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 …

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 …

Is Newark Superintendent Leon Taking His Cues From Teacher Union President Who Approves of Blackface and Demeans Students on Facebook?

Last Tuesday a group of players on the junior varsity basketball team at Newark’s Malcolm Shabazz High School instigated a “violent attack” on their coach, punching and kicking until officials intervened.  Newark Teachers Union President John Abeigon responded with a long racist harangue on Facebook (since deleted but no worries: I saved it) that garnered 83 “thumbs up” emojis, 37 “love” emojis, and 157 shares. The rant is worth a look because it opens a …

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 …

If Phil Murphy Were Really “Progressive,” He’d Chuck the Marketing Ploys and Focus on Children.

I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice. That’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in his famous 1963 letter from the Birmingham jail. Fifty-seven years later I think that Dr. King would have changed the phrase “white moderate” to “white progressive.” …

Murphy and Repollet Want to Unlock Career Doors for NJ Students But They’re Getting Two Things Wrong.

Yesterday New Jersey Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet sent out a tweet celebrating the state’s new jobs initiative, “Jobs NJ: Developing Talent to Grow Business in the Garden State,” which will “ensure all New Jerseyans have the education & training necessary to access high quality employment.” A press release from the Governor’s Office adds, “Here in New Jersey, we’re creating new pathways for success after high school,” said Dr. Lamont O. Repollet, Commissioner of Education. “Schools …

Democrats, This Is Your Moment to Make Equity More Than a Slogan

This is a guest post by Richard Buery, Chief of Policy and Public Affairs at the KIPP Foundation. He leads efforts to grow the KIPP network and advocate for policies that make it easier for students to afford college and overcome other barriers to success. It was originally published at Education Post. Where do Democratic candidates stand on public education? After last month’s Forum on Education, we know that the candidates are committed to increasing the …

Cancel Culture in Newark: Superintendent Ignores Parent Voices and Demands Closure of Charters.

Last week Newark Superintendent Roger Leon wrote a letter to New Jersey Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet demanding that Repollet, NJ’s sole charter authorizer, not renew four Newark charter schools and “deny any and all requests for new charter schools and charter renewals unless the applicant shows that it would serve a specific educational need.”  Leon’s “request” is bewildering — not to mention arrogant — as he tries to cancel the voices of Newark parents who …

Four Corrections to a Context And Fact-Free Article Called “The Democrats’ School Choice Problem.”

On New Year’s Eve The Nation published an analysis by Jennifer Berkshire called “The Democrats’ School Choice Problem.” Her piece is instructive because it illustrates a strategy commonly employed by those who regard themselves as warriors against craven privatizing shysters intent on expanding charter schools and/or voucher programs. This is how it works: Ignore context. Ignore math. Ignore inconvenient facts. And hustle together a specious argument that plays to those who —perhaps responding to the …