Because when it comes to charter schools, he is sadly misinformed:
(:20) I sat on the board of Learning Community Charter School, so I do believe that they have a place. That is an NJEA, union charter school. So let me just kind of put that out there as well.
OK, fine. So let me put this out there, Mr. Mayor:
From my charter school report with Julia Sass Rubin. There are many charter schools in Jersey City that serve comparatively small populations of children in economic disadvantage -- and Learning Community CS is one of them. In all of JC, LCCS has the third smallest proportion of free lunch-eligible (FL) students of any school, charter or district.
(A side note: no school in JC serves more FL students than M.E.T.S. charter school. For their trouble, they've been put on probation. Because making gestures toward serving poor children, rather than actually enrolling them, appears to be what NJDOE likes. Nice, huh?)
Here are the special education numbers:
Way lower than the district. And, as we know, the types of student disabilities tend to be lower-cost in the charters.
Continuing with Mayor Fulop:
(:50) When you have charter schools in a place like Jersey City that have waiting lists of five, six, seven hundred people, it speaks to the fact, ultimately, that we are falling short in some of our traditional schools over there.I won't go back over the charter school waiting list silliness again. But I will refer back to a brief I wrote in 2014, published at the NJ Education Policy Forum, that dispels this notion of Hudson County's charter sector outperforming its district schools.
Here's the bottom line:Economic Disadvantage and Student Academic PerformanceHow does student performance correlate to the free lunch disparity of a school?This graph shows FL disparity plotted against aggregate grade-weighted proficiency[xi], a measure of the percentage of all test takers at a school who reached the level of “proficient” or higher on New Jersey’s state-wide standardized test, the NJASK. While the measure likely hides important differences in test scores[xii], it is still a viable and concise way to judge differences between schools.While Hudson County’s charter schools do have relatively high rates of proficiency, it is worth noting that many of the county’s TPSs perform at the same level, even though they have less disparity in the percentage of economically disadvantaged children they enroll. In addition, the trend-lines for both types of schools show that, on average, a TPS will show a higher rate of aggregate proficiency when compared to a charter school with the same FL disparity. Of course, this is merely conjecture when it comes to the highest-performing charters, as there are no TPSs in Hudson County that have comparable levels of FL disparity.
The reason that some of Jersey City's charter schools "outperform" its district schools is because those charters don't serve as many kids in economic disadvantage.
Further: many Hudson County district schools perform just as well, if not better, than the charters, yet enroll many more economically disadvantaged children.
So when Fulop says the district schools are "falling short," he is conveniently forgetting to mention that his beloved charters are doing a different job than the district schools. If he's going to run for governor, he'd best understand this very simple point.
One more thing:
(1:35) We fired the old superintendent, we went for a national search, we hired the Deputy Chancellor of New York City, she was willing to come over, we didn't know her before. She's working terrific on achievement levels and really improving many of the schools.Yeah, uh... no.
Marcia Lyles, current State Superintendent of Jersey City's schools, was the hand-picked choice of former Acting Commissioner of Education Chris Cerf. The two were both graduates of the Broad Superintendents
Fulop was intimately involved in bringing her to Jersey City in a way that, as far as I'm concerned, pushed the envelope of normal standards of transparency:
That last sentence remains one of the most weasely excuses I've ever reported on this blog. But, OK, let's not live in the past -- how's Lyles doing now?“This calls for an investigation,” says state Sen. Ronald Rice (D-29) of Newark, co-chair of the 13-member committee, which consists of seven assemblymen and six senators. “A candidate for mayor, Mr. Fulop, arranges a meeting with Cerf, some residents and school board members in someone’s house to discuss pending issues not yet decided by the board? Where’s the transparency?”According to a report Friday in the Hudson Reporter, Fulop, who has been accused of helping orchestrate the hiring of the new superintendent, Marcia Lyles, convened a secret meeting on May 3, 2011 involving Cerf, some residents, two sitting board members and two board members-elect in a home at 274 Arlington Avenue. At that time, the board was preparing to remove Epps. Ultimately, the board selected Lyles over a second finalist, South Carolina educator Debra Brathwaite.
In an email, Fulop invites current board members Marvin Adames, Carol Harrison-Arnold, Sterling Waterman and Carol Lester to attend the meeting. Others invited included Shelley Skinner, deputy director of the Better Education for Kids school choice advocacy group, and Ellen Simon, founder of Parents for Progress, the committee allied with Fulop that endorsed the three winning board candidates in the last election.The meeting, however, would not be a violation of the Open Public Meetings Act, better known as the Sunshine Law. The law, which was passed in order to increase government transparency, requires that decision-making government bodies “conduct their business in public,” with a few exceptions such as when discussing pending lawsuits.There are a number of stipulations for when a meeting would be required to be open, such as if a majority of a body’s members are in attendance. That was not the case in this instance, as two of the attendees were Board Members-elect and not yet technically public officials. [emphasis mine]
But Broad graduates are notorious for heavy-handed, top-down, and often failed leadership. Does Lyles fit this pattern? Is she, according to [JCEA President Ronnie] Greco, qualified to lead the district?Read the whole thing for a textbook case of how a school leader can alienate her staff.
"Absolutely not," says Greco. "She came from failure; that’s what she knows. She came from what was designated as a failing school district in Delaware. Do I believe in the term 'failing school district'? No, that’s a label that the government drops on us based upon benchmarks that they set and they set them higher and higher every year and keep changing the method in which you have to achieve those benchmarks."But as a person? No. She has no personality, she has no social skills, she has no people skills, from the folks I speak to up in the central office she has no managerial skills. She’s a puppet of [NJ Governor] Chris Christie. She was a puppet of [former schools chancellor] Joel Klein over in New York City. She’s one of these people… she’s a suitcase traveler, bouncing from state to state, tacking on a nice pension. She has no connection here."
If Steven Fulop thinks bringing Marcia Lyles to Jersey City was a good thing, he's got a lot to learn about eduction policy before he can ever be trusted to lead this state.
Just keep reading this blog, Mr. Mayor -- I'll get you up to speed...