Charter Schools New Jersey

NJ Charter Group Files Ethics Complaint Against Critic

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The Néw Jersey Charter School Association filed an ethics complaint against Rutgers professor Julia Sass Rubin, because she identified herself as a Rutgers professor when speaking and writing critically about charter schools. She and doctoral student Mark Weber published a research paper about the demographics and test scores of charters. She has been an active member of Save Our Schools Néw Jersey. The charter association claims that she should not acknowledge her professional identity when writing or speaking. This would be laughable were it not an effort to intimidate her.

Here are the remedies the NJCSA seeks from the NJ State Ethics Commission:

“• In the event of any further installments of her study with Mr. Weber, or any future Rutgers work product concerning issues of education policy, that she be ordered to include appropriate disclaimers upon its release, and secure review and approval of the appropriate Rutgers officials prior to releasing same publicly;

• When making public appearances, Dr. Rubin be ordered to not use her Rutgers title in any capacity, and if her title is raised that she clearly state that her positions are hers alone and not those of Rutgers or any of its academic units;

• Direction to either adhere to Rutgers policies regarding outside activities or withdraw from her involvement in outside organizations including SOSNJ.”

Just for the record, I usually identify myself as a Research Professor of Education at Néw York University when I write opinion pieces, blog, give testimony before legislative bodies, or lecture in public. No one has ever said it was unethical to do so.

Here is Peter Greene on the subject.

He writes:

“NJCSA has tried to attack Rubin professionally by bringing ethics charges against her. Her alleged unethical behavior is, as near as I can tell:

1) Saying things that the NJCSA doesn’t like

2) Telling people what her job is when she speaks.

“The complaint seriously seeks the remedy of having Rubin stop identifying herself as a Rutgers professor when she says these things that make the NJ Charter operators look like lying liars who lie.”

Greene adds:

“I can understand their confusion to a point. It is, of course, standard operating procedure in the reformster world to NOT identify who you actually work for, get money from, or otherwise are affiliated with. It’s SOP to put out a slick “report” without actually explaining why anyone should believe you know what you’re talking about, but Rubin and Weber go ahead and list their actual credentials. Apparently NJCSA’s argument is that it’s unethical to let people know why your work is credible.”

Professor Rubin posted the following on her Facebook page:

“The NJ Charter School Association filed an ethics complaint against me on Monday with the NJ State Ethics Commission, claiming that I was violating Rutgers policies on lobbying by identifying myself as a Rutgers Professor when I wrote editorials or spoke in public meetings and articulated a position consistent with that of Save Our Schools NJ.

“Their complaint is not only completely devoid of substance, it also demonstrated very unethical behavior by the NJ Charter School Association as the complaint distorts the Rutgers Lobbying and Advocacy Policy, including actually editing parts of that policy to change its meaning and omitting the list of communications that are expressly not considered lobbying. Of course, every example of my writing or testimony that they categorized as “lobbying” [editorials, speaking at public events, etc.,] was actually on the list of communications that do not constitute lobbying.

“Aside from demonstrating the NJ Charter School Association’s stunning lack of morality, this also is a chilling attack on personal and academic freedoms. If Professors of Public Policy are not allowed to testify or write editorials that displease well-funded constituents, we are truly in trouble as a country.”

Here is Marie Corfield’s hilarious commentary. She includes an excerpt from Bob Braun’s Facebook comments, where he reveals how few educators are on the board of NJCSA.

Star Ledger coverage: http://www.nj.com/education/2015/01/charter_schools_association_files_ethics_complaint_against_rutgers_professor_sosnj_founder.html#comments

Phili Inquirer coverage: http://www.philly.com/philly/news/new_jersey/287983381.html.

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