Here's what the Star-Ledger failed to emphasize: of those 186 officials, 95 serve on charter school boards. That's right: over half of the New Jersey school officials removed from their positions today for violating the law are on charter school boards.Nearly 200 school board members must "immediately vacate their position" after failing to complete a background check mandated under a new state law, a state Department of Education spokesman said today .
Under the state law enacted last year, the only one of its kind in the nation, all school board members, including charter school trustees had to complete the "criminal history review" by Dec. 31.
Officials from the state and the New Jersey School Boards Association sent numerous reminders to board members from regular district schools and charter schools to complete the check, but at least 186 officials, including one member who holds two positions, didn't comply. School board members were notified via phone calls, e-mails and formal letters since the law was signed last spring.
"Because they have failed to comply with the background check law, they have been notified that they are ineligible to serve and must immediately vacate their position," said state Department of Education spokeswoman Allison Kobus. [emphasis mine]
Who are these upright citizens?
This would be the same Reginald Jackson who is a staunch supporter of school vouchers. I guess he likes private schools better because the officials there don't have to follow so many of those pesky laws...Rev. Reginald Jackson said he was unaware that the entire board of Arete Academy Charter school, including himself, would be vacated. According to his dealings with the Department of Education, the background check was a two-phase process, the first of which he and his colleagues completed on time."As far as I'm concerned, I spoke with the department. We were told we had to have something done by December 31, which all of us complied with," said Jackson who, as board chairman of Orange's fledgling charter school, would have been responsible for ensuring compliance with the state mandate. "All of us now have to get our fingerprinting done." [emphasis mine]
Between this, ACTING Commissioner Chris Cerf's broken promise to release data about charters, and the double-secret charter panels, I'd say enough's enough. Why should parents and local school boards put up with these unaccountable, secretive, poorly-run schools in their communities if they don't want them?
It is time to put a moratorium on all new charter schools until the Cerf report is released and a comprehensive review of all current charter schools is conducted.
Who's with me?
ADDING: To give you a little perspective:
|Total Number of School Districts 2011-12||603|
|Total Number of Charter Schools 2011-12||75|
If you count every charter as its own "district," charters have 11% of the school boards in New Jersey. But 51% of the officials dismissed today are on charter school boards.
What astonishing incompetence.
ADDING MORE: Leave a comment here, then go over to New Jersey Teachers United Against Governor Chris Christie on Facebook and comment there.