are improving their academic skills. In 2014-15, based on state standardized tests, 4.3% of students were proficient in math; last Spring 15% met or exceeded expectations. In 2014-15, 7% of students were proficient in English Language Arts (ELA); now 21% are. Question: How did this turnaround occur in what was once New Jersey’s worst …