Join the Black Ministers Council of New Jersey. From January, 2011:
Wow - you can't argue with a track record like that, right? I wonder: who reviewed the applications?Rev. Reginald Jackson said he was celebrating after all five charter schools proposed by the Black Ministers Council were approved. They include an East Orange school with single-gender classrooms and a high school offering online instruction and instrumental music classes for students in East Orange, Irvington and Newark."I’m aware that most of our children are always going to be in public schools ... but at the same time parents ought to have options," said Jackson, executive director of the council. [emphasis mine]
The reviewers each read several applications, using a scorecard and providing detailed comments and a non-binding recommendation on each proposal. They did not have the final say, however; Acting Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf said the decision on approvals was made within the Department of Education."We gave these applications a fair shake," said Shelley Skinner, a board member of the New Jersey Charter School Association and director of a Jersey City charter school. [...]
That was back in January of 2011. Later that summer, Bradford took a new job at the hedge-fund moneyed, reformy lobbying shop B4K. His new deputy director? Shelley Skinner.Derrell Bradford, executive director of the school advocacy group E3, said some applications were very strong, and others "needed a lot of work." Each reviewer read about three applications, he said, and several reviewers read each one.Bradford also said school proposals were vetted for possible conflicts. He, for example, said he did not read applications submitted by the Black Ministers Council of New Jersey, whose executive director, Reginald Jackson, is on the board of E3.The five proposals submitted by the minister’s council were approved. [emphasis mine]
Did Skinner review the Black Ministers Council's applications? The article doesn't say.
The article does mention, however, that some of the other candidates were not happy with the way their applications were treated:
Why was the BMC was so successful when others were not? Because they certainly were, and Rev. Jackson was happy to claim the credit; in fact, right afterward, in March 2011, the BMC sponsored a workshop on getting charters approved for other ministers around the state as part of their conference on education:Arthur Nunnally of Newark, whose Newark Horizon Charter School proposed linking academics and an "entrepreneurial" curriculum for elementary school children, questioned why his proposal was turned down, when all five from the Black Ministers Council were approved."I don’t get it. I’m not going to claim there was politics involved here ... but that to me raises questions," said Nunnally.Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman ( D-Mercer) issued a statement Wednesday applauding Christie’s attention to education but asking why no new charters were approved in Trenton.Another charter school applicant, Vashti Johnson of the proposed Bright Minds Charter High School in Jersey City, asked why nine schools were approved in Newark, but only two in Hudson County.She also said she received no formal denial notice."I’m not politically connected. I’m just a group of parents and life-long residents in the community. Maybe we don’t get the same focus and consideration that more highly political people do," she said. [emphasis mine]
Conference ScheduleWednesday, March 2nd(Focus on Education)8AM Registration9AM Opening Plenary
9:15AM The Rev. Reginald T. Jackson, PresidingExecutive Director, BMC
Keynote BreakfastThe Honorable Chris ChristieGovernor, State of New Jersey
10:30AM Panel, “Public School Reform: What, How When?”Ms. Jeannine LaRue, Larue List, Group, ModeratorSen. Teresa Ruiz, Chair, Senate Education CommitteeAssemblyman Patrick Diegnan, Chair, Assembly Education CommitteeDr. Joseph Youngblood, Thomas Edison UniversityMr. Shavar Jeffries, Esquire, Chair, Newark Public Schools, Advisory CommitteeDr. Edythe Abdullah, President, Essex County Community CollegeMr. Ronald C. Lee, Supt. Orange Public Schools
12Noon LuncheonMr. Chris Cerf, Acting CommissionerNew Jersey Department of Education
2PM Panel, “School Choice: Viable Alternative or Fraudulent Hope”Dr. Therman Evans, MD., Pastor, ModeratorMr. Derrell Bradford, Excellent Education for EveryoneSen. Raymond Lesniak, Chair, Senate Economic Growth CommitteeMr. James Harris, President, New Jersey NAACPMr. Jerome Harris, President, New Jersey Black Issues ConventionMr. Martin Perez, Esquire, President New Jersey Latino Alliance
Charter School Expansion Workshop(churches that would like to start charter schools)
3:30PM Closing Plenary4PM Closing Prayer and Adjournment
Wow, look at all those politicians! I guess it is fair to say the BMC is "politically connected" after all; how else do you get the governor himself to be your keynote speaker. And Derrell Bradford was there, along with ACTING Commissioner Cerf.
I leave you, dear reader, to draw your own conclusions.
One last thought: guess who else was sponsored by the BMC and eventually got an approval later in the fall?
Pastor Amir Khan. The man Chris Christie doesn't "know."