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

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

How To Get Chris Christie to Visit Your Charter!

Bruce Baker has an important post about charter school student populations. It turns out that different charter schools have wildly different percentages of students who live in poverty, don't speak English as their first language, or are classified as needing special education services.

Worse, it seems that many of the schools touted as "successes" actually have fewer of these children with special needs in their student bodies:

The schools with bars pointing downward have fewer of the kids with special needs; the ones with upward pointing bars have more of those kids. You can see there's a wide variation; you can also see that schools like Robert Treat, Learning Community, and Elysian - which charter cheerleaders point to as "successes" - serve a different population than the schools at the right of the graph.

Now, I've been following the Christie reform circus for a while; it struck me that I had never heard of some of these schools, while others are very well known. And part of the reason is that our governor loves to have photo-ops at schools, but only at certain, select ones.

Which ones? Well, to illustrate, I modified the professor's graph a little:

Here's what I found with the Google machine:

Learning Community: 8/31/09

Trenton Community: 2/24/11

Elysian: 9/30/10

Robert Treat: 1/18/11

If you know of more, tell me in the comments, and I'll change the graph. At first glance, it would appear that the best way to get the governor to pay a visit to your charter is to figure out a way to keep as many poor, special ed, and non-English-speaking kids out of your school as possible.

I don't know about you, but I think Christie needs to spend some time at the schools to the right. Even the middle would be helpful.

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