The Hoboken Board of Education, writes attorney and charter school parent Paul Josephson in yesterday’s Star Ledger, is using school district funds to prevent Hoboken Dual Language Charter Schools (HoLa) from expanding to seventh grade in order to serve twenty-one current sixth-graders who want to stay there. According to Josephson, the New Jersey Department of Education approved the expansion but the Hoboken B.O.E. is seeking an injunction to thwart parent choice for those twenty-one students while the case is under review:
Charter school expansion is nothing new. After five years of successful operation, the state decision provides all Hoboken children a dual-language option for middle school and continuation of HoLa’s highly effective curriculum. The success of HoLa and its students, at almost half the cost of HBOE schools ($13,068 versus $24,318 cost amount per pupil for 2013-14 per the NJDOE’s 2015 Taxpayer’s Guide to Education Spending), strikes fear in the hearts of the HBOE’s leadership and union.
The district’s argument is that HoLa siphons students from the district schools. However, instead of putting its money and effort into classrooms, and upping its game to win these students and their parents back, the district apparently believes it a better use of taxpayer funds to mount spurious litigation against more successful public schools. In continuing a meritless lawsuit after its procedural arguments have failed not once but twice, the HBOE telegraphs its fear of any threat to its educational monopoly.
I’ve seen Josephson’s name before, and found a reference (gotta love google) in a blog written by Darcie Cimarusti, a school board member in Highland Park and employee of Diane Ravitch’s new anti-reform group called The Network for Public Education. Back in 2012 Josephson wrote an op-ed for the Asbury Park Press (link no longer available) explaining why putting new charter schools to a public vote was a terrible idea. Cimarusti wrote this in response:
Save Our Schools New Jersey, backed by well over 6,000 parents, is the driving force behind the legislation Mr. Josephson is denigrating. But Save Our Schools New Jersey is not anti charter, and Mr. Josephson knows that. In fact, it isn’t a secret that Julia Sass Rubin, one of the main spokespersons for [and founder of] Save Our Schools NJ, has a child that attends the same charter as Mr. Josephson’s two children, Princeton Charter School.
I swear you’d need a genealogist to figure out all the connections among Save Our Schools-NJ, NJEA, NPE, Parents Across America, and national teacher unions. While union-evangelist Ravitch is the president of NPE, the Director is Leonie Haimson, who is also Executive Director of Class Size Matters and one of the founders of Parents Across America. Haimson was the original owner of Save Our Schools-NJ’s url. Save Our Schools-NJ, is an affiliate of Parents Across America. Parents Across America receives funding, at least in part, from NEA.
Here’s Alex Russo:
No, it’s not the issue of whether they’ve received any money from the teachers unions. [They have, apparently, but I don’t care.] No, it’s not that PAA is a private subsidiary of Leonie Haimsen’s Class Size Matters. [Nonprofit doesn’t mean corporate or capitalist in my book.] No, it’s not even increasingly ridiculous claims that PAA makes about reformers and those like me who raise questions about their allegations. [Though I have to admit the paranoia and name-calling are really annoying.]
It’s actually a problem that PAA shares with its sworn opponents, the school reform community. Like many reform group leaders, PAA is mostly not from the low-income minority communities or the dysfunctional schools that are the the focus of so much reform attention, and it’s not at all clear that have a legitimate claim to represent those communities and schools in any great numbers.
So all these groups are bound by a commitment to stifle choice for low-income minority parents in order to protect their own great schools. The fact that one of the engineers of this rhetoric happens to send her kid to a charter doesn’t make the groups, as Cimarusti puts it, “not anti-charter.” This fact simply injects elements of absurdity, duplicity, and double-talk to the whole anti-reform enterprise.