Last week, at a panel discussion in Highland Park organized by Save Our Schools-NJ and Education Law Center, audience members, according to Bob Braun of the Star-Ledger, heard a lot of criticism about charter schools: they’re just “an exit ramp for some people,” a logical step in the trajectory from state takeover to privatization, and “cannot be considered a systematic, equitable strategy.”
I wasn’t there but Kathy Mone, Business Administrator for Elysian Charter School of Hoboken, gave this report:
I thought you might be interested to hear about the meeting, which was totally misrepresented by Star Ledger. (He [Bob Braun] was given praise at the beginning for being the only journalist in NJ on the right side.)“Vince” is NJEA Executive Director Vince Giordano, who also serves as a Trustee for ELC.
The lone African American woman asked the question of what alternatives inner city parents have other than charter schools. They offered no alternatives. Nothing. It was horrible, awful; the silence was deadening. And since the audience was composed completely of NJEA top brass (everyone from Vince on down was there), Rutgers professors and a few others, nobody challenged their inability to answer her question.
Kathy’s commentary on the absence of inner city stakeholders at this meeting nails one of peculiarities of the alliance of ELC, SOS, and NJEA in their shared quest to tamp down the perceived threat of school choice. Snaps to Julia Sass Rubin, however, head of SOS, who broadened the conversation beyond the false dichotomy between charter and public and spoke about an “affordable housing strategy.” (Really, Mr. Braun, SOS is a “pro-public school group”? Charter schools are public schools, a fact obscured by politics but surely transparent to one of the Star-Ledger’s lead columnists. Supporters of charter schools are pro-public school too.)