Are Anti-Charter Folk Engaging in "Statistical Gibberish?"

Check out today’s editorial in NJ Spotlight by Rick Pressler, interim head of New Jersey Charter School Association. Here he addresses the insistence of anti-school choice lobbyists (in this case, Julia Sass Rubin of Save Our Schools and Mark Weber, aka Jersey Jazzman) on perseverating about whether charter schools enroll students who are “really, really poor and disadvantaged” or just “poor and disadvantaged.”
The data, as presented by Weber and Rubin, obscures the larger picture of public-education equity and, as such, represents statistical gibberish. It ignores the centrality of effective education in addressing all the other ills that plague our urban centers. It also fails to address the significant positive impacts of charters in communities where district schools have failed multiple generations of students. And it does not offer any rationale for why public education in many of our urban areas largely failed parents during the 40 years before charters even became an option.
Pressler catalogues the various forms of school choice that exist in New Jersey, including those that cater to high-income families like traditional public schools in wealthy communities and magnet schools with strict admissions policies that proudly “cream off” the highest-performing students and enroll virtually no students with disabilities or Early Language Learners.

 Pressler:  “What is the effect of this unabashed “creaming” on the concentration of poorer, needier students -- not to mention lower-performing students -- in their sending districts? Weber and Rubin’s exclusive focus on charters in this regard again reveals the anti-charter bias of their analysis.”

For more on segregation within N.J.’s magnet schools and high-income districts, see my Spotlight piece here.

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