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It is hard to wrap my mind around the levels of hypocrisy demonstrated in the latest Star Ledge editorial.
In support of Assemblyman Burzichelli's bill to ban fee based extracurricular activities in public schools, the Star Ledger board starts with sympathy for the families paying these fees, “With shrinking average incomes and stubborn unemployment, how much can these families be expected to spend?”
Well, gee, these are the same people the SL editorial board told to go vote for Christie, the Governor who gave many districts an increase of $1.00 in state aid last year while requiring expensive new teacher evaluation systems and preparing for high tech, high stakes standardized tests. It seems to me the SL should have thought about this before November 5th.
But it gets worse as the editorial board continues by pointing out that the fees, “turn our schools into tiered societies, with first-class seats and coach. That is not how public education is supposed to work.”
The same editorial board that fawns over Christie's education policy, and describes charters as a 'bright spot' complains that these fees create a tiered society? Have they ever read anything by Bruce Baker on the segregating impact of charter schools? Or perhaps Jersey Jazzman on the same topic? Maybe picked up a book by Diane Ravitch?
Apparently for the SL editorial board, charter school segregation is acceptable but fee based participation in extracurriculars destroys equity and goes too far.
Give me a break.
Christie's education policy is segregatory – reward schools doing well (read suburban), punish ones underperforming (read urban), ignore the crumbling schools in SDA districts and offer charters as an alternative. If Christie had not been challenged in court, he would have severly defunded former Abbott districts by millions in 2011 and left these districts behind.
This Governor has put districts in an impossible situation by decreasing state aid, imposing the 2% cap, and piling high unfunded mandates. The reason schools have cut back on extracurricular activities, and asked parents to contribute, is because these districts are trapped by Christie's education policies.
If the SL board is so concerned about districts having the money to fund extracurricular activities, and a two tiered system of public education, the editorial board should advocate for increased state aid and the immediate end of charter school segregation.
Assemblyman Burzichelli is justified in his concern about fee based activities. But the SL editorial board is completely unjustified in referring to it as a cancer that the Legislture must fix, when the problem is a direct result of the Governor they felt compelled to endorse.