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Jersey Jazzman, also known as teacher Mark Weber, is completing his doctoral dissertation and has become a master at analyzing scjpp; data. He also incorporates multi-color graphics into his posts, using official state data to support his statements.
He recently completed a four-part series on Hoboken, New Jersey. Rather than post them one at a time, I am posting them all in the same day so you can wrap your head around the developments in Hoboken. The story is instructive about what is happening in urban districts, large and small, across the nation, which is why I believe it has relevance for the people of every state.
In part 1, JJ explains that charter schools in Hoboken serve a different population from the public schools. The mayor of Hoboken, Dawn Zimmer, sends her children to charter schools.
When powerful, politically connected people send their kids to the same school, they will inevitably exercise their social and political capital to get what they want. This is the way America works in the 21st Century; it’s silly to deny it.
I’ll say again what I’ve said before: I’m sure HoLa is a fine school, with dedicated educators and families and wonderful, deserving children. All of the stakeholders in Hoboken’s charters should, like all school families, be proud of their school and their students.
Further: there is a very good case to be made that the segregation between suburban and urban schools is a far greater blight on our education system than anything urban charter schools may be doing. I don’t point out these issues in Hoboken as a way of avoiding the more serious problem of racial and economic apartheid that plagues New Jersey and the rest of the nation.
No, my point here is that the denial of the realties of Hoboken’s charters — like so much of the rhetoric surrounding the charter school debate — is keeping us from having a real discussion about what ails our urban schools. When Hoboken’s charter cheerleaders deny the obvious, they do a great disservice to students across their city and across this nation.
The charter sector in Hoboken thrives largely because it serves different families than the public schools.
What if charter schools served the neediest children? Then they could justly boast about the lives they turned around, instead of boasting about test scores.