Headlines

New group wants to do ‘diplomacy’ between district and charter schools

Welcome to Chalkbeat Newark's weekly newsletter — and happy National Teacher Appreciation Day! You inspire us and fill us with gratitude, teachers. Today, read about a new nonprofit that’s generating buzz in Newark, ideas from the public about improving the city’s schools, and much more.

— Patrick Wall, senior reporter


The big story

A new nonprofit wants to help Newark’s traditional and charter schools get along — and a recent spat over enrollment might be its first opportunity to give peacemaking a try.

Kyle Rosenkrans, the group’s executive director who recently worked for a Newark charter operator, said he wants to play a “diplomacy role” to help resolve the enrollment dispute.

The new group, called the New Jersey Children’s Foundation, is arriving on the scene just as the politics around charter schools in the state and Newark have shifted in big ways.

At the state level, a charter-boosting Republican governor has been replaced by a Democrat who seems far less eager to see those schools continue to rapidly expand. And, in Newark, a charter-friendly superintendent appointed by the state has been succeeded by a homegrown educator with deep roots in the traditional schools.

Rosenkrans said he wants to help foster cooperation between the new superintendent, Roger León, and Newark’s large charter sector. He also wants to ensure that the citywide enrollment system, which lets families apply to traditional and charter schools, remains intact.

After some charter leaders recently accused the district of sending them fewer students this year, the fate of that controversial enrollment system is in question.

“That’s where we want to put in some elbow grease and help out,” Rosenkrans told Chalkbeat.

Read the full story here.


What to watch

What else is happening around Newark schools.

Newark stakeholders give superintendent suggestions for how to improve the district

  • What to know: Parents, students, and community partners presented recommendations to Superintendent Roger León last week as he prepares to release his master plan for the district.
  • The ideas included screening new employees for racial biases, letting teachers revamp the way they’re evaluated, and giving students a say in policy decisions.
  • The ideas emerged during a series of community meetings and focus groups the district hosted as León crafts his strategic plan to improve the district’s schools.
  • León also ordered audits of the district’s school buildings, textbooks, and teaching practices.
  • The audits uncovered some big challenges, including “insufficient” progress by students who are still learning English.
  • One big question: How many of the public’s recommendations will make it into León’s final plan?

Newark news & events

Local education reporting and upcoming events.

School food…

  • The Newark school board plans to conduct a taste test of the food served to students, which one board member called “disgusting.” TAPinto Newark

Board politics…

  • An outgoing school board member who lost her reelection bid to candidates backed by elected officials said she did not garner political support because she has “the wrong politics.” TAPinto Newark

‘Culturally relevant education’…

  • Educators from across the country gathered for a Newark conference focused on ways to make sure that student learning is relevant to their lives and cultures. TAPinto Newark

New nonprofit…

  • Learn more about Kyle Rosenkrans, head of the New Jersey Children’s Foundation. TAPinto Newark

NPS news & events…


News from Trenton & beyond…

Reporting on statewide education issues that matter for Newark.

Bullying…

  • Girls are bullied more often than boys and are more likely to consider suicide, according to a new study. TAPinto Camden
  • Op-ed: Limited data exists on New Jersey students’ struggles with bullying, mental health, and suicide ideation due to a state law that requires parents to give their consent before students can be surveyed on those topics. NJ.com

College costs…

  • A state program that makes college tuition-free for some students has been expanded to include more community colleges, including Essex County College. NorthJersey.com
  • Higher-ed officials told lawmakers that the state has not given them enough funding to offset the rising costs they face, leaving students to make up the difference through tuition payments. NJ Spotlight

LGBTQ history…

  • Op-ed: Teaching students about the contributions of LGBTQ+ people as New Jersey now requires is not a form of “indoctrination,” as some critics say, but simply an accurate presentation of history. NJ Spotlight

Extra credit

Want to showcase your school or an upcoming education event? Send me photos and details.