Friday, February 24, 2017

Save Our Schools-NJ Leaders In a Juvenile State of Mind

Reasonable people can disagree about whether New Jersey should authorize new public charter schools solely in historically-underserved districts or whether families in all towns should have access to alternative schools. The question becomes blurrier when well-established charter schools request expansion from the State DOE because of parent demand. I’m speaking, of course, of Red Bank Charter School, founded twenty years ago and now requesting a 200-student expansion, and Princeton Charter School, also founded twenty years ago and requesting a 76-student expansion. Both high-performing schools have long waiting lists for entry and long histories of providing students with excellent education.

A group called “The NJ Latino Coalition” (which doesn’t seem to care what Latino parents think) and Save Our Schools-NJ have joined forces to fight expansions of these two charters, as I wrote last week. SOS-NJ, founded in Princeton by Rutgers Professor Julia Sass Rubin, has a Facebook page with about 112 members who are “administrators” and, thus, can carry on private conversations (although, of course, nothing on social media is “private”). A member of that select group who wishes to remain anonymous shared a recent conversation. I’m just printing a short excerpt with names redacted, except for Rubin’s.

In reference to a Princeton Charter School parent who resents SOS-NJ’s interference [name redacted], Rubin writes,
This is charter parents in all their glory. This particular schmuck really represents what Princeton Charter School is all about -- my child is smarter than your child because she attends Princeton Charter. We have higher test scores (they actually don’t) than the public schools. We are all White and Asian and rich, unlike those poor and Brown kids at the public schools….
The asshole also published my salary on the same blog, presumably to show that I was not worthwhile because I was not a millionaire...school yard bullies. Pathetic!...I blocked another charter parent [name redacted] who is certifiably crazy.
You get the idea. For those who value facts, the NJ DOE database shows that 90 percent of the K-8 Princeton Charter School students met proficiency metrics in language arts and 88 percent did in math. At Princeton’s 6-8 traditional middle school John Witherspoon (where 75 percent of students are White or Asian), 71 percent of student met proficiency metrics in language arts and 63 percent did  in math. These are all great scores. So why denigrate multi-sector performance? Beats me.

Grown-ups ought to act like grown-ups. That’s not happening within the inner sanctum of SOS-NJ.

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