Tag Archive: SOSNJ

@GovMurphy Promised To Ditch #PARCC. Is He Going Back On His Word?

Marie Corfield is an artist, art teacher in Hunterdon County, and a former Democratic candidate for the New Jersey Assembly in LD-16. Follow her here. Promoted by Rosi. What’s harder than navigating ‘Spaghetti Junction’ on the Garden State Parkway? Figuring out what it takes to graduate high school in New Jersey. We thought we had it fixed, but not so fast… Parents, educators and…
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New Study: NJ Charters Do NOT Serve As Many At-Risk, LEP, Special Ed Students

Facts are pesky things. And once again, we have a well-sourced piece of research that challenges the orthodoxy of charter schools’ public relations. Thank you to Mark Weber (Jazzman) and Julia Sass Rubin for making sure we saw it. – Rosi

Cross-posted from Jersey Jazzman.

I have a new report out — commissioned by SOSNJ and coauthored with Julia Sass Rubin of Rutgers — on charter schools in New Jersey. This is the first of three, and it looks at student population differences between charters and their host district schools.

No one who reads this blog will be surprised at our findings; however, this is the first time anyone, I believe, has looked at the charter sector this thoroughly to document our conclusion:

New Jersey’s charter schools do not serve nearly as many children in economic disadvantage, who have special education needs, or who are English language learners as their host districts’ schools.

This week, I’ll go over some of the particulars of the report. But for now, let me share what I believe are the three most important graphs in our brief:  

Camden: Who Catches that Money We Throw at Cities?

There’s some damn fine writing some of our new friends have been posting on Camden the last couple weeks. Spectacular coverage. Including this one – – Promoted by Rosi.

This post is cross-posted from the Local Knowledge Blog.

I sat down with a young man last week who was trying to learn more about Camden. Despite not living, working or being from the city, he’d taken and interest and was becoming more involved. Almost the first words out of his mouth were, “we’ve seen that throwing money at cities doesn’t solve anything.” But have we? It’s an important question, particularly as a $260 million corporate was just approved to bring Holtec to Camden, only weeks after over $80 million went to the 76ers for a practice facility. This is one of the unintended consequences of huge corporate subsidies; the poor get blamed when the subsidies don’t raise living standards across the city.

Camden: Improving the quality of life for ‘other people’

Cross-posted with Marie Corfield. Promoted by Rosi.

Greetings from CamdenTaking a break from NJ State BOE testimony to bring you an update on one of the poorest, most dangerous cities in the country: Camden. And borrowing some of the title from a Camden educator’s blog post last week (more below).

While my little graphic may be snarky, the daily reality that many Camden residents face is anything but. A quick Google search brings up volumes about the decades-long plight of Camden and her residents. But as someone who grew up in a pretty toxic environment, I know that often times a healthy dose of Gallows Humor is what gets me through difficult times.

This video, however is no laughing matter. It’s staggeringly, brutally, innocently and blatantly honest. It’s what just about every child in that city faces every day, and is the very definition of sin. Many don’t have the resilience of this young man.  

Other People’s Cities: In Camden education reform and gentrification go hand in hand

I asked Keith to post this here when I saw it at the excellent EduShyster blog. Keith is a teacher at Camden HS and a doctoral student at Rutgers University. He chairs the public relations and media committee for the Camden Education Association. Cross-posted at EduShyster – Rosi

Camden NJ old-fashioned postcard

In case you missed it, Camden, NJ will soon be home to a brand new practice facility (*we’re talkin’ about practice!*) for the Philadelphia 76ers that will cost taxpayers $82 million. What does Camden get in exchange for this princely sum? Fifty seasonal-read low-paying-sales and marketing jobs. This news comes on the heels of the layoffs of hundreds of teachers and staff from the Camden Public Schools. If you’re wondering about the priorities of a city that can’t afford to pay its teachers but can somehow spring for the biggest and best practice facility in the US, you’re not the only one; I’m feeling confused and angry about the direction of my city these days.

Cities for others

What’s happening in Camden isn’t unique. The city is being forcibly changed to cater to those who DON’T live here. Read the work of academic researchers and practitioners like Pauline Lipman of the University of Illinois at Chicago, Valerie Kinloch of Ohio State University, Leslie T. Fenwick of Howard University and Stephen Danley of Rutgers University-Camden and you’ll encounter similar stories from other cities. In Camden, a City for Others, Danley writes: This city is not designed for its residents. And its residents know that.

Charter School Networks and Shady Political Dealings: The Camden, N. J. Story

In this morning’s paper, a Camden activist described some of the special governmental attention the city’s getting lately this way: “It’s all smoke and mirrors to us.” Thanks to Bloustein School (Rutgers) professor Julia Sass Rubin for sharing her guest post at Education Week here with us. Because of people like her, the cooperation of Chris Christie and the South Jersey Democratic machine to turn Camden’s kids into opportunity targets for privatizers is national news.  – Promoted by Rosi.

Cross-posted with Education Week.

Last week, while many of us were busy making plans for the summer, something much more sinister was happening in the halls of the State Capital in Trenton, N.J..

At 11 p.m., on Tuesday, June 24th, legislation was discussed and voted on by the New Jersey Senate and Assembly Budget Committees, without all the legislators understanding what they were approving.  “We didn’t have the bills in advance,” complained one of the Senators, “I didn’t know what the hell the bills were.” This legislation was then quickly pushed through the full New Jersey Senate and Assembly.

Who Stands For New Jersey’s Students?

Yesterday, we had an interesting juxtaposition of views on child advocacy here in the Garden State. On the one hand:

Dear Secretary Duncan,

We are writing to express our grave concerns about the negative impact of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) waiver on New Jersey’s most vulnerable children.

We understand that the waivers were an effort to return more control to the states to improve educational opportunities and outcomes. Unfortunately, here in New Jersey, it is quite clear that the NCLB waiver is being used to apply measures that are more damaging than NCLB would have been, particularly to low-income Black and Latino children.

Below, we detail our most pressing concerns with the program the State is implementing under the waiver: 1) introduction of a punitive accountability system that disproportionately impacts school districts populated by low-income children of color while rewarding selective schools and those populated by wealthier, majority white students; and 2) a process of State intervention that excludes low-income communities of color from substantive input in the planning or implementation of the proposed interventions.

Click through and read who signed this: parent groups, children’s advocates, school board members, civil rights groups, teachers unions, scholars, labor, politicians… it reads like a who’s who of NJ education policy.

The two problems the letter outlines can be laid directly at the feet of NJ Education Commissioner Chris Cerf. He implemented the system by which schools can be classified as “Priority,” “Focus,” or “Reward” schools, a system that does nothing to acknowledge the very real differences in student demographics between these schools:

Why push-back against charters? Because they don’t deliver the goods.

promoted by Rosi

Given the Star Ledger's overtly biased opinions about public education and teachers—most notably their New Year's day work of fiction and the firestorm it created in the Twitter/blogospheres (this link to the piece and my response also contains links to other opposing opinions including SOSNJ and NJParents1)—I do commend their Dec. 27 editorial, The push-back against charter schools, for trying to see both sides of this debate. But it does not go far enough, and ends up perpetuating some long-standing myths about these publicly funded but privately run schools.

Let’s start with the myth that they are a cure for failing schools. They are not. Two extensive studies done in the past two years, and partially funded by billionaire-turned-education-reformer Bill Gates—the CREDO at Stanford University study, and Gates’ own Center for Reinventing Public Education study released in November—conclude that the majority of these for-profit institutions do no better than their public school counterparts. A small number are better; many are worse. The latter study went so far as to say that the better ones “are not statistically significant.” So why is the state pushing them? Because they provide cheap alternatives to state funded education, while allowing wealthy investors to double their money in seven years and get a 37% tax break on their investment with little to no financial or academic accountability.

Myths continue, after the fold