So why cheat in a game you already know you're going to win? Nothing's been proved yet; keep watching.Tom Moran, Star-Ledger Op-Ed Editor, 11/18/12:
If you are winning a game fair and square, why would you cheat to run up the score?I'm flattered, Tom. Take as many metaphors as you want...
(Come one, relax; I'm just kidding. Sort of...)
What are we both talking about? The revelation that Robert Treat Academy, long the darling of the charter cheerleaders in New Jersey, has been caught up in a cheating scandal:
The state Department of Education’s year-long investigation into testing irregularities in a handful of public schools in 2010 and 2011 has leveled serious accusations against two more institutions, including a Newark charter founded by one of the state’s preeminent power brokers.
Late yesterday the department released critical investigative reports of the Charter School in Newark and the in Elizabeth.
Robert Treat was founded by Steve Adubato Sr., a longtime Democratic leader in the city’s North Ward.
The department has previously released a damning report of testing in Woodridge schools, and still more are expected.
But this release steps up the exposure. Adubato's school has been one of the darlings of New Jersey's charter school movement, enjoying two visits and plenty of praise from Gov. Chris Christie, among others.
Investigators cited testing and security breaches by administrators and teachers at both schools during the 2010 and 2011 cycles of the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge (NJ ASK). The department claims that staff members coached students to correct wrong answers and allowed for security lapses with answer sheets.
Robert Treat has been among the high fliers in the state’s charter school movement, one of the original 13 approved under former Gov. Christie Whitman and making headlines ever since.
It has consistently posted well-above-average scores both in Newark’s mostly Hispanic North Ward and in the state itself -- some of the highest, in fact. In 2008, it won a national Blue Ribbon School award from the U.S. Department of Education.Moran, of course, is happy to sing the praises of RTA. He can't possibly understand why they would cheat on tests, because the school proves that "poverty is not destiny." What he refuses to understand - and he has refused to understand this over and over again - is that RTA was already "cheating," because it doesn't serve the same student population as the public schools in Newark. Once again, here's Bruce Baker:
First, as I noted on a previous post, Robert Treat’s student body is only 3.8% special education in a district with an average of 18.1%. This is from the special education classification data from NJDOE. In the enrollment files, Treat reports 0%. At 100% additional average expenditure per special education pupil, matching district demographics would raise Treat’s expected spending to $14,868 (1.18 x 12,600 in 2007).Second, while Robert Treat does show about 62.4% students qualifying for free (130% poverty level) and reduced (185% poverty level) lunch, the free lunch share is about 42.9%. That is, Treat’s free or reduced share is boosted by the share of children who are more well off among the less well off. Note that the model I used above used Free & Reduced shares, not Free alone or the ratio between them.By contrast, Newark Public Schools in total has 82% free or reduced and 71% free lunch alone.Treat also reports less than 1% limited English proficient students while Newark City schools report 8.7%. [emphasis mine]
According to the latest post on Newark charters from Baker, no school in the city has a lower percentage of students who qualify for free lunches than RTA. Shouldn't we at least acknowledge that maybe some of RTA's success is due to peer effect?
RTA has never won "fair and square." They are like a Little League coach who drafts all of last year's All-Stars to play on his team. The other teams in the league don't have a chance; there is no point in playing the games, because the outcome is pre-determined.
But the Star-Ledger refuses to see this. Here's another metaphor for you, Tom:
Star-Ledger Editorial Board: "We're not listening, Jazzman..."