Sunday, January 29, 2012

Students Take On Cerf. And Win.

Today Jersey Jazzman pointed out that while ed reformers use students to bolster their weak arguments or show numbers at their protests, many of the kids don't seem to know what school they supposedly want to see closed down or why they are protesting.  

In contrast, check out these intrepid high school reporters in Cherry Hill and Highland Park.  They are all over this charter thing, and they get it.  No high tech wizardry, just good old fashioned student work.  This amazing illustration went along with an article on Regis Academy in the Cherry Hill High School East paper, Eastside.  

In the same paper there was an Editorial as well:

The detrimental effects of the charter school on Cherry Hill's public school finances and ultimately the success of existing public schools make it completely unwelcoming to most Cherry Hill residents.  Although it sounds absurd, the current process surrounding the charter school system application offers Cherry Hill representatives little room to influence the final decision.  On November 4, the district filed notice of intent to appeal the State Commissioner of Education's approval of the Regis Academy Charter School, and is asking residents to voice their opinions regarding the charter.  

The kid is dead-on.

And speaking of dead-on, Highland Park High School junior Charlotte Finegold has been writing about Tikun Olam in her school paper, the Highland Fling.  Not only has she written several articles, she testified before the Assembly Education Committee, spoke at the Highland Park Save Our Schools NJ rally for local control and emailed Acting Commissioner Cerf DIRECTLY about her thoughts on the fourth application!  The kid has guts!  

Here's a bit from her letter:

My public high school is not failing, nor is it in danger of doing so. Not only are we a good school, but my school district has taken numerous efforts to compromise with the founders of Tikun Olam. The district implemented a Hebrew language program in the high school, even though it could have created a program for a more in-demand language like Mandarin or Hindi. Even when these changes are disregarded, it still remains clear that this charter school has no place in my community. 

And then she nails her conclusion:

It is not fair for local taxpayers, Highland Park educators, and students to pay the price for an ill-organized school which lacks a location and support from its sending community and supposed endorsers.

I sincerely hope that the Department of Education sufficiently investigates Tikun Olam’s application and makes the right decision.

What was Cerf's response?     

Thank you for your thoughtful letter.

That's it?  Really?  A student takes the time to write a heartfelt, articulate email, and that's the most the Acting Commissioner of Education can muster?  Why not take the time to engage with a student that clearly wants to be a part of the dialogue?

Note to Cerf.  The students in districts like Cherry Hill and Highland Park are SO well educated that they can see through all of this charter nonsense.   They deserve answers. Real answers.  

Students 2.  Cerf 0.

1 comment:

  1. As the Who would say, "The kid's are alright". Bravo! They've been taught well!