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 …

Repollet Demands the State BOE Take The 64 Floor Statewide and Reveals His Inner Trump.

Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet is angry. Yesterday the State Board of Education postponed a vote to approve his plan to take his Asbury Park 64 Floor statewide by lowering standards and lying to families about student academic progress. Now he’s threatening to ignore the Board’s oversight. Next, I suppose, he’ll accuse the Board of treason, invent derogatory names for them, and tweet profane insults. The Commissioner’s behavior is short of Trumpian but still reeks of …

Should the Opinions of “National Pundits” Outweigh the Opinions of Newark Residents on Charter Schools? A New Poll Reveals a Stark Difference.

“Contrary to what you may hear in the national narrative, there is a lot of public support for the historic progress Newark has made. Newark voters are still looking for more quality school options, and they broadly support public charter schools as part of the solution. We should trust the opinions of the people living in our communities and experiencing our school system every day over the opinions of national pundits.” That’s Kyle Rosenkrans, Executive …

“If the Latino Action Network Would Actually Look at My Children’s Classrooms They Would Know They’re Wrong About Segregation”: A Latina Mother Contests A Specious Lawsuit.

This week I had the pleasure of speaking with Ana Maria De La Roche Araque, one of the three parents interveners in the lawsuit Latino Action Network v. State of New Jersey. (For the charter schools’ response, see here; for my commentary on the lawsuit, see here, here, and here.) Ana joins two other charter school parents, along with the New Jersey Charter School Association and Beloved Community Charter School in Jersey City, in seeking …

Five Facts About A Request to Intervene In a Lawsuit Seeking to Deny School Choice to Low-Income New Jersey Families.

Yesterday a group of New Jersey public charter school parents, a Jersey City charter school, and the NJ Charter School Association (NJCSA) filed a motion to intervene in a May 2018 lawsuit filed by the New Jersey Coalition for Diverse and Inclusive Schools and litigated by Education Law Center and a law firm called Pashman Stein. The ELC/Pashman Stein lawsuit (let’s just call it ELC) charges that former Education Commissioner David Hespe’s 2016 approval of …

New Jersey Students Are #1! Too Bad Murphy/NJEA/Repollet Are Working On a Regression Plan. Bonus: Internal DOE Email.

Education Week’s Research Center  just issued the final portion of its 2019 Quality Counts annual report, which rates each state’s education system. Guess what? New Jersey rocked it, for the first time beating Massachusetts, long-heralded for its high-achieving schools, and achieving #1 status as the top-performing school system in the nation. Two points jump out at me, one on our upswing in student proficiency in math and reading and the other on school spending and …

PARCC Part 2: Why, For the First Time in Five Years, Did Student Growth Stall?

Yesterday I reacted to the news, revealed during Wednesday’s State Board of Education meeting, that student achievement, as measured by standardized tests, flat-lined after four consecutive years of growth. I also discussed Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet’s proposal — already in progress despite Board members’ admonitions to Repollet last Spring to not lower standards — to, well, lower standards by creating easier tests in fewer grades. I noted that I didn’t have the data on achievement …

Why, Asked a Tweeter, Is Asbury Park Public Schools’ Cost Per Pupil Over $40K? Here’s My Answer.

Such a good question, Madeline! What does Asbury Park Public Schools do with all that money, even as enrollment declines? With schools all over the state cutting costs, why is this happening? I mean, $42K a kid? Those students must be academic superstars! After all, that’s the basis for New Jersey’s Abbott decisions: As Education Law Center explains, ELC’s legal and policy advocacy, which includes such landmark rulings as Abbott v. Burke, has significantly advanced the …

Is Restorative Justice Working? According to Teachers, Not So Much. Focus on Asbury Park.

I was chatting with a teacher from Asbury Park High School, who wishes to remain anonymous. We were talking about the impact of the then-Asbury Park Superintendent, now-Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet’s decision to create a system, “The 64 Floor,” that makes it impossible for students to fail a course. (Repollet owned up to this practice during a New Jersey Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee hearing and justified it by claiming that “teachers weaponize grades.”) Now …

Voices From the Parent Summit: An Interview with Ruthven Haneef Auguste.

During this past weekend at the New Jersey Parent Summit (see here for an overview) I chatted with many parents. Over the next two weeks I’ll post some of the interviews. In some I’ve added links and editorial comments to add context. Here’s Newark dad Ruthven Haneef Auguste, who told me about his own school experiences and how he has fought for better outcomes for his three daughters. Laura: Haneef, can you tell me a …