Jersey Jazzman gets irked by those who boast about the superior results of charter schools in Newark. He wrote a critical review of Dale Russakoff’s book The Prize, because she ignored basic data about charter schools and she wrote that the charter schools operated with a leaner administration and more services. Not true, says JJ, who in his real life is a teacher and a graduate student at Rutgers University named Mark Weber.


In this post, JJ lays out in easily comprehensible graphs, using state data, what the real comparisons are.


First, he compares the results of a highly-touted charter school in Newark to a suburban public school and shows that the charter school lags. But wait, you think, that’s not a fair comparison, and that is his point.


I don’t point this out to suggest either that Montclair’s schools are superior, or that TEAM/KIPP’s schools are inferior. Without adequately controlling for at least the observed variations in each district’s populations (and acknowledging that there are likely many unobserved variations), any comparison between the two systems is utterly pointless. My point here is that facile, a-contextual, cherry-picked factoids like these are completely meaningless, and that people who bring them up time and again show themselves to be fatuous. 


Using state data, he demonstrates that Newark public schools spend more on instruction than the city’s charter schools; that NPS spends far more on student support services — guidance counselors, nurses, librarians, psychologists — than the charters; that NPS spends more on support personnel than charters; that NPS has lower administrative costs than ANY charter in Newark; that the costs of administrative salaries is lower in Newark public schools than most Newark charters.


Jersey Jazzman has a refreshing impatience with false claims. How long can “reformers” get by on propaganda?