Tom Moran, head of the Star-Ledger Editorial Board, looks squarely at a lawsuit currently in New Jersey State Supreme Court where Education Law Center et. al. is charging that public charter schools in Newark exacerbate segregation, a puzzling argument given that Newark is almost entirely Black and Hispanic. (See here for NJ Ed Report coverage.) Moran objects to Education Law Center’s subjugation of Black Newark families who “consistently choose charter schools over districts schools,” adding, “for progressives to step in and tell them what’s best for their own children is plain offensive.”
Or, as KIPPNJ CEO Ryan Hil, founder of Newark’s TEAM Academy, told Moran, Education Law Center lawyers are supposed to be “trying to help Black and brown families who are underserved, and the solution is to yank them out of the schools they’ve chosen to enroll their kids and force them to go to a school they’ve actively avoided. I don’t get it.” (Moran notes the irony that “the biggest charter school networks in Newark are Team Academy and North Star Academy, and both came to Newark to promote racial justice by bringing good schools into segregated Black areas where school failures were most dramatic.”)
Jasmine Morrison, a Newark charter school parent and education advocate asks, “Why stop a good thing? It’s very scary to me. These schools do an exceptional job. This is my best option… Black and brown children have been segregated in failing school districts for quite some time. It’s a disservice to them to bring up a case of segregation to remove that opportunity now.”
Hill and Morrison aren’t the only people flummoxed by Education Law Center’s argument (although cynics might remember that the law firm is primarily funded by the state teachers union, whose leaders regard public charter schools as a threat to market share). Here are some reactions on social media:
Wow. Say what????😡
— Cynthia Rose (@praxis7749) May 9, 2021
These folks don’t get (or don’t want to get) the distinction btwn segregation that results from state authorities erecting race-based barriers around white suburbs & racial patterns that result from families freely choosing charter schools that they prefer over district schools.
— Steve Tracy (@DrStephenTracy) May 9, 2021
Charters are working, now it's a problem. That's RICH with hypocrisy!!
— Kathleen Boehnlein (@KathleenBoehnl2) May 10, 2021
None that I’m aware of
— Kyle Rosenkrans (@KyleRosenkrans) May 9, 2021
I think the judiciary is overpowered in the US in general, but esp NJ. The Justices on the NJSC also aren't urban parents, they aren't education experts, and they aren't closely connected to Nwk or any other low-inc town. It's not a body that should have the final say on this.
— State Aid Guy (@stateaidguy) May 9, 2021