Monthly Archives: February 2016

Are NJ public-school students underprepared, in trouble?

My Central, 2/29/2016

A new study casts a shadow on the prospects of New Jersey students. Many Garden State residents think that poor-performing schools are confined to low-income neighborhoods in the inner city. Yet according to a study from the Pacific Research Institute, the data show that public schools in New Jersey’s affluent suburbs are also failing. The study compiled SAT scores from predominantly middle-class high schools where at least 80 percent of students took the test. At nearly three in 10 schools, more than half of students failed to meet the college readiness benchmark score of 1550.


Do Your Kids Have Too Much Homework?

New Jersey Family, March 2016

Homework has become a flashpoint in arguments and comparisons with the rest of the world about whether American schools have become fixated on test scores and proficiency metrics to the detriment of student and teacher mental and physical health. Is this disdain for homework just a fad? Or is it a real issue based on the academic and psychological needs of our kids?

Why Families of Color Leave ‘Great’ Suburban Schools

I was at a housewarming party recently with the parents of many of my sons’ current and former classmates. As is typically the case when you get a bunch of parents together, the conversation shifted to the topic of schools—the good, the bad and the ugly. Both of my kids currently attend a private school in Westchester County, New York.… Read more →

Suburban Parents, Are We Deluding Ourselves?

Parents prefer relationships to data. Most of us enjoy people more than numbers and like parent-teacher conferences better than bar graphs. We take comfort in knowing that our kids are being educated in a safe space and worry very little about the high school profile or SAT participation rate in our town. It’s human nature to listen to our hearts… Read more →

The rage of ‘white suburban moms’

Originally published 3/9/2014 in the News-Gazette In a speech last November that addressed the complaints pouring in regarding the Common Core Standards now being rolled out in our nation’s public schools, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan made the point that “white suburban moms who — all of a sudden — (discover) their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought… Read more →

States are Still Defining Proficiency Differently

Washington Post, 2/22/2016

A new study finds that despite the widespread adoption of  Common Core, individual states are still setting different definitions of “proficient” on annual math and reading tests. This disconnect makes it increasingly difficult for parents to know whether the standards are high enough to truly prepare students for 21st century learning.

Support the Student Who Decides ‘College Isn’t For Me’

Cierra Ford came to dread the inevitable question asked of all high school seniors this time of year: “Where are you going to college?” It got to the point in which she would just rattle off the names of a few colleges she never even considered, just to appease the well-meaning adults in her life who assume every bright senior… Read more →

NJ community college tries new model for remedial needs

Press of Atlantic City Press, 2/16/16

The high rate of remediation at county colleges and the challenge those students face in graduating have been ongoing issues in the state’s 19 community colleges. As many as two-thirds of new students require at least one remedial course.

Some can spend an entire semester or more in remedial classes, often getting discouraged and dropping out.

Getting the PARCC Conversation Out of ‘Park’

We’ve finally started to receive our student-level results here in Colorado from the first year of PARCC tests, which were given way back in the halcyon days when Donald Drumpf was just a reality TV creature. During the interim 10 months—and, come to think of it, even before a single student had faced a single PARCC question—the tests were getting… Read more →

Mired in Averageness: What Will It Take, Suburban Schools?

Parents pay dearly for the privilege of living within the boundaries of Chicago suburban schools such as Barrington High and Naperville Central. Both are ranked among the top 40 high schools in the state, and both have average ACT scores that are 24.4 and 24.7, respectively—solidly above the state average. But peek below the hood, and you start to see… Read more →

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