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

Saturday, November 6, 2010

When Charter Schools Attack!

As the fine readers of this blog know, Professor Bruce Baker at Rutgers actually takes the time to look at data and see if maybe we can draw conclusions from it (what a novel idea!). Bruce, however, crossed the line when he dared to make graphs illustrating charter school performance and student composition.

This cannot be allowed because, as Stephen Colbert always reminds us: "Facts have a well-known liberal bias." Bruce's analysis has actually cast doubts on the charter movement. Where he gets off thinking he knows more than Oprah is beyond me.

Well, the folks at the NJ Charter Schools Association aren't having any of that:
The New Jersey Charter Schools Association seriously questions the credibility of this biased data. Rutgers University Professor Bruce Baker is closely aligned with teachers unions, which have been vocal opponents of charter schools and have a vested financial interest in their ultimate failure.
Baker is a member of the Think Tank Review Panel, which is bankrolled by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice. Great Lakes Center members include the National Education Association and the State Education Affiliate Associations in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. Its chairman is: Lu Battaglieri, the executive director of the Michigan Education Association.
There are now thousands of children on waiting lists for charters schools in New Jersey. This demand shows parents want the option of sending their children to these innovative schools and are satisfied with the results.
Wow, guilt by association. That's just a horrible thing to do.

For example, if I were to point out that the board of the NJCSA included a VP at Goldman, Sachs, and that I find that highly questionable given the tight connections between Wall Street and the charters - the VERY tight connections - well, that would be wrong of me.

So I won't. Just like I won't mention another board member is a VP at the public relations firm that lists the City of Newark as a client - a city that just happens to have a mayor who LOVES charter schools...

Everybody in my audience gets to start a charter school! (Yeah!)

I also won't mention the board member who is a member of a law firm that describes itself as "Among Nation's Most Active Law Firms for Private Equity and Venture Capital Deals."

Yes, guilt by association is just plain wrong. And I'm sure Dr. Dawood Farahi, president of Kean Univeristy and NJCSA board member, joins with me in condemning personal attacks on academics who merely analyze data.

ADDING: A little more to chew on when thinking if we really want private financing and public charter schools mixing.

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