Both with charter laws into their second decade, Illinois has about 96 charter schools, New Jersey 73. But while New Jersey’s are spread throughout the state, all but nine of Illinois’ charter schools are located in Chicago, the product of a restricted law that requires local districts to authorize charters within their borders. Chicago boasted a mayor and a school superintendent -- now U.S Education Secretary Arne Duncan -- who were more inclined, but there was still stiff union opposition that Perez said was tough to overcome. “Virtually every one of the charters was out-performing the district schools,” Perez said. “Still, nobody wanted to believe that charter schools were successful.”(emphasis mine)Jersey City:
Sounds like Perez was a hit in Chicago when Arne Duncan was Superintendent, but got stymied in the rest of Illinois by districts that were allowed to *GASP* decide for themselves if they need or want a charter. This really brings his "tyranny of the majority" quote into focus.
New Jersey has become a bad flashback for Mr. Perez. The pesky, noisy people in Highland Park, Cherry Hill, Teaneck and beyond that don't want to be a notch in his charter belt are a trigger; we're reminding him of the districts in Illinois that weren't buying his snake oil either.
Newark and the rest of NJ:The hiring of a former school administrator to oversee some functions in the Jersey City public school district is a sign that the state doesn’t want to give up control of the 29,000-student district, according to some parents and activists.Toting signs that read “State !!! Respect Our Elected Board” and “The State of NJ has overturned the local school Board Election,” some 15 protesters rallied in front of the Board of Education building on Claremont Avenue yesterday to protest the state’s hiring of Cathy Coyle to work in the district.A former Jersey City school administrator, Coyle was mostly known and reviled in some quarters for showing up in classrooms to monitor teachers as part of a so-called “SWAT team.”
State Sen. Nia Gill (D., Essex), who has tried to pass a bill allowing school districts to block charters within their boundaries, said Christie's administration had not chosen reviewers who would look at applications critically.
"The process is not transparent, with no local control and very little public participation," Gill said. Charter schools "are a national movement backed by national money, and I wonder if we're allowing them to roll over us."
Julia Sass Rubin, a parent and professor of public policy at Rutgers University, has organized rallies opposing charters through the advocacy group Save Our Schools.
"It really bugs me, these guys with no connection to New Jersey are coming in and telling the Legislature how to educate our kids," she said. "They have a vested interest in seeing more charter schools approved. How is that not conflict of interest?"
For decades, U.S. educational policy was largely determined locally, but since the early 2000s, decisions have increasingly been determined at the state and federal level, with nonprofits playing an increasing role, said Ross Danis, executive director of the nonprofit Newark Trust for Education, which works to improve education in that city.More Newark:
Welcome to New Jersey, where:Acting Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf has refused to consider returning the district to local control."At this time, I am not prepared to recommend that any partial withdrawal be initiated," he wrote in a July letter to Cami Anderson, superintendent of Newark schools. Cerf cited low graduation rates and troublesome percentages of students not proficient in math or language arts as reasons for his decision.
- You can't raise funds for your schools locally with anything other than property taxes,
- You have to abide by whatever mandates the state forces on you,
- You are at the mercy of a governor who will give or take away your state funding at will,
- Your district must support state-approved charter schools, whether your community wants them or not,
- The names of the people who approve those charters are kept secret - probably because they aren't even from your state, and...
- If you're a city, you'll probably never get out from under the yoke of state control.
I blame the unions...