Fact-Checking Mokoto Rich of the NY Times on Common Core and KindergartenJune 10, 2015
The “Hypocrisy” and Political Gamesmanship of Those who Support a Charter School MoratoriumJune 11, 2015
From today’s PolitickerNJ:
More than 100 people protested in front of the Maplewood office of state Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (D-27) on Tuesday morning, decrying her support of a proposed bill that they believe hurts the future of charter schools, a critical issue echoed in next-door Newark, across New Jersey and around the nation.
“There isn’t one parent who doesn’t want the best for their child. As parents, we know what’s best for our child, right? And we know that this bill is detrimental to their education,” said Nicole Harris, a Newark resident and a parent of a student at North Star Academy, a public charter school in Newark. “We’re not going to allow Mila Jasey, or anyone else, to tell us what’s best for our kids and render our voices powerless. We have sent thousands of letters to her, we’ve made thousands of phone calls, and she still hasn’t changed her stance on this bill. We’re left no choice but to rally, and to bring the fight to her, and to let her know to get her hands off of our kids’ future. We represent thousands of parents who want choice. Our children deserve a top-notch education, and we won’t stand for anything less. We will not allow this bill to pass.”
Yesterday, these parents gathered in front of Mila Jasey’s office to protest this ill-conceived and reactionary bill, A 4351, that would slam shut school choice for students in poor urban districts for at least three years. According to reports, Jasey was in her office during the entire protest and refused to even acknowledge the parents’ presence.
The charter moratorium bill has been heavily lobbied for by Save Our Schools-NJ and NJEA. Last month the Newark City Council passed a resolution opposing the bill.
Jasey did talk to the Star-Ledger, though. In a phone interview she said she wants a “time out” to reconsider charter school policy. I’m sure a time-out is acceptable to some families in the wealthy suburban districts she represents like Chatham, Livingston, Maplewood, and Millburn, but it is anathema to families not economically-privileged enough to live in Jasey-represented districts. (She used to also represent Orange, an Abbott district, but no longer represents those families due to redistricting.)
Not only would A 4351 upend the Education Commissioner’s authority to approve new charters, but it would also interfere with already-established organic charter school growth. For example, KIPPNJ, which operates highly-regarded charter schools in Newark and Camden, typically adds a grade per year to accommodate students as they move from grade to grade. KIPPNJ CEO Ryan Hill has explained that “if [A 4351] passes, we’ll have about 2,300 kids without a school to go to next year.”
By the way, Assemblywoman Jasey’s co-sponsor of A 4351 is Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan. Their top campaign contributors are NJEA.