With guest, Louder Than a Bomb poet Nate Marshall

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Why is this N.J. charter app being approved?

The New Jersey suburb of Highland Park needs a new charter school like a fish needs a bicycle. But after her bogus applications had been rejected three times, and despite community protests, real-estate agent Sharon Akman, may finally get her Tikun Olam Hebrew charter school along with a $600,000 grant, courtesy of Arne Duncan and the D.O.E.

Writes Michael Winerip in Sunday's Times:
For each child who leaves a district to attend a charter, the charter receives 90 percent of the district’s per-pupil spending allotment. In modest-size communities like Highland Park, with a district of 1,500 students, that can take a substantial bite out of a school budget. What has been so frustrating to opponents is that despite repeated distortions in the Tikun Olam applications, the charter still may open in September.   

How could federal oversight be so lax? 
The answer, says Winerip, charters are the darlings of  "an education establishment that includes Democrats (President Obama) and Republicans (Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey) with strong financial backing (the Gates, Broad and Walton foundations)."


  1. I'm hoping that all parents will enter that school's lottery. Wonder what happens when there is a large mix of gentiles? Probably not what the founder hopes for. Since the application is full of mis-statements and representations, I'm hoping that Christie the prosecutor nails them for fraud.(Doubtful) In the end, I hope they get prosecuted and become the poster child/ren for fraudulent charters. Perhaps this is what is needed to tip the debate and make people aware of what is happening to public education and the scam that charters have become.

  2. ReTiredbutMisstheKidsJanuary 11, 2012 at 12:25 AM

    Is this a Jewish school? Whatever happened to the separation of church & state? If there is, seems pretty clear THIS charter should get NO money.

    Does this never end?

  3. It's not a Jewish school, ReTired. It's a Hebrew school. There's a difference. A Hebrew school is non-religious. It focuses on language and culture, much like the ethnic studies programs that are now under attack in Arizona.

    It's one thing to oppose Tikun Olam because of a poorly-written application or for taking funds away from other public schools. But let's not put ourselves in the position of attacking all schools that focus on language and culture.

    1. ReTiredbutMisstheKidsJanuary 11, 2012 at 11:09 PM

      Hey, David, I AM Jewish, & it's been my experience that Hebrew schools are attached to synagogues which have, for years, been quite ably providing both Hebrew & instruction in Jewish culture. So, I guess my question here, is, why start a charter school to reinvent the wheel? Additionally, in so doing, money is taken from the existing public schools in the community--and THAT is what I am criticizing here. Under no circumstance would I have ever sent my child to a school which takes money from my neighbors' children: that is just the opposite of the meaning of tikun olam (which is to repair & to do good in the world).

  4. I'm Jewish too, sorry but Hebrew instruction is always within some kind of religious context.


Agree? Disagree? Let me hear from you.