Archives for the month of: February, 2016

The New York Post has an opinion column criticizing the New York Times for picking on Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academy.

You see, the Times can’t stand success. So it must “destroy” these very successful schools.  
That explains why the Times wrote about the “got to go” list of children who had to be pushed out. 
That explains why the Times published the story and video of the teacher humiliating a first-grader. 

You see, as we have seen in the comments on this blog from two readers who defend whatever happens in charters, especially Success Academy, the public schools do the same, only worse. 
Whatever charters do that is unsavory, there will always be a public school that did it too. 
The only difference between charter schools and public schools, if you listen to the charter advocates, is that they are far, far better than public schools, have higher test scores, and educate exactly the same children (the reason they have so few ELLs is that the charters quickly teach them English, and they have fewer SPED because the charters magically overcome their disabilities).
But fortunately readers of this blog knew this already. 

Something good is happening in New York City. The number of low-performing schools in New York City dropped from 91 to 27. Some were merged or closed, but many improved their education.

 

Unlike the Bloomberg administration, Mayor de Blasio is determined to improve schools instead of closing them or turning them over to charter operators.

 

 

Larry Lee writes here about Matt Brown, a candidate for state board of education in Alabama who says he is proud to take money from the billionaire DeVos family of Michigan.

 

As Lee points out, the DeVos family is devoted to replacing public schools with vouchers and charters. Their organization, American Federation for Children, funds choice proponents across the country. They favorite cause is vouchers. A few years back, AFC honored Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Michelle Rhee for their efforts to push privatization of public schools.

 

As Larry Lee writes:

 

“Someone who wants a seat on the governing body that is supposed to advocate for public schools is proud to take money from folks who do not support public education. Just how does that work?

 

“(And the irony of his statement about having adequately-funded public schools is that just 12 months ago he was working hard to make sure a tax vote to fund Baldwin County schools was defeated.)

 

“Brown went on to say that he is not familiar with the DeVos family.

 

“OK, since he’s not done his homework, let’s help. Betsy DeVos has been called the “four-star general” of the effort to privatize public schools across the country. In the just-released best seller, Dark Money. The hidden history of the billionaires behind the rise of the radical right, author Jane Mayer links the DeVos family with the on-going efforts of Charles and David Koch to radicalize the United States.

 

“In 2006 Dick DeVos ran for governor of Michigan, and even though he spent $34 million of his own money, was unsuccessful. In 2000 the couple spent $2 million on a Michigan vote to approve vouchers. The vote was handily defeated. A PAC run by Betsy DeVos was fined $2.6 million by the Ohio Elections Commission for violating that state’s election laws.

 

“Of course, it is common for politicians to claim that where they get campaign contributions will have no bearing on how they vote. How honest is a statement like this? Betsy DeVos tells us on page 235 of Dark Money when she says, “I have decided, however, to stop taking offense at the suggestion that we are buying influence. Now I simply concede the point. They are right. We do expect some things in return.”

 

“Truer words were never spoken.

 

“And that’s why Matt Brown being proud of money from the DeVos family is a scary thought.”

 

Will the people of Alabama enable these billionaires from Michigsn to buy a seat on the state board of education? Or will they insist on someone who wants to improve the public schools and help the children of Alabama?

John Thompson is a historian and teacher in Oklahoma.

He writes:

“Something’s happening here; What it is ain’t exactly clear …”
But, what is it?
A secret plan was presented to the Oklahoma City Public School Board of Education to turn neighborhood schools in the gentrifying areas around the downtown into charters. Given the prominent role of two presenters, principals of “No Excuses” charters, it seems likely that their pedagogy would be mandated for many of the poorest children of color who remain in the upscaling area. Word of the plan leaked out and, as the Daily Oklahoman reported, “tempers flared … and a standing room-only crowd cheered and jeered.”
Singing from the standard corporate reform hymnal, several charter advocates challenged the integrity of the plan’s opponents and the teachers union. The most poignant testimony, however, came from an African-American elementary student, dressed in a smart suit and tie, who personalized the pain felt by kids in the neighborhood school which is apparently targeted for a charter co-location. Even the young child knew what the “No Excuses” structure would do to his classmates who, he says, don’t always do everything right the first time they are told, as mandated by “No Excuses.”

 

 

It is no secret why an Oklahoma City elementary student would reveal the same feelings that my students have long expressed to me. The anguish expressed by inner city Oklahoma City students prompted by the “rigor” known as “No Excuses” echoes the cries of humiliated children across the nation. This raises two questions: what is happening here when teachers are commonly taught to speak in a robotic voice, to not say “please” to students, and to demand total compliance in folding their hands properly and tracking the speaker? Second, what is happening here when the nation’s most famous “No Excuses” charter chain, Success Academy, strikes out with such venom after it is caught maintaining a secret “Got to Go” list of students to be pushed out, and this brutal video is released?
Before school systems – from Oklahoma City to Los Angeles – even entertain the mass charterization plans choreographed in the “Billionaires Boys Club’s” public relations departments, they need to “Stop!” and “Look what’s going down.” All stakeholders should discuss the video, as well as the counterattack, led by the academy’s founder, Eva Moskowitz, against the New York Times. The Times reports that the 1st grader in the video “said she did not complain to her mother, because ‘I was scared of Ms. Dial’ (the charter teacher),” and that “asking Ms. Dial to explain something a second time would lead to a punishment. She said Ms. Dial had on other occasions ripped up children’s papers when she thought they were copying others’ work.” The child says, “She used to tell me: ‘I’m never going to get it. I just don’t know. I’m not as smart as the other kids.’”

 

 

That leads to the question of what is happening there in New York City when the student’s mother reports that “a public relations specialist for Success drafted an email for her, asking The Times not to publish the video.” According to the mom, “What most distressed her … was that the network and even many of the parents united behind Ms. Dial and did not seem to care about how her behavior affected children.”

 

 

The Times reports:

 

“The teacher had never apologized to her daughter. She said that a public relations specialist for Success drafted an email for her, asking The Times not to publish the video, and that at a meeting Ms. Moskowitz held at the school on Jan. 20, Ms. Moskowitz asked the parents to support Ms. Dial and to defend the school to the paper. Ms. Miranda said that when she stood up, identified herself and objected that Ms. Moskowitz was asking parents to support the teacher without even showing them the video, Ms. Moskowitz cut her off.”

 

 

The abuses perpetrated by “No Excuses” charters across the nation explain the danger inherent in what is happening here in Oklahoma City as reformers push to expand charters. But, it doesn’t explain what is happening here in schools that are widely praised but that are targeted to become charters. Wilson Elementary has long been acclaimed for its excellence, its arts education, and its ability to succeed with homeless children as well as more affluent kids. Similarly Gatewood has been effusively praised for its community engagement and progress. Martin Luther King, which had a large and vocal turnout protesting the plan, is enthusiastically embracing the hands-on, project based learning model of The Learner First, which recently received laudatory press coverage. It sounds like reformers have a problem with “Young people speaking their minds.” (See here and here).

 

 

http://www.trulia.com/schools/OK-Oklahoma_City/Eugene_Field_Elementary_School/

 

http://www.greatschools.org/oklahoma/oklahoma-city/1177-Capitol-Hill-Elementary-School/

 

http://www.trulia.com/schools/OK-Oklahoma_City/Wheeler_Elementary_School/
The parents’ ratings of the other targeted schools range from four to five out of five stars. So, why are parents also getting “So much resistance from behind?”

 

I must emphasize that Oklahoma City’s “No Excuses” charters don’t have a record of abuses, such as have become increasing common with other charters. But, neither do they have a track record with elementary schools. Given the OKCPS’s per student funding of less than $9000, the chances of finding charter authorizers with the ability to serve schools that are 97% and 100% low income are slim and none.

 
Also, what is happening from Oklahoma to Massachusetts when reformers insist that their preferences must be imposed on schools that aren’t broken – with some achieving greatness that few charters can match? For some seemingly inconceivable reason, the “single most successful school turnaround in [Massachusetts] state history: [the] once failing Brockton High School” has been targeted. As Edushyster reports, Brockton’s policy of empowering teachers and students has resulted in graduation numbers that “dwarfs the combined total of grads from Boston’s charter schools.” Even though “the vast majority of the community is against the proposal,” the “new regional charter high school that will compete against Brockton High by offering less—Look Ma, no art or music!—all the while draining an estimated 5% of the city’s total education budget per year.” By the way, the founding board member of the charter, which was designed to replace the traditional public school known for its welcoming culture, is former prosecutor “Maximum Mike” who is known “for packing local kids who’d been brought up on drug charges off to far-away federal prisons for the longest possible prison sentences.”

 

 

And, that brings us back to the question of what is happening here in the Oklahoma State Capitol, which is known for policies where, “Step out of line, the Man comes and puts you away.” Oklahoma is #1 in the world in incarcerating women, and #3 nationally in locking up men, and it has cut education by more than 25%. We are also known for facilitating disastrous “Pay Day loans” that lure working and poor people into overwhelming debt.

 

 

The leadership of the OKCPS sounds like they view the charter plan as one of those high interest loans with up to 1/8th of the district’s schools as collateral. The superintendent cites the $6 million in cuts this year, and the $24 million in planned cuts, saying he would rather turn schools into charters than close schools and dismiss teachers. Moreover, a bill was snuck through the legislature which allowed for charters to be sponsored without the consent of the district.

 

 

 

How the charterization would save money and jobs is unexplained, unless the goal is to exit teachers old enough to remember Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, getting rid of their salaries and professional judgments, but a board member says, “One of the alluring things about charter schools is the opportunity to solicit more corporate support, and that will alleviate some of the strain on the district to come up with operational money.”

 

 

One can easily understand the dilemma faced by the locally elected School Board. It sounds like they are being presented with “an offer you can’t refuse.” Market-driven solutions are being pushed by national reformers who have no idea which of the schools they want to fix are or are not broken. They are clueless as to how the Oklahoma City charter market has been maxed out for a decade.

 

 

I was slow to admit what “was going down,” and to admit that I need to use the word, but now it is clear. Privatization is what’s happening here. Conservatives, who convinced the legislatures in Oklahoma, Kansas, and elsewhere, are not all that we have to fear. “Battle lines are being drawn.” If you live in urban America, Corporate Reform is likely to be coming to your neighborhood.

 

 

Steven Singer asks: “How radical must we be to get the schools our children need and deserve?”

 

Steve describes two days of meeting with fellow activists in Philadelphia, where they discussed the road ahead.

 

He writes:

 

“All weekend at the United Opt Out Conference we’ve been talking about rebellion and revolution. There’s no weak tea here in the City of Brotherly Love. No half measures. We’ve been discussing tearing the system down piece-by-piece.
“A timid voice speaks up in the back of mind, “Do we really need to do all that? Do we really need revolution just to keep our public schools and make them into something worthy of our children?”

“I think I’ve been trying to answer that question for a while now. Maybe a lot of us have.

“In a rational country, our demands wouldn’t be so radical.
“We want public schools centered on the good of all, not the profit of some. We want educationally valid curricula for our children. We want some control over the school system – both as parents and teachers.
“Is that so much to ask? Is that such a lunatic request?”

John Kuhn is superintendent of the Perrin-Whitt school district in Texas. He first emerged as a national figure in the fight for better education for all children when he spoke at the national Save Our Schools march in 2011 and gave a rousing speech.

 

 

 

 

 

Education reformers have worked tirelessly for years to advance their preferred education policy ideas using a panoply of tactics, with mixed results.
As an example, reformers have steeped future big-city superintendents in #edreformthink through the (*cough-unaccredited-cough*) Broad Academy and then deployed them to try out their ideas in the real-life laboratory of various unlucky school districts. (Update: a refreshingly large number of these superintendents have gone on to transform urban education upend large school systems with no tangible positive results before being run out of town on a rail.)

 
Another effort aimed at advancing pro-reform policy has been the embedding of Teach for America alumni in congressional offices as staffers. Then again, there is the tried-and-true tactic of having a corporation-funded organization coordinate the development and introduction of model ed reform legislation nationwide. Or, if you’re a fan of the straightforward approach, you will appreciate efforts to just expend a ton of money to force the implementation of anointed ideas, ala Gates and Zuckerberg.

 
Back in the early years of the Education Wars (when Diane Ravitch was on Twitter and her blog didn’t exist yet) it became apparent that reformers—despite enjoying the generous fiscal backing of wealthy individuals and organizations and the political backing of influential officeholders from both parties—were losing the public relations battle, particularly on social media. Scrappy teacher-bloggers and Twitter-ers were running them ragged with asymmetrical PR warfare, and they knew it. So began in earnest the development of a Marvel Universe of pro-reform social media personalities and collectives.

 
In this short article, I will highlight a few of these actors—this is a back-of-an-envelope map of one corner of the reform echo chamber, if you will—and I will let you know what they’ve been up to this week. I will also let you know where each of these voices stands on a recent high-profile story, the infamous Success Academy video.

 
THE 74

 
Apparently named for the average IQ of its contributors (just kidding guys; I’m sure you’re all Ivy League), the 74 is the brainchild of Campbell Brown and hosts pro-reform Twitterfolk like Dmitri Mehlhorn and Chris Stewart. The 74 mixes pro-reform op-eds with a dab of more newsy education pieces (like one about a campaign to prevent student suicide, for example), apparently in an attempt to come across as neutral-ish. This is window-dressing, of course, as demonstrated by the fact that the top four articles on the page as of this writing are: Nevada parents hoping vouchers survive a court challenge; Chris Stewart trumpeting a slew of news stories about non-Success-Academy teachers being mean to students; a pretty balanced story on the effect of good teachers on students’ happiness; and a story about Trump University that spends one paragraph rapping the scourge of for-profit college scams before getting to “the real story” by indulging in a ten-paragraph call for the next President to “hold all colleges accountable.”

 
Position on the SA video: “but other schools do it too” and “stop hating”.

 
EDUCATION POST

 
Another slick effort to appear neutral and above the fray by offering a “better conversation” (for discriminating education connoisseurs, one would imagine), Education Post actually peddles orthodox ed reform ideas and is, per Mercedes Schneider, funded by Broad, Walton, and Bloomberg—not exactly the Triumvirate of Educational Neutrality. Contributors include Chris Stewart (again!), Eric Lerum, and Chris Barbic. Top articles today are one about a teacher acknowledging her own biases, one arguing that what TFA haters really hate are charter schools, one telling teachers to stop using lack of parent involvement as an excuse not to teach kids well, and a thoughtful article about the tensions of being in the education politics fight and having to choose where to send your own kids to school.

 
Position on the SA video: the video’s a bummer, but Success Academy is a target because it is so much better and everyone is jealous

 
EDUCATION NEXT and EDEXCELLENCE.NET

 
These are Fordham Institute/Michael Petrilli/Chester Finn vehicles. Instead of pretending to publish objective journalism ala The 74 and Education Post, these sites pretend to publish objective research. The duo are a vehicle for motivated scholarship, of the faux variety. Like the above online journals, they are really just political devices.

 
Top stories today at Education Next are: a story about how family background influences achievement and what schools can do about it, a story about how schools of choice expand opportunity for urban students, an article contending that teacher quality is the most important in-school factor, a paean to the Common Core arguing that it forced states that rejected CCSS to adopt tougher standards, a story on desegregation and a story about academic competitions. This carousel of stories—most of them related to the 50th anniversary of James Coleman’s report “Equality of Educational Opportunity” in an apparent effort to re-cast his report as a validation of reform orthodoxies rather than a call for equity—is followed by a reformer response to film critic David Denby’s New Yorker article calling out reformers for bashing teachers. Then comes an article by Petrilli arguing that NCLB spawned a bunch of smarter school policies. (Thanks, NCLB!) Oh, then there’s a call to end required union contributions.

 
Position on the SA video: conspicuously hard to find. A search of the site reveals the last mention of “Eva Moskowitz” to be in 2014, when the site chirped, “Talk about a ‘Tough Liberal!” and said charters like hers shouldn’t be criticized for lacking diversity. A search for “Success Academy” finally takes us to a 2/15/2016 post that summarizes a Vox.com article by Libby Nelson (with the telling quote “The video is undeniably upsetting. But…”) and then goes on to point to Education Post’s limp defense of poor wittle Success Academy.

 
THIS WEEK IN EDUCATION

 
Alexander Russo’s blog also pretends to be above the fray but really isn’t. However, unlike the others, Russo does directly criticize reformers on a fairly regular basis, probably because he fancies himself a gadfly with an independent streak. In reality, his pro-reform bias is evident to me, and maybe also to the casual reader. Where The 74 and Education Post dab on the makeup of objective reporting, Russo slathers it. He does a good enough job of posting too-numerous-to-count news pieces and fun/thought-provoking pieces that it effectively softens the blow of his bias and almost camouflages his running campaign to provide journalistic cover for the Broads and Waltons of the world. One blogger put it succinctly in saying that Russo “works the refs” for reform. He’s the guy in the bleachers who reliably highlights bad calls that go against his team and often ignores bad calls against the other team, unless they’re so painfully obvious that he feels he has to grudgingly acknowledge them. But at least he tells funny stories between being a total homer.
Top stories today are a video of Obama with Civil Rights leaders, a story on Detroit teachers trying to bring attention to their schools, a collection of news articles on various issues including how school safety issues are tracked and Common Core exam glitches. Where Russo shines as a reform ally is in his careful selection of others’ opinions that he broadcasts. The first quote one comes to today is from The 74, where Matt Barnum tries valiantly to jack the mojo of David Denby (the New Yorker film critic referred to above, who had the audacity to critique public school critics in his article called Stop Humiliating Teachers) by contending that what Denby wants is really the same thing as what the reformers want. (Really, Matt? Read the article again.) Russo earns a few objectivity points for the hilarious note from a CPS parent that says his sick daughter is feeling better and “eager to get back to school in hopes of achieving a high score on…Standardized Tests…given this year to insure that Private Corporations continue to receive huge and profitable contracts…” Russo has a soft spot for snark.

 
Position on the SA video: straddles the fence—SA didn’t respond well to the reporting and NYT didn’t report thoughtfully. Russo shared the video and followed up with SA’s response video and, later, a GIF of the original video.

 
DROPOUT NATION

 
RiShawn is a trench fighter for reform. Where Russo has snark, Biddle has meanness, and he has criticized people he calls “traditionalists” pretty relentlessly. If you think about the unending terrible treatment of poor American children of color, meanness is probably a proper response, though I almost always disagree with Biddle’s prescriptions for fixing the problem. I think it comes down to this: I believe we should force ourselves to fulfill the constitutional promises that we will provide a quality public education for all American children, and Biddle appears to believe that we never will fulfill that promise because we are helplessly racist, so we might as well give up on it and find salvation for poor city kids in school choice. It’s an honest disagreement—I personally think what Biddle and other reformers advocate is akin to the biblical tale of Esau trading his birthright for a bowl of soup. In this case, the birthright is the promise that the US and state governments will by constitutional obligation–prosecutable in court—ensure that all children are adequately educated; the bowl of soup is we can trust that chains of charters started by white-collar guys who want to make money will fill the void and educate everybody better than the government has or will.

 
It wouldn’t do me any good to argue with RiShawn because he’s as convinced that public schools are hopeless for minority children as I am convinced that charter schools are designed from the outset to keep most of those kids out. To use Michael Petrilli’s eternally useful phrase, they are meant to help the “strivers”. Of course, that leaves the non-strivers somewhere. Probably concentrated in whatever remains of the public school system.
Look, I understand “educate all children” is idealistic, and I understand that we are a nation that has never gotten past racial prejudice. I also understand that giving up the hill here—abandoning the notion that “educating all children” is what we SHOULD BE ABOUT and COULD BE ABOUT IF WE HAD THE COURAGE TO DO SO—giving up that fight ensures that we will never come back to the audacious promise of public education as the protector and perfecter of a diverse democracy. We will settle for less. Exponentially less. Bowl of soup instead of birthright less. We will settle for Taco Bell as a schooling model, we will give up courts for choice, and it won’t be any better—it will be the same or worse, but the upside of it—the maximum best it could ever be—won’t even PRETEND to be that it offers a quality education for ALL kids. We will forever abandon the notion that that was even ever possible in the United States of America, and that to me is intolerably depressing. The open arms concept of free and equal education for all will be lost to the archives and we will be stuck with a few lifeboat schools and a bunch of bobbing heads in the water.

 
But today I agree with RiShawn Biddle, because he has broken with Peter Cunningham from Education Post and Campbell Brown from The 74, in that he won’t countenance the notion that Success Academy merits a defense. In fact, his lead articles today are “Success Academy Merits No Defense” and “No Excuses for Moskowitz”. Biddle’s condemnation of Success Academy practices like the one captured in the video have resulted in harsh name-calling and criticism from fellow reformers like Michael Petrilli. And Biddle didn’t come late to the party. He wrote “The Hole Eva Moskowitz Keeps Digging” long before the video emerged, after John Merrow’s piece on disciplinary practices at SA emerged months ago.

 
I’m not naïve enough to think that RiShawn Biddle and I agree on much besides the fact that SA is wrong when it comes to its disciplinary treatment of children. Our views on equitable school funding are probably aligned, and maybe some other tangential issues too. But when it comes to the speculative promise of school choice versus the literal promise of school constitutional guarantees, there is a stark difference in where we two find hope for the nation’s future. Nevertheless, I have to pause and recognize that among all the reformers, Biddle is apparently the only one brave enough to call out what Success Academy and its defenders are doing wrong. How can we expect Success Academy to change its ways when its defenders rush forth with enabling op-eds? Where other reformers are scrambling to defend a model, Biddle is stepping up to defend children. If Eva Moskowitz is Ethan Couch, then Campbell Brown and Peter Cunningham are his mother taking him to Mexico to avoid punishment. I’m glad RiShawn Biddle is clearly saying this isn’t okay.

How could I miss this great article by Jessica Lahey? She writes about a childhood book about a little tiger who was very upset that he wasn’t as good as other little tigers. He couldn’t read as well, write as well, speak as well, or do anything as well as his peers. Children who read this book can identify because almost everyone feels unsuccessful in some way.

 

Lahey describes her concerns about her own children and how they caught up and matched their peers.

 

“We all watch our children as they grow, for signs that all is well. We crave evidence, both of their healthy development and of our own competence as parents, and lacking any other source of information, we scan the playground for comparisons. That boy can count to 100 in Spanish while my son can barely speak his native tongue. That child can traverse the play structure with the athleticism of a spider monkey, while mine needs help climbing up the slide. That girl can eat her healthful snack with chopsticks, while my child eats his boogers.

 

“Relax,” the psychologist and former teacher Michele Borba reminds me when I email to fret about the swim coach’s observation that Finn’s “a sinker,” or Ben’s inability to ride a bike well into his tweens. “Einstein didn’t say his first word until he was 4. Stop rubbernecking on the playground, Jess; childhood is not a race. Stay calm and support your child. If you are really worried, talk to his teacher or pediatrician, but kids bloom at their own rate, in their own sweet time.”

 

“She is right, of course. A big part of my job as a middle-school teacher was to prepare my students for the complex demands of high school. Every year, there were a few students who caused me to fret, students I was positive would never be ready in time. They lost their plan books 10 times a day and left lunches in lockers until swarms of fruit flies betrayed the neglected hoard. And yet, somehow, some way, and just in time for ninth grade, they bloomed.”

 

This is good advice. Parents worry that their children are not keeping up. Government policies re-inforce this anxiety by insisting that all children must be proficient on tests that ration proficiency and spread it out on a bell curve. The Common Core assumes that all children develop at the same rate. The point of Lahey’s article is to remind us that children bloom at their own pace.

 

 

The previous post was about a lawsuit in Hoboken.

Click here for the brief of the Plaintiff.

Hoboken is a town in New Jersey that is one-mile square. The charter industry is opening schools there, draining away white and middle-class students.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Education Law Center have filed a lawsuit to block the further expansion of charter schools.

To read the brief for the Plaintiffs, click here.

I received the following letter explaining the rationale for the lawsuit:

 

 

“Dear Ms. Ravitch,

 

 

As a cogent analyst of the national charter school movement and the insidious harm that that movement has caused our traditional schools, you often write about how communities deserve “strong, well-resourced, equitable public school systems” and that the national charter school movement “increases segregation and inequity”. (*Salon, Monday, Oct. 26, 2015, Our real charter school nightmare: The new war on public schools and teachers – Salon.com)

 

 

You have also included on your blog a post about the segregative affect the Hoboken charter schools are having on the district public schools. Now there is a new chapter to write. The Hoboken Board of Education (HBOE) is suing the New Jersey Department of Education for ignoring its own rules, New Jersey law and, most striking, New Jersey’s Constitution when reviewing a charter school renewal and expansion application. The HBOE, in petition and briefs, has detailed the segregative effect and the financial impact that Hoboken Dual Language Charter School‘s (HoLa) expansion has had and will continue to have on the Hoboken District. A District that serves a majority of the City’s neediest children because of their financial circumstances or special educational needs.

 

Now, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Jersey Foundation and the Education Law Center (ELC) have filed an amici brief in support of Hoboken District. They state that “with both New Jersey’s commitment to eradicating segregation and its historical failure to do so in mind, the Commissioner cannot be permitted to ignore the realities that present themselves in Hoboken.” They rightfully fault New Jersey’s DOE for its blatant failure to perform its duties and to ensure our schools, and Hoboken specifically, do not allow school districts separated by socioeconomic and racial classes. Classes often linked in terms of their impact on success in education. The impact is stark when the districts in issue share the same mile square city.

 

 

The ACLU/ELC explain the harm segregation causes all children and the benefits to society of integrated schools. The DOE has that duty and the obligation to stop segregation and those harms so as to encourage quality education outcomes for as many students as possible regardless of race or affluence. That obligation extends to de facto segregation, even if unintentional, which must be struck from our educational landscape. The ACLU/ELC recount the history and current state of segregation in New Jersey’s schools based on economic and minority status and note, notwithstanding New Jersey’s long held policy against racial discrimination, discrimination continues in New Jersey to the point that New Jersey has some of the most economically and racially segregated schools in the country.

 

 

http://civilrightsproject.ucla.edu/news/press-releases/2013-press-releases/urban-suburban-divide-widens-in-new-jersey-schools-levels-of-racial-isolation-contradicts-state-constitution/?searchterm=new%20jersey

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2014/05/15/the-most-segregated-schools-may-not-be-in-the-states-youd-expect-2/

 

 

The ACLU/ELC state that: “consistent with not only the law, but also deeply held legal principles that undergird New Jersey’s system of justice, the Commissioner’s decision cannot stand.” They conclude with their request that New Jersey’s Appellate Division Court “reverse the March 20, 2015 decision of the Commissioner of Education granting the requests for the renewal and expansion of the charter of HoLa, unless and until it can be shown that such renewal and expansion will not result in the continuation or exacerbation of school segregation in Hoboken.”

 

 

I encourage your readers to read the ACLU/ELC’s amici brief (attachd pdf) for additional insight as to what happens when a state government refuses to support strong traditional public schools and the fight a District has to undertake to prevent the segregative effect resulting from the State’s failure to do its job.

 

 

I appreciate any and all support you may offer in sharing this story.

 

 

Thank you.

 

 

Theresa Minutillo

 

 

 

 

The National PTA, which has received millions from the Gates Foundation, warned its Delaware chapter not to encourage or support parents who want to opt their child out of state testing.

 

Opt out is the best tool that parents possess to fight corporate reform, data mining, rating their child, and privatization.

 

Delaware parents: Just say no.