Sunday, January 26, 2014

I HAVE A DREAM.......


"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.   



Photo: King delivers his iconic speech during the climax of the march on Washington.
Associated Press file

As we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s legacy, I am saddened by the reality of the statistics in the chart below.  There are large disparities in the student populations--in terms of race and income--in the publicly funded Hoboken Public schools.




In one square mile we have four public school districts: Public district (Brandt Primary School; Calabro, Connors and Wallace Elementary Schools and Hoboken Junior Senior High) and three Charter districts (Elysian Charter School, Hoboken Charter School, Hola Dual Language Charter School).  The Public school district enrolls every child that applies while the Charter districts each use a lottery system to fill their limited seats.  An unintended result of the lottery system, as indicated by the data in the chart, is segregated schools.

I believe that Dr. King is looking down on Hoboken and is proud of Dr. Toback, the superintendent of the Hoboken Public School district, who has brought this topic to the fore and has had conversations with the Directors of the other three publicly funded school districts in Hoboken to explore ways to address this issue.  Dr. Toback has also asked the NJDOE for their help in exploring ways to ‘fix the lottery process’ and to “help balance enrollment”.  


Are there other factors that have created this imbalance? The perception of the Public District schools hasn’t changed much in the last 25 years but the demographics of the City has as the increasing number of new more affluent families arrive in Hoboken.  The Charter schools appear to be the only “choice” for many of these new families.  Is this a choice based on the district’s historically low test scores, or a decision based on race or income disparities?  Maybe it’s a little of both?

While we can all agree that it’s harder and costlier to educate a population of students that bear the burden of poverty, we can also agree that it’s easier to educate children of more affluent, engaged families.  If we continue on this path we will have what is being described as “apartheid schools”–a school system in which the district public schools educate a majority of disadvantaged students and the Charter schools educate the more privileged students.  Is this how public funds should be used?  Is this how a community thrives?

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2013/10/study_new_jersey_has_too_many_apartheid_schools.html
  
Positive results happen when engaged parents get involved to change the status quo as witnessed during my tenure on the Hoboken Board of Education.   The past four years have seen many positive results and many success stories in the Public School district led by Dr. Toback and a group of dedicated and engaged parents. 

http://hudsonreporter.com/bookmark/24410397/article-Hoboken%20schools%20announce%20teachers%20of%20the%20year-%20Recipients%20praised%20for%20involvement%20and%20ingenuity%20in%20the%20classroom-%20#.UuR51bRYjoh.facebook


Let’s embrace the fact that Hoboken is a rich, diverse community and let our differences be the bond that unites us, not divides us.  I welcome you to join in the discussion in the name of Martin Luther King, Jr.

81 comments:

  1. Enjoyed this article. And we all know this has nothing to do with "test scores". It is all about the new "segregation" Socio Economics.

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  2. The retort being bandied about suggests that charter schools are representative of the city. The problem with such claim is that it does not look at age groups. and as such is patently false. There are a total of 2700 children aged 5-18. 2400 of those children attend public schools.This graph indicates the enrollment of public school students.

    It doesnt paint a pretty picture. It does paint a factual picture. We can choose to make excuses and attempt to avoid the truth or we can attempt to correct it.

    Now that the directors of all schools are aware of these issues, will they work to correct the issues or just ignore them?



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    1. Point of Information:
      How does the population of public school children (2400) break out across the 7 demographic definitions you identify above?
      How does the 2400 public school children population break out across the 4 school "districts" in the chart?
      Thank you.

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    2. Also, it seems this comparison co-mingles elementary, middle and high school. Should it not be based on an apples to apples comparison? How would it look then?

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    3. I assume you would prefer to keep the chart ,the same, moving forward?
      You have no issues with what you view in this chart?

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    4. Isnt this chart a representation of the public school population break out across the 4 school "districts".

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    5. Fair question. HS student population composition shouldn't be compared to Elementary school kids.

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    6. Not sure about specifics of compostion but when you compare Hoboken HS scores with HS in Jersey City (presumably similar income distribution), 2X as many Hoboken High School students fail Language and Math then students in JC HS students http://www.nj.com/education/2014/01/nj_school_performance_reports_for_every_school_released_today.html

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    7. I believe that Toback did this at a recent meeting and posted his results in a letter. The results based on elementary aged students were more gapped than what is listed here and results were worse on a racial level. Charter middle and HCSHS students have a higher percentage of minority and frl populations that k-6. Removing those middle and HS student age groups show an even larger difference/segregational picture within Public schools based on frl and racial demographics.

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    8. And if you look at sat scores in hcs and hhs you will note that HHS does better than hcs. What does this exactly mean and how is that relevant?

      WHy not compare Mcnair to say Newark? Sounds fair, right? they are both in urban districts.

      You would also note that if you looked at many top scoring districts and viewed their FRL population pass ratio, they would score similarly to most urban districts.

      if we are to have an open and honest conversation about education, at some point the public needs to review issues of poverty, special needs and English language learners and what effects such issues have on student learning, else the conversation is no better than those who prescribe that classrooms with higher class sizes with less teachers , less money and no local control is what will make education improve in this nation.

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  3. Thank you for so clearly describing this issue and bringing all of these pieces of information together into one place.

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  4. The current lottery process basically "guarantees" a spot to siblings. NOONE should get a preference for admission. Until that changes, the segregative effect will continue. Since the charter school community hasn't already proposed this, it can be assumed that they it this way, even though they may say otherwise.

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    1. Wednesday Jan 29th
      The US DOE reversed its policies and will now allow charter schools to use weighted lotteries to try and address the segregation between charter and public schools by income, Limited English Proficiency, race and special needs. Now NJ needs to change it's charter law to include a weighted lottery and a requirement for charters to reflect the population of their sending districts.

      "To truly achieve a mix of students in charter schools, Kahlenberg said federal and state governments should allow schools to weight lotteries in favor of whatever subgroup of student is under­represented at the school. "

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  5. The Charter schools can only pull lottery names from those who apply. They are following the laws as the state has deemed. However, Newark has set a precedence that Hoboken can follow. The charter schools and the district schools simply have to agree to do open enrollment. Seems easy enough.

    I'd like to give directors and the superintendent the chance to fix the issues. I am certain if they care about all of the Hoboken students they will work hard to make this happen.

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  6. Do we have this information for the individuals who apply (not attend) to the charter schools? I feel like this post suggests that only affluent families can get into charter schools, however the lottery that is used gives everyone an equal chance to secure an open spot. Do we know if the families of Hoboken understand this?

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    1. Seems this is a national issue

      http://edushyster.com/?p=4144&utm_content=buffer3640e&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

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  7. The lottery is for open spots. Siblings are given preference and move to the top of the list. So if there are 44 spots and 40 children have a younger sibling entering kindergarten for example, that leaves only 4 spots left. Unless you get in the first year of the school it is not really open because of these lottery rules.

    Once you're in you stay. So a lot of people move out of town once their kid is in a charter because other towns that surround Hoboken have much cheaper housing and they don't want their kids attending schools in the towns they are choosing to live in.

    A large majority of the one charter high school in town is mostly attended by out of town residents. Do we even need it?

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    1. I understand your logic. Please think through what you are proposing.
      How practical is it to have your older child at a charter and younger child(ren) at other schools. Abolishing the sibling rule creates a real potential logistical challenge for all families every day. Would you accept that?

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    2. Didn't seem like a proposal rather an explanation. The demographics could be out of balance for many reasons, sibling slots is just one. Maybe better outreach? There has to be some explanation why certain people don't apply to the charters.

      That chart is shocking and I am glad the conversation has begun. Can't fix what you don't name.

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    3. If the charter high school is of out of town students, why doesn't the middle school students use it? This doesn't make sense? What charter has a high school?

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    4. Hoboken Charter has a high school.

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  8. I'm surprised the charter schools have such low enrollment of free and reduced lunch students. I hope the school leaders work together to balance the disparity. Publicly funded schools should not have such a glaring difference in socioeconomic status among the traditional and charters. It's just not fair.

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    1. What's not fair? The charter school enrollment is based on who entered a random selection lottery, not who was selected by school leaders. What's not fair is the disparity in expenditures per student between traditional and charters.

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    2. maybe this can help explain:
      http://jerseyjazzman.blogspot.com/2014/01/can-we-please-have-some-straight-talk.html?spref=fb

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  9. As a parent of a special needs child, how can a charter school compete with a district school? Do they even offer adequate services? My child is still very young but this is a huge concern to me. Can anyone share some information on this please?

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  10. Thank you for this. I always think about this around MLK day. You are reporting an uncomfortable truth. I think families make individual decisions that they think are best for them, which is understandable. It is the institutions and policies that need to change, and be fair (especially since they're publicly funded) and that is why Dr. Toback is absolutely justified in asking the state to take a look. I Ann thankful for him, you, and KF.

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  11. Also, the charter school that is applying for an expansion to 7th and 8th grade, only has 18 students currently in grade 5. Does the town really need a new middle school for only "18" children?

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    1. That grade with 18 students is an anomaly. The other grades, especially the younger ones, are at capacity with long waiting lists. It is important to look at the bigger picture and to get all the facts before drawing conclusions.

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    2. How many 6th graders are projected to attend hola next year?

      9 students in each class?

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    3. But Hola has a wait list for 5th graders and there are only 18 kids. How is that so?

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  12. One big step to fairness would be to ensure that charter school funding is equal to the non-charter schools in Hoboken. Currently, there is a significant disparity. It becomes necessary for the charter school families to offset this through a variety of means.

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    1. The disparity is based upon charter law which regulates the amounts granted to the charter schools.

      Charter schools receive funding directly from the school districts that send children to the charter school, based on a formula of either 90% of the program budget per pupil for the specific grade level in the district or 90% of the maximum “thorough and efficient amount”. The sending district also distributes to the charter any additional aid provided by state and federal governments for low-income, special needs, and Limited English Proficient children. Charter schools also may receive private grants and donations.

      Having children leave a district school to attend a charter school generally does not reduce costs for the district, which must continue educating the remaining students. To offset the funds that must be sent to a charter school, a district may either cut programs and staff or increase local property taxes.

      As this chart shows, generally speaking Charter schools have low amounts of at risk, special needs and English language learners. Based on these lower levels of children who require extra educational support, charter schools do not educate the most expensive to educate children.

      Many charter schools in abbot districts receive far more funding than school districts in the suburbs, while educating similar populations. Many charter schools also spend more per pupil than suburban districts even while having similar demographic populations. Charter schools due to their small populations, have very high administrative costs.

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    2. clarification: charter schools do not educate many of the most expansive to educate children.

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    3. I think most charter schools supporters know not to trumpet this "problem" because slightly less funding is a small price to pay for the great advantage they think they have in their oasis away from the public schools. Someone who is getting something they think is great usually knows not to ask for more or complain about the smaller details.

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    4. Don't some charter schools have the added burden of covering mortgages and rent for space?

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    5. Again also part of the charter law. Charters opened knowing full well the regulations.


      And please remember the choice movement is about privatization not what is best for students. If it were the laws would be equitible in all arenas and charters would get their money separate from the district.
      Organic charters like Hoboken's are a tiny fraction of what goes on in the rest of the world- ergo the way the laws are written.

      from forbes:
      " They’re also lucrative, attracting players like the specialty real estate investment trust EPR Properties EPR -0.87% (EPR). Charter schools are in the firm’s $3 billion portfolio along with retail space and movie megaplexes."


      Dreams Charter School
      “Charter management firm charging huge rent markups to charter schools.” New York Post (NY), 4/30/2012
      A for-profit education firm is soaking taxpayers by subleasing buildings to the Brooklyn public charter schools it runs at astronomical rates — including one at an incredible 1,000 percent markup, sources said.

      There are hundred more just like this, but I think you get the point.

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    6. I'm not sure this all applies to the charter schools in Hoboken. Supposing it does, it seems the district would have benefited from keeping HCS in one of their buildings to collect the rent. No?

      Are the charter schools in Hoboken involved in these types of financial arrangements? You seem to be suggesting they are.

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    7. I dont think the Charter schools in Hoboken are involved in these cases. Pointing out the logic behind the way the laws are created.

      Charters are completely separate districts. Hoboken's charter schools have as much to do with Hoboken district as it does with Maplewood's district.

      The only relationship they share is that the state tells the Hoboken district how much money to pull from it's budget to pay for the charter school.

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  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  14. Journey for Justice and "School choice" week; just whose choices are being respected??
    Last week was “School choice” week. The entire concept of “school choice week” was invented by Jeb Bush to promote the expansion of charter and vouchers, supposedly to allow for more parental choice in selecting their children's schools. Meanwhile, it was just revealed that Bush's organization, Foundation for Excellence in Education (FEE), promotes the business of for-profit companies, including several that donate to the organization and at least one corporation in which Bush has stock.

    The reality is that the corporate reformers pushing “school choice,” including Arne Duncan, Jeb Bush, Bill Gates, Michael Bloomberg and Michelle Rhee, are not interested in the real-life choices of parents; but instead in privatization.
    When thousands of parents repeatedly turn out across the country to oppose the closing of their neighborhood schools, are their choices listened to? No, they are ignored, or else the people in charge, like Bloomberg, say that parents are too uneducated to understand the value of a good education.
    When parents say that their first priority for their children’s schools is reducing class size, are their choices listened to? No, instead, the same people who say they believe in parent choice vehemently oppose lowering class size: Bill Gates insists that class size doesn’t matter, Michelle Rhee pushes for eliminating any caps on class sizes, and Bloomberg say he would double class sizes if he could.
    When parents say their children are over-tested and they should be allowed to opt out, do the authorities listen? No, instead they plan to subject them to even more frequent and longer tests.

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    1. Well stated. Hoboken is a microcosm and (with a few other cities) is ahead of most of the country in this problem of self-segregation and privatization. hopefully it won't spread much. What can be done to curb it? Spread awareness?

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    2. Seems a little to late

      http://edushyster.com/?p=4144&utm_content=buffer3640e&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

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  15. Regarding Hola, the 5th grade which was once at full capacity is now only 18 students.

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    1. That grade was never at full capacity. That grade represents the 2nd grade when the school was started and kids had to move from English-speaking schools to primarily Spanish. That's a tough jump to make and a big leap of faith to transfer kids into a brand new school.

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    2. It was at full capacity (44 students) in 2nd grade. Then in 3rd grade, there was a lot of changes/administrative issues going on and parents started taking their kids out. There was reporting of this in the local press. As far as making the jump - parents knew that going in, it was their choice to try this experiment.

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    3. why does hola have a wait list for 5th grade when there are only 18 students total in that grade. 9 students per class and there is still a waitlist for those classes?

      something doesnt seem right about that.

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    4. with only 18 kids there are plenty of spots.

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    5. If there are plenty of spots, and you say there is a waiting list why aren't they filling the spaces?

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  16. This "school choice" agenda that is being pushed is a smokescreen for the real agenda. To weaken the teachers union and for the privatization and/or corporate takeover of the schools. It has already been happening in some states.

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    1. yeah, keep kids stuck in awful schools generation after generation because it might weaken the teachers unions to give those parents a choice. it's all about the union keeping the dues flowing in, not about ensuring a good education for kids. notice I say union, not teacher.

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    2. That is such a load of crap.
      Have you ever for once wondered why you dont see "awful" schools in wealthy suburbs?
      Has it ever dawned on you that "awful schools" nearly always have one thing in common?
      These schools you refer to as awful are either in neighborhoods suffering from poverty or serve children who are suffering from poverty.

      While political posturing by blaming teachers or unions or superintendents may be a feel good excuse, it solves nothing. It makes people who utter such ignorant comments transparent and reminds many who deal with children in poverty how little the public really understands the realities of such effects.

      There are 86 charter schools, tell me how many serve the same population of students and outperform their peer schools- 5%-10? and the worse part, the 5-10% doing better while similar, still have less special needs, ell and at risk students. So they are optimal student populations.

      Some 85% of the charter schools in NJ are failing to meet passing benchmarks. Are they awful schools as well? How are the failing charter schools the unions fault? Is this the teachers fault? Teachers in urban districts have 5 year turnover rate. Are you saying every single teacher who teaches in an urban district just so happens to be bad? why is it when an urban teacher transfers to a suburban district, he is considered a great teacher but when he was in an urban teacher he was horrible? why is it that the charter schools with no unions couldn't do better? Who else do you want to blame?

      It's the poverty. Deal with all the issues relevant to poverty and things have a chance to improve. Until then, I guess the urban teachers (the people helping those in poverty) will continue to be bashed for the issues students deal with.

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    3. And, while only about 15 of the charter schools are passing, some 400 other district schools are passing. This alone proves that teachers, unions, superintendents and another educational professionals obviously arent the problem with the education system nor can they be the silver bullet to fix the issues of poverty.

      The state of NJ ranks #2 nationwide. Stop bashing NJ schools and those who work hard everyday to help children in poverty.

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  17. Congrats to Dr. Toback and this blog for getting the community talking about this issue. Can anyone really view this chart and not have a reaction that something needs addressing? Whatever it is, it has to be addressed. I would think the charter parents and staff would be just as eager to find solutions and will work together with the non charter schools.

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  18. Are the Hoboken based students who attend High Tech included in these figures? If not why? Isn't that a public high school?

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  19. What figures? Obviously, the students are counted as being at High Tech (county school).

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  20. After looking at the chart you have to wonder if there would be any significant differences in test scores between the public schools and charter schools if the demographics were equalized across the schools.

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  21. After looking at the chart you have to wonder if there would be any significant differences in test scores between the public schools and charter schools if the demographics were equalized across the schools.

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    1. Considering, that Hola has 0 special needs and 0 LEP students, I would say definitely YES,

      Any school school that has 0 special needs and Lep would do better than schools with higher percentages of special needs and LEP. A student must be 2 standard deviations below the norm to be classified, (unless physically or emotionally impaired).

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  22. Hola ranks in the 99% for it's comparative group.
    Check out the special needs, free and reduced lunch and LEP percentages of Hola (charters) compared with the "comparative group".

    Does this look like a comparative group to you?


    FRPL LEP SpED
    BERGEN KG-03 16.9% 1.3% 6.3%
    BERGEN KG-05 26.2% 10.7% 4.2%
    BURLINGTON 03-05 26.8% 1.8% 19.9%
    CAMDEN KG-05 29.2% 4.9% 17.0%
    CAMDEN PK-05 20.2% 0.0% 14.0%
    CHARTERS KG-05 11.1% 0.0% 0.0%
    ESSEX 03-05 19.4% 0.0% 12.8%

    "charters" is hola charter school.

    Does anyone think Hola is being ranked among it's peers?

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    1. It may be helpful to also share how much those districts are getting per student compared to Hoboken Public Schools

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    2. What would that have to do with anything?

      Hoboken was a minimum tax evy district. That means that it cannot cut one peny from its budget because it needs to spend a minimum to collect the state aid. State aid is collected based on student population needs (frl , at risk, special needs, ELL).

      Similar to an insurance payment, the state provides a ratio of student need costs. This district is or was at that point.

      The only way a comp can be applicable is if both districts had the same ratios of exact same demographics with the exact same sized district.

      Equalizing data has always been attempted but each states in essence that while used for simple understanding , it is not reliable.
      It is not reliable due exactly to the reasons explained above.

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    3. That is a good question. It would indicate what the return on investment is based on test scores. It would be interesting to see an analysis of expenditure vs results. It would indicate how effective the BOE and individual administrations are in their efforts to give the children a solid education.

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    4. That's a good question ROI. Afterall, if the taxpayer is expending money for something it should get a payback right?

      Lets start with the profoundly handicapped, say an IQ of 30, quadriplegic in private school learning activites of daily living. Private school tuition for that child is about 100-125k a year. That child did not pass the standardized test. Do we cut the funding? find a better way to get that child to pass? Blame the teacher? the superintendent?

      Let me guess, your not talking about such a situation.

      Well , unlike charter schools, distircts have that situation many times over with other various applicable academic issues because they MUST accept all children, not only those who apply and not only those who fit in their charter program.

      . In addition to providing federal funds to eligible entities, the IDEA allows a state the flexibility to designate some other entity as responsible for ensuring that the requirements of the IDEA are met for children with disabilities enrolled in public schools. Where you are meeting your charter school’s Section 504 and Title II FAPE responsibilities through compliance with IDEA requirements, the IDEA’s flexibility could help you meet your charter school’s Section 504 and Title II FAPE responsibilities. Generally, if a state designates another entity as responsible for ensuring that all of the IDEA requirements are met for eligible disabled children enrolled in a particular charter school, that designated entity would ensure that FAPE is provided to each of those students, generally at the charter school site.
      or

      In applying
      admissions criteria to students with disabilities, individualized determinations must be made as to whether a particular student meets the criteria and
      those determinations must be made on a nondiscriminatory basis. For example, if students must pass a written examination in order to be admitted to a charter school, a student who is blind would have to be provided appropriate accommodations in order to take the test.

      what happens in this situation if the child is qaudriplegic or can't read or severely neurologically impaired?

      There are realistic issues that must be considered.

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    5. I would be remiss if I didnt add something to the list below:
      " they MUST accept all children, not only those who apply and not only those who fit in their charter program." AND not only for the amount of "seats" available. Districts must make more seats so that there is room for ANYONE who applies.

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    6. ROI? Based on test scores for such varied populations. Some how even thinking of that term attached to children seems icky. Also completly ignores that not all children begin on equal footing. I remember a saying about someone born on third bragging they hit a triple. Nice if you are the coach of all those born on third base.

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  23. If you are starting a discussion on the inequalities in the school system - you should also include private schools. Or are they off limits? At least with Charters, everyone has a chance of getting in.

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    1. Private schools are paid for via private monies. Public schools are paid for via public money.

      "We conclude that in the field of PUBLIC EDUCATION the doctrine of "separate but equal" has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal. Therefore, we hold that the plaintiffs and others similarly situated for whom the actions have been brought are, by reason of the segregation complained of, deprived of the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment.

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    2. 14th amendment:
      Individual liberties guaranteed by the United States Constitution protect, with exception of the Thirteenth Amendment’s ban on slavery, not against actions by private persons or entities, but only against actions by government officials.

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  24. Everyone also has a chance of getting into private schools. As long as you have the funds to pay for it. The private schools also see a lot of movement. This is a very transient area. The private schools experience an exodus by middle school years. If you can afford it. Everyone does not have an "equal" chance of getting in the charters. Preference given to certain students (sibling) take away that equal chance.

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  25. So many of the struggling districts in NJ have a large low income population but receive poor funding as well. Hoboken is an affluent district with a large low income population (in fact, we get more $$ per student then most districts in urban NJ). Blaming low test scores on a family's income level may sidetrack educators from providing the highest quality education possible, may be akin to parent-bashing, and distract us from the most important question: Are educators doing all they can to meet the needs of these students?
    Secondly, it is very important to keep in mind that many many students with special needs do NOT participate in grade level testing.

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    1. I think the point is that while the charter schools have radically different student populations from the public schools they (the charter schools) compare their test scores against the public schools.

      Acknowledging the impact of income levels on education isn't blaming parents. The federal and state government recognize this impact with many programs and extra funding they provide specifically for students from low income families precisely so they can better meet their educational needs. Just two examples of many programs are the Abbott district designations and No Child Left Behind Act which mandated extra funding for economically disadvantaged students.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abbott_district
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_Child_Left_Behind_Act

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    2. Also, regarding your post "(in fact, we get more $$ per student then most districts in urban NJ)"; I am not sure what you are referring to.

      Comparatively speaking Hoboken receives about 38% state and federal aid. Yet The state average for direct state aid to school districts is 44%, with the average local contribution being 53%

      Other urban districts receive much more aid and in some cases as high as 90%. Hoboken district receives about 27 million in aid...Newark’s award for the 2013-14 school year, a little more than $714 million have been run with state oversight since the mid-1990s.


      regarding your last comment

      it is very important to keep in mind that many many students with special needs do NOT participate in grade level testing.
      Iam not sure where you are getting your information from.
      Federal law only permits 3% of all students to be exempted because of disabilities

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    3. My apologies meant to say we SPEND more per student.

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    4. Special education students are required to take standardized tests and the state provides a Alternative Proficiency Assessment for students with severe disabilities. My understanding is that there are very few out right exemptions from state testing.

      http://www.state.nj.us/education/specialed/accom900.htm

      Accommodations and Modifications of Test Administration Procedures for Statewide Assessments

      In accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), students who are receiving special education services must participate in the statewide assessment system. Students must participate in the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge in grades three through eight (NJ ASK 3-8), the High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA), New Jersey Biology Competency Test (NJBCT), and the Alternative High School Assessment (AHSA) in each subject area of the age-appropriate assessment with the following exception:

      "Students with disabilities shall participate in the Alternate Proficiency Assessment in each content area where the nature of the student’s disability is so severe that the student is not receiving instruction in any of the knowledge and skills measured by the general statewide assessment and the student cannot complete any of the types of questions on the assessment in the content area(s) even with accommodations and modifications. (New Jersey Administrative Code Chapter 6A:14-4.11[a]2)."

      Students with disabilities eligible for special education and related services and those students eligible under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act may have accommodations and/or modifications during the administration of the statewide assessments. The Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 team makes decisions about accommodations/modifications. Information about test content and item types from the directories of test specifications can be used to make these decisions.

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    5. I don't believe anyone is blaming the parents or the students just acknowledging the impacts poverty may have on children. Does anyone believe that the educational needs are the same when one child has all the advantages of wealth and the other does not?

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    6. Spending in this district was at the lowest legal amount. This is called minimum tax levy.

      NJ abbot districts also have a thorough and effiecient base amount that each district must spend per student. Then weights are added for special needs, free and reduced lunch, speech and lanuage and English language learner populations. Those weights also have aid attached to them.

      Like you insurance co pays, Aid has a minimum expenditure that must be provided by the district receiving the aid.

      As such, being a minimum tax levy district, spending is based on the mandated needs of each child and there is no additional money. It must spend the money it has in its budget on the students. Each Abbott district must always expend the thorough and efficient base minimum to provide the constitutional rights for each child. This is law.

      As a district above minimum tax levy, (99% of all other districts), it means the districtis spending the bare minimum plus what ever that overage is.

      Hope this was helpful.

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  26. very interesting conversations here. I would like to hear more about how to fix the situation reflected in the chart. Does everyone agree this needs to be addressed? What are the solutions moving forward?

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  27. I'm a charter school parent, and I think there are some fairly straightforward solutions, some easy some hard.

    First and foremost, charter schools need to recruit in low income areas. This is easy, and Hoboken Charter took some beginning (if belated) steps in that direction. this year. Some posters, some presence, and at least non-white, lower income families will feel more welcomed, more likely to participate in the lottery.

    Second, the charter schools need to sensitively adapt to low-income students. This is more than just quietly paying for "extra" costs for students with subsidized lunches. Assignments shouldn't assume easy access to a computer at home. High level fund raising, unavoidable if you have to buy your own building, has to be handled carefully. Cultural assumptions need to be scrutinized--minority/low income families need to be proactively sought out for comments and concerns, before they leave.

    Finally, and most difficult, parents at the charters need to recognize diversity as an asset. Some parents will always prefer a more "sheltered" environment, but those of us who feel differently need to challenge such attitudes at every turn.

    I'm a charter parent, working for diversity at the school I love. I'm sure there are things the public schools can do as well, to attract families for whom it's "a charter or a suburb", but my 2 cents is about what my school can do.

    Laura Keating

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    Replies
    1. Ms. Keating, you've stated some great ideas, and your heart is in the right place. I would like to think and truly hope that you are in the majority. Sometimes it seems that economic diversity is what charter families intend to escape from, whether they admit it or not, even to themselves. If charters were to work toward having the same percentage of poor kids as Hob district schools, would they still be attractive to middle class and up? Everyone wants to do what they think is best for their kids... but educated parents need to learn that that good teachers and good schools can cater to all kids at once. That has been my public school experience: challenged learners and quick learners are extremely well-educated side-by-side, as they should be (especially with public funds). I don't know if my high-achiever helps the more challenged kids, but she is certainly not held back.

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    ReplyDelete