School Choice

From Dream to Reality: The Entire Class at this Brooklyn Charter School Is Going to College!

Kiara Damon first started thinking about college when she entered fifth grade at Williamsburg Collegiate Middle School, a Brooklyn charter school run by the Uncommon Schools network. “It was always college, college, college,” Kiara said. “We were always the class of 2021, not the class of 2017.” Kira was one of 87 graduating seniors from… Continue reading From Dream to Reality: The Entire Class at this Brooklyn Charter School Is Going to College!

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Why Do Our Schools Look Like Prisons? What Is This Doing To Our Students?

I was walking into work today and a colleague of mine began exchanging small talk. She knows that my husband John is incarcerated and was kind enough to ask me how he was doing. I told her that, all things considered, he’s doing really well and that I was excited to see and spend time… Continue reading Why Do Our Schools Look Like Prisons? What Is This Doing To Our Students?

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My Students Told Me That My Classroom “Lacked Soul.” Here’s What I Did

How a teacher who arrived a week before school began started making genuine connections with her kids. The office supply store Staples was my virtual shopping buddy during my first year of teaching. I had arrived in New York City in 2004,  a week before the school year began, to teach 8th grade English Language… Continue reading My Students Told Me That My Classroom “Lacked Soul.” Here’s What I Did

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“There Are Black Women Like Me Doing That Kind of Work”: Brooklyn Charter Students Impress College Recruiters

Nearly 100 colleges participated in a career fair in Brooklyn this week, illustrating the growing influence that high-performing charter schools are having on college admissions in New York. That many colleges at one fair at a school is not atypical for magnet schools like Stuyvesant High School or Hunter College High School. But what was… Continue reading “There Are Black Women Like Me Doing That Kind of Work”: Brooklyn Charter Students Impress College Recruiters

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No, Rich White Parents Should NOT Refuse Testing for Their Children

The  Daily News reported yesterday that NYSUT, the New York teacher union, has bought about a dozen billboards upstate, as well as ads on bus shelters, urging parents to opt their children out of annual state standardized testing.  This is in spite of the fact that student results are no longer tied to teacher evaluations,… Continue reading No, Rich White Parents Should NOT Refuse Testing for Their Children

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The Sad State of Our Schools

A teacher’s expectations and the standards to which he or she holds students accountable may very well be the largest factor in academic success, or lack thereof. I write these words to you with such a frustrated spirit and a heavy heart because the crass reality is that some students, particularly poor Black and Brown… Continue reading The Sad State of Our Schools

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Ed Trust Needs To Take Several Seats in the Back of My Classroom!

In response to New York State’s decision to eliminate the Academic Skills Literacy Test for teacher certification,  Education Trust Executive Director Ian Rosenblum stated on Tuesday, “it is deeply disappointing that the Regents and State Education Department are lowering the bar for teacher literacy skills…We should be focusing on ensuring that prospective teachers receive the support… Continue reading Ed Trust Needs To Take Several Seats in the Back of My Classroom!

New York City

A Different Kind of Integration: Bringing Students With Mental Health Challenges Into Our School and Watching Them Thrive

I have written about John W. Lavelle Prep Charter in Staten Island before. I helped start it as a middle school, built on the crazy idea that you must integrate students with mental health challenges with the general population for them to be successful. Mind you, these students tend to have the highest dropout rate of… Continue reading A Different Kind of Integration: Bringing Students With Mental Health Challenges Into Our School and Watching Them Thrive

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New York Schools and Prisons Are In Dire Need of Support Staff

In one of my recent blog posts from our “Letters from John” series, my husband, who is incarcerated, mentioned that he recognizes more and more that inmates have an increased need to be heard. It’s like they are fighting against the invisibility of self that is taking place between them and their community. Many require… Continue reading New York Schools and Prisons Are In Dire Need of Support Staff

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Betsy DeVos, Trump’s Education Department Nominee, Makes Me Nervous for All the Children Like My Son Who Have Special Needs

I’ve tried to be open-minded about Trump’s nominee for Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos. Many people I respect view her as a potentially powerful voice for school choice and, I reasoned, at least she’s no Jeff Sessions. But her confirmation hearing  Tuesday night just slayed me. Sen. Al Franken’s elicitation of her lack of understanding between… Continue reading Betsy DeVos, Trump’s Education Department Nominee, Makes Me Nervous for All the Children Like My Son Who Have Special Needs