My favorite New Jersey blogger, known as Jersey Jazzman, is a teacher and one smart guy (I’m assuming he is a guy because of his moniker, which is not Jersey Jazzperson or Jazzwoman).
He has written a very important post. I urge you to read it carefully. It reflects on where the reform movement is heading in his state, and for that matter, nationally. He looks specifically at Newark, which has been a focal point for “reform” money and programs.
He shows (relying on the work of Bruce Baker) that the successful charters are the ones with the least challenging students, and the less successful charters have the most challenging students. The independent variable, as he points out, is not the teachers but the students.
The reformers want even more charters, as they do everywhere else. They want more public money in private hands. Why are they so unwilling to let local residents and parents have any role in the future of their schools other than to choose which one to apply to? Why do billionaires who live in California have more to say abut the future of Newark than the people who live there?
Why do the reformers blame the teachers in Newark for low scores? Why do they blame tenure and seniority for poor results? In the neighboring town, the teachers also have tenure and seniority and get great results.
This is a powerful post. Jersey Jazzman looks deep into the heart of the current American dilemma: Intense concentration of poverty and segregation in certain communities. And he calls on us to look too.