When the CREDO national study of charters was released in 2009, it made huge headlines because it found that only 17% of charters were higher-performing than traditional public schools. The other 83% were either no different or lower performing.

Critics of charters often cite this study because CREDO has impeccable pro-charter credentials. Its leader Margaret (Macke) Raymond is affiliated with the conservative, pro-choice Hoover Institution at Stanford. The study was funded by the pro-choice, pro-charter, pro-voucher Walton Foundation.

When New Jersey Acting Commissioner of Education Chris Cerf released the CREDO study of NJ charters, he pointed out that CREDO was “not part of the bandwagon” promoting charters.

But critics complained that the NJ study left out charters with the lowest performing students and did not show the tiny proportions of ELLs and special education students in the “best” charters.

Now New Jersey mom Darcie Cimarusti weighs in. Cimarusti came to the charter battle only recently, when the state tried to plop a Hebrew language charter school in her district. Darcie became “Mother Crusader” and joined with other parents to fight the charter intrusion into suburban districts like her own. She testified at hearings and writes a blog.

Mother Crusader conducted her own investigation.

She dug into CREDO, its funders, its PR firm, and its staff to argue that it is part of the corporate reform movement.

Contrary to what Cerf said, it is “part of the bandwagon.”

The moral of the story: Don’t mess with Mother Crusader.