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

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Charter Schools: Bad For the Planet

Darcie has a great post updating the Regis Academy charter school application. Regis, you'll remember, is coming to the high-performing Cherry Hill School District, despite the fact that the community neither wants nor needs it. Regis's founder, Pastor Amir Khan, admitted that he needed the revenue from the charter school - courtesy of local taxpayers - to help pay his mortgage (so much for the 1st Amendment), even though it looks like he is still is danger of being evicted from his church/school property .

Originally, Regis was supposed to draw from three other districts contiguous to its location in Cherry Hill. But as the community has rejected the school and overwhelmingly decided not to send its children there, Pastor Khan has had to draw children from other districts - in contravention of state law. I guess the Regis folks figure the Broadies who have infested the NJDOE will just simply ignore the rules whenever they feel like it. Wonder whatever gave them that idea?

Darcie includes this graph of the proposed sending districts for Regis:

That's a lot of different places! Let's map it:

Note the scale in the lower left corner; this area is over 50 miles across. Cherry Hill, where Regis is supposed to be located, is marked in blue.

Does this make any sense? Why would we spend all this money and waste all this gas to transport a few children from all over South Jersey to attend a charter school? I could see it if Regis were a specialized school for autistic children, or those with emotional disabilities, or even highly-capable kids. But here's what Regis wants to do with its kids after carting them all over the state:
Rev. Amir Khan, the controversial head of the Solid Rock Worship Center, says students at Regis Academy will receive their own Sprint tablet. Every classroom will be equipped with Blackboard, a multi-media learning platform more prevalent in colleges than elementary schools."We believe we can bring innovation and technology to children starting in kindergarten,” says Khan, who ran a telecommunications company, among other entrepreneurial ventures, before becoming a pastor. "There are ways advanced technology can be taught in basic formats to make it very interesting, such as opening up devices to see how they communicate from one phone to another or opening up computers to see how they establish a network.”  (emphasis mine)  
Yes, here in New Jersey, we are considering leaving the rest of you a big carbon footprint just so kids can open up a computer.

Just another "unavoidable" cost...

ADDING: An unbelievable twist to this story - written only hours after I posted:
Seems that Regis, facing eviction from their current facility where Amir Khan also houses his church, Solid Rock Worchip Center, as well as many other ventures, has found themselves a new facility!  

How did the districts find out about the change of facility?  

It must have been at a Regis Board of Trustees Meeting, right?  Concerned citizens have attended EVERY meeting, to stay abreast of any big happenings.  After all, public dollars will be spent to educate Regis students, so the public has a right to have a say in how that money is spent.  


There has been no mention of the change of facility at ANY Regis Meeting.  In fact, their website still uses the original address for the facility the Camden Diocese is evicting them from!

Well, then Amir Khan must have broke the news in the press!  He seems to LOVE talking to the press, even when the chips are down!


Just recently, perhaps even in the last few days, Amir Khan told WHYY reporter Jen Howard that he had struck a deal with the Diocese! 

Well, then the NJDOE must have let the districts know before they conducted that preparedness visit last week, which included a tour of the facility!  


In fact, unbeknownst to the districts, the preparedness visit was conducted at the NEW facility!

The districts found out when the address on the transportation requests they received from Regis did not match the address of the facility.  

So the sending districts didn't know about the new facility, but the NJDOE did? Does the town? Do the neighbors have any say in the zoning? Were traffic impact studies done?


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