Education Law Center’s Footprint Shrinks as It Ignores the Needs of Charter School Students.

Ah, Education Law Center. Some things never change. The organization, largely funded by NJEA, is back in court demanding money for construction for an obsolete list of 31 “Abbott” school districts that were once impoverished. Some of them still are, like Newark and Camden and Trenton. Some of them never were, like Burlington City and Pemberton. And some were once poor but now boast multi-million dollar luxury co-ops, like Hoboken and Jersey City.  But here’s …

New Report From the National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools: How Does Enrollment of Students with Disabilities Vary Between the Sectors?

The National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools (NCSECS), a non-profit started in 2013 to address the challenges associated of providing high-quality access and supports to students with disabilities enrolled in charters, has a new report that went live this morning. “Key Trends in Special Education in Charter Schools: A Secondary Analysis of the Civil Rights Data Collection” examines the last five years for trends on enrollment, discipline, inclusion, and placement with a particular focus …

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 a law firm called Pashman Stein. The Pashman Stein lawsuit charges that former Education Commissioner David Hespe’s 2016 approval of expansions in seven (now six) Newark charter schools should …

Voices From the NJ Parent Summit: Nicole Harris Says Parents Have The Right To Choose the Best Schools in Their Community — and That Choice May Be Different for Each Child.

During the first weekend in August, Project Ready hosted the New Jersey Parent Summit (see here for an overview). I chatted with many parents and this is the last of the posted interviews: See earlier ones here, here, here, here, and here.  In some cases I’ve added links and editorial comments to add context. This interview is with Nicole Harris, a mother of three who runs an afterschool program for 1,000 New Jersey students. Laura: Can you tell me a bit about …

Voices from the Parent Summit: Tafshier Cosby-Thomas on Charter School Wars, a Pact With Her Sisters, and Helping Parents Become Education Advocates.

Last year I interviewed Tafshier Cosby-Thomas about her educational experiences in Newark, both as a student and a parent. At the time of that interview, the New Jersey Department of Education was in the midst of its Charter School Act Review and soliciting input from lobbyists and, more importantly, parents. Tafshier was one of those parents. (Scroll to the bottom of this post for a video of her addressing  the DOE and Commissioner Repollet).When I …

Education Law Center and NJEA Are Not Celebrating National Charter Schools Week. Here’s Why.

School choice and equity supporters are celebrating National Charter Schools Week and in New Jersey we have an extra reason to celebrate. Last week a NJ Appellate Court upheld a 2016 decision by then-Education Commissioner David Hespe to allow seven Newark charter schools to expand. Who’s not celebrating? Education Law Center, which challenged the decision, as well as NJ’s primary union NJEA, which largely funds ELC and whose former and current Executive Directors sit on …

A Lawsuit Pressed By the Anti-Charter Gang Sheds Light on the Presumptions of White Privilege

Last Thursday I published a post about the North Jersey Media Group’s hit job on New Jersey’s public charter schools. This five-part series was rife with errors and distortions. The primary actors behind the scenes of the series are former judge/now attorney Gary Stein of Pashman Stein (his son Michael Stein is a partner), Education Law Center, NJEA, and some anti-charter lobbyists, including Rutgers Professor Bruce Baker. I didn’t know it at the time but …

This Newspaper Series Says NJ Charter Schools Are a “Flawed Experiment.” That’s Wrong — And The Series Itself Proves That.

After I read North Jersey Media Group’s (NJMG) voluminous series called “Millions of Your Tax Dollars Have Disappeared Into NJ’s Flawed Charter School Experiment,” I had two reactions. On the one hand, I was angry that the paper, with its ties to anti-charter groups, would have the chutzpah to publish a hit job on school choice without revealing its agenda. On the other hand I felt sorry for reporters Jean Rimbach and Abbott Koloff who, …

A New Parent Advocacy Group Called “Project Ready” Launches in Newark: “It’s Time To Raise Our Voices,” says Leader Shennell McCloud

I first met Shennell McCloud, a tireless activist for the children and families of Newark, when she worked for KIPP New Jersey serving as Director of Recruitment and then as Director of Advocacy. We bonded personally over shared stories of our experiences with big-city public education (she in Newark, me in New York City) and having two children very close together. We’ve worked together professionally through her annual NJ Parent Summit and other Newark-based education-informed …

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 …