I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Monday, July 16, 2012

What Planet Does Chris Cerf Live On?!

Even after all we've been through on this blog, I am still amazed that NJ's ACTING Commissioner of Education in NJ, given everything we know about charters, would write something like this:
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.


Deb said...

Ah Duke, we are so grateful to you that you have all this at your fingertips. Too bad he spends his time on hyperbole like this rather than having the report on charter schools done. But he would probably produce the same dribble he did in the oped. Why don't you and Darcie do the report? I know, not your jobs but it would be a better report!!!!

Duke said...

Thx, Deb, but I'm not qualified.

But I know who is...

I'm completely serious about this.

Deb said...

I agree completely, but rumors are that he has the report almost done. Since NACSA just did that joke of a Performance Framework, want to bet they are doing the charter evaluation too?????