Tag Archive: reform

New Jersey Charter Schools Association attacks First Amendment rights

Cross-posted at Marie Corfield. Promoted by Rosi.

Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 11.17.09 AMWhen the facts aren’t on your side…

When you’re up against the wall…

When you’ve been caught with your hand in the cookie jar…

You take the cheap shot.

That’s what the New Jersey Charter Schools Association did last week when they filed ethics charges against Rutgers Professor Julia Sass Rubin who, along with doctoral student Mark Weber (aka. Jersey Jazzman) published this study on the segregationist practices of the state’s charter schools which concludes what we already knew (from JJ’s post):

New Jersey’s charter schools do not serve nearly as many children in economic disadvantage, who have special education needs, or who are English language learners as their host districts’ schools.

Here’s the crux of the NJCSA’s complaint:

Reformy Billionaires and the Money They Waste

Cross-posted from Jersey Jazzman.

Perhaps my favorite bad reformy argument — one favored by Tom Moran, among others — goes something like this:

We should listen to billionaires when they opine about education because:

1) Well, they’re billionaires, so they must know what they’re talking about.

2) They don’t have a direct stake in the outcome, so you can trust them.

I often harp on the absurdity of Point #2: even though a plutocrat may not have a direct stake in making public education more like corporate American, their reformy crusades certainly match their ideological predilections. And ancillary benefits like New Markets Tax Credits and union busting are happy little bonuses.

But I don’t often talk about Point #1. Watching the implosion of the Common Core is a great example: Bill Gates poured millions into its development and marketing, but it’s clear he really didn’t understand what he was getting himself into. I don’t think anyone, if they are being honest with themselves (and that includes Bill), would think that Gates is any sort of an expert in any field of education.  

Video Recap of #NJEdMarch27

Pulling this back up top again. Two reasons: It went up late yesterday after sensible people had already closed their computers. Also, it’s just that good. – REE

There’s something happening here …

On Thursday of this week, there was a statewide rally in support of public education in Trenton at the Statehouse. There were student activists, parents, community members, teachers … and some of our NJ legislators stepped out of the statehouse to join. Here’s a video recap. Please share this on Facebook and your social networks. Thanks much.

#NJEdMarch27 from Ronen Kauffman on Vimeo.

National School Choice Group Finds Voucher Allies In New Brunswick; Looking For Spot On Board Of Ed

Earlier, I inadvertently published this under my own byline for a few minutes, while I was trying to help Mother Crusader with formatting and code. My bad. It’s all her work. This is about today’s New Brunswick school election. Promoted by Rosi

I’m staying off this bandwagon…

Back in March Diane Ravitch posted about Rutgers student activist Stephanie Rivera’s candidacy for the New Brunswick school board, and asked readers to donate to her campaign. Diane reposted Stephanie’s request for help, which talked a lot about the “political machine” in New Brunswick and how for the last 20 years the board has been appointed by the mayor.

Election Day is April 16, and there’s a lot of work to be done between now and then. We’ll be going up against the political establishment of New Brunswick, which until now has been appointing the Board of Education and depriving New Brunswick youth and the community of the justice and quality education they deserve. For the past 20 YEARS, board members have been appointed by the same guy: New Brunswick Mayor Jim Cahill. And unbelievably, this is the first year in New Brunswick’s HISTORY that the Board of Education is ELECTED.

New Brunswick is right across the Raritan river from me, and I know Stephanie, but I stayed out of it and did not endorse her campaign, even after Save Our Schools NJ’s Julia Sass Rubin jumped in and endorsed Stephanie, too.

Why?

First, because my husband teaches in New Brunswick, so I generally try not to get involved in things there. And second, because I didn’t know her running mates.

But now I do, and MAN am I glad I stayed out of this one (well, until now obviously…).  Stephanie is great, and she has done some amazing things, and I am sure she will go on to be a fine educator and advocate, but her slate is a hot mess and she needs to dump these people.

Immediately.

The Charter Circus is Back in Town

Christie and McDuffieWhat does this picture of laying on of hand on Governor Christie have to do with education in New Jersey? Read on. Great research, and great work by parent Mother Crusader.

Promoted by Rosi


Cross-posted at Mother Crusader



New Jersey’s last round of charter applications was a stealth affair. With no suburban applications, and no big controversies, nobody paid much attention. Well, except me, of course …

But mark my words, this round will be different.

The Courier Post has already picked up on the most obvious potentially controversial application:

A former Washington Township mayor who went to prison for federal crimes is among 38 applicants seeking to run a charter school in South Jersey.

Jerry Luongo is seeking approval for Creative Visions Charter School, which would initially serve about 140 students in grades 9 through 12.

…..

Luongo, who could not be reached for comment Thursday, served on Washington Township’s school board. The retired Vineland High School music teacher and principal was Washington Township’s mayor from 1989 to 2000 and a state Assemblyman from 1998 to 2000.

He admitted in 2001 that he diverted $36,000 in campaign funds and charitable donations to his personal bank account, then served almost a year in a federal prison for mail fraud and income tax evasion.

The Charter Circus is Back in Town

Cross-posted at Mother Crusader

New Jersey’s last round of charter applications was a stealth affair. With no suburban applications, and no big controversies, nobody paid much attention. Well, except me, of course …

But mark my words, this round will be different.

The Courier Post has already picked up on the most obvious potentially controversial application:

A former Washington Township mayor who went to prison for federal crimes is among 38 applicants seeking to run a charter school in South Jersey.

Jerry Luongo is seeking approval for Creative Visions Charter School, which would initially serve about 140 students in grades 9 through 12.

…..

Luongo, who could not be reached for comment Thursday, served on Washington Township’s school board. The retired Vineland High School music teacher and principal was Washington Township’s mayor from 1989 to 2000 and a state Assemblyman from 1998 to 2000.

He admitted in 2001 that he diverted $36,000 in campaign funds and charitable donations to his personal bank account, then served almost a year in a federal prison for mail fraud and income tax evasion.

Luongo wrote a book about his experiences in federal prison.  It has some very helpful, Ms. Manners-esque tips for those about to be incarcerated:

Looking at your first trip to prison? No need to fear. Take it from someone who knows.

Fresh from the slammer, Gerald J. Luongo seeks to assist white-collar convicts with a new book about life inside a federal prison camp.

A former New Jersey assemblyman and mayor of Washington Township, he tells it straight.

“There is absolutely no marching to your own drummer!” writes the man who was inmate 12776-050. “As much as it may annoy you, you are an inmate, a convicted felon . . . Get over it and get with the program.” (emphasis mine)

Hmm.  You can’t work in a school if you are a convicted felon.  So how can you be the founder of a charter school?

The Courier Post pointed out that after his release Luongo moved to Pompano Beach, Florida, but they missed an important detail. He has approval for a charter school in Florida. The Academic Solutions Academy Charter High School.

The current status of this charter is totally unclear. While Broward County board minutes from 2012 indicate the charter received a $375,000 grant for “Planning, Design and Implementation” the charter is not on the districts list of charters. But Luongo started a wildly unsuccessful petition that makes it sound like something went awry, and his approval was revoked after he claims he had invested over $500,000 in “improvements of a facility, interior furnishings,computers, technolgy [sic], books, educational programs and other essentials” and signed a five year lease for $350,000.

I’ll follow up and find out exactly what went down with Luongo’s charter in Florida, but so far, it doesn’t look pretty.

But Luongo’s story may pale in comparison to an application submitted in Paterson. Remember the now infamous Paterson Town Hall where Gov. Christie referred to Speaker Sheila Oliver as the “African-American female speaker of the Assembly?” It was the same Town Hall where Christie responded to an African American man who interrupted him by shouting, “Yeah, I hear ya, boy!”

But did you see THIS picture from the Paterson Town Hall?

Christie and McDuffie
That’s Pastor Michael McDuffie. Much like Pastor Amir Khan at the Voorhees Town Hall, McDuffie was sitting right behind Governor Christie at the Paterson Town Hall; one of only seven to make it onto the dais:

McDuffie on the dais

You see where I’m going with this, right?

Yup, McDuffie just applied for a charter school:

McDuffie Charter  

What experience does McDuffie have that qualifies him to receive millions of our tax dollars to run a charter school?  His Facebook page, which is open to the public, raises some interesting concerns about what may be taught should he be given the green light to open a school.

His page reveals that he has already started a, for lack of a better word, business venture called the “School of intensified training and understanding” or SITU.

Here are SITU’s offerings:

SITU Offerings

I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried…

And here’s one last photo Pastor McDuffie posted of himself with the Governor, and the utterly bizarre description he posted along with it. The next two images:

McDuffie, Christie and the CrossCross description

You can be sure I will be looking into whatever “influence” Pastor McDuffie may have on this “government” and why, once again, a seemingly controversial pastor has applied for a charter school in New Jersey.

The charter circus is back in town my friends…

Charter Circus Back in Town

Ruiz on Tenure

promoted by Rosi

This just in from state Senator Teresa Ruiz:

“Tenure reform will boost respect for the profession,” Ruiz said.

“It will turn teaching into something that’s evaluated and tenure into something that’s honorable, not a job protection defined by time.”

It’s nice to know that the author of a bill that will shape the course of teaching and learning in New Jersey doesn’t understand that tenure is a fair dismissal due process right, not a job protection defined by time. It’s also nice to know that she doesn’t realize that teachers are evaluated (or should be) by their principals or supervisors over the course of the academic year.

Evaluating teachers using student test scores will not lead to teachers gaining more respect. It will lead to teaching to the test and a curriculum that is narrowly focused on that test.

I’m looking forward to the hearings on June 14.

Pay to Play Trumps SHBP

promoted by Rosi

As aggravating as The Star Ledger’s editorial page has been lately (in regards to its general animus towards the NJEA and public sector unions in general) , I was happy to see today’s editorial, N.J. municipalities waste millions when buying insurance.

The reason I was glad to see the editorial is two fold. One, I concur with the editorial.  The health insurance industry is extremely complex, most cannot grasp it (which is one reason mayors get away with flim flam pay to play broker business).  The reality is that there are power in numbers especially when it comes to a self insured plan, like the SHBP.   Towns that go out and purchase private, fully insured health benefits for small to medium groups cannot realistically compete with a self insured health and prescription plan that has hundreds of thousands of members in it.  Unless these small groups are purchasing benefits with drastically less value (which is not the case) than the SHBP, the argument that they are being prudent is ridiculous.

More below the fold …