In New Jersey, charter schools serve less than two percent of students, but they disproportionately serve our highest-need students. More than 61 percent of charter school students are African American, compared to the state average of 16 percent, and more than 70 percent of charter school students are low income, compared to 32 percent in the state.Do I really have to spell this out again?
I mean, dear lord, Bruce Baker has written about this over and over again. Here's his latest:
So who cares? Well, it matters a great deal for policy implications whether the effect is created by concentrating less poor, English speaking females in a given school or by actually providing substantively better curriculum/instruction. The latter might be scalable but the FORMER IS NOT! There just aren’t enough non-poor girls in Newark to create (or expand) a whole bunch of these schools!It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to compare the student populations of charters to the population of the entire state, because charters are overwhelmingly clustered in poorer, urban areas. When you compare them to the neighboring public schools, the trend is clear: "successful" charter schools tend to have fewer children in poverty, fewer children who don't speak English at home, and fewer children with special needs than neighboring public schools.
What's worse: the NJDOE tends to have a predilection for closing or restructuring charters that do serve the neediest children. There is, by all appearances, a reward system in place for segregating children into public schools.
I'll try to get to the rest of this truly awful op-ed later, but let me just address one other comment:
Opponents of charter schools have made careers out of maligning them. They claim that charter schools are an effort to privatize public education. They are not -- charter schools are public schools. Opponents claim that charter schools are “undemocratic” because citizens do not vote to open them. In fact, charter schools are the most democratic schools we have because if parents do not choose to enroll their child in a charter school, that school will close. [emphasis mine]Well, I am not an opponent of charter schools per se; I just believe in looking at the facts. But I suppose the ACTING Commissioner would count me, and SOSNJ, and parents like Darcie Cimarusti, as "opponents."
Do you really want to compare tax returns and financial records on this, Mr. Cerf? Do you really want to see how teachers and parents like me and Darcie stack up against education corporatists like yourself in how charters have affected our "careers"?
Yeah, I didn't think so.