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

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Tom Moran: Democracy For the 'Burbs! But Newark? Meh...

I've pointed out the cluelessness of Tom Moran, op-ed editor of the Star-Ledger, many times before when it comes to education policy. I've pointed out repeatedly a basic truth he chooses to ignore:
Charter schools in Newark are not replicable on a large scale because they do not serve the same students as public schools.
I've pointed out Moran's cluelessness on the Newark teachers contract. I've pointed out his ignorance on school funding in Newark. I've pointed out his misunderstanding of tenure law and his inconsistency on assigning blame for the "tone" of New Jersey's education debate.

So I won't go through that again in response to his piece today on restoring local control to Newark; instead, I'll merely point out the illogic of this:
Yes, it is difficult to argue against local democratic control. But remember that only 7 percent of Newark voters turned out for the last school election. That’s a limited mandate. And by other measures, including the thousands of families still on waiting lists for charter schools, Newarkers remain hungry for the type of reform this board would reject. [emphasis mine]
Tom, is it not possible that the turnout for school elections in Newark is so low because the citizens know their votes don't matter?

Why would anyone go to the polls and vote for an office that has no actual power to change anything? The state commissioner, up until now, has made all of the decisions regarding schools in Newark; the school board's role has been purely advisory. Considering the vote literally does not matter, I'm amazed even 7 percent of Newark's citizens showed up.

Further, turnout is low in even the wealthiest districts in New Jersey; Bergen County's districts averaged about a 10 percent turnout in the last election. Does that mean those communities should have to relinquish local control?

As to the alleged "long waiting lists" for charters: do we know how many children on those lists are duplicates? Do we know how many would actually be accepted into and remain in charters, given that many of those schools have high attrition rates and student populations substantially different from the neighboring public schools?

There is simply no reason to believe that there is more public demand for charter expansion than for local control. As I wrote before:
Newark is being sold a lie, and they've had enough. The elected school advisory board has had enough. The elected city council has had enough. The students have had enough. The teachers have had enough. The parents have had enough. Everyone in Newark is rightly sick and tired of the empty promises of state control under Chris Christie, Chris Cerf, and - to be fair - their predecessors.
Most of these stories were covered by your own paper, Tom. Maybe you ought to take your head out of the sand and start reading them.

Star-Ledger Editorial Board

2 comments:

jcg said...

In service to his patrons in the governor's office, Moran reveals their deep contempt for democracy. What a hack.

Mrs. King's music students said...

Meanwhile, everyone in Camden is on pins and needles wondering what Mr Cerf will say in his 'inaugural tour' of the newest jewel in the crown of state controlled school systems tomorrow. Well... not everyone. Former Lanning Square types know the drill. I'm guessing he will arrive mid-morning after parents have dropped off their kids, and residual residents have been cleared from the streets. His stage crew will need some time to knock down any vacant bldgs w/in camera range, as chairs are arranged w/in camera range to accomodate his entourage. One lucky principal and perhaps a BOE rep may be approached by a perky reporter and interviewed in a remote location from the Cerf party. Then Mr Cerf will say something to the effect that Camden Public Schools are "failure factories" while pre-service charters are bound to succeed. Then media types have until 6 o'clock to cut and splice the footage so that the people interviewed in remote locations appear to agree with everything Cerf says on the evening news. Been there ... done that