Friday, January 16, 2015

"To Whom It May Concern": A Case Study of Advocacy, Hyperbole, and Factual Inaccuracy

Picture from the last tour of the Macy's Thanksgiving
Parade Facility--Hoboken, NJ 
First, I would like to thank the people who contacted me about this issue. It has been brought to a number of people's attention that there is a letter/email circulating on social media and blogs which concerns some issues facing various educational institutions in the town of Hoboken, NJ. Certainly the letter appears to be passionate, advocates for our traditional pubic schools, and seems to come from a concerned parent of a child in the Hoboken public school system. We can not lose sight of the fact that some issues are causing fractures and division in our communities around the issue of public schools, quality, and funding. 

From the Hoboken Board of Education lawsuit

The following is presented simply to help better inform those who may have questions concerning (mis)information included in the letter and surrounding this issue. 

There are two versions. One is a hyperlinked text document and the other is an annotated attachment. 


It is my understanding that you will be reviewing your decision to allow for the expansion of the HoLa Charter School by two grades (7th & 8th). I ask that in your review you take into consideration the financial and segregative impacts such an expansion will have on the local public school district.

I am a Hoboken district parent that loves my child's public school and all that it has to offer.  My family values our warm, diverse learning community and we are concerned about the impact the charter expansion will have on the ongoing success of the Public School District (note; see also HERE and HERE).

The charter expansion will place extreme financial burdens on our budget and will jeopardize the district student's program. Our Public School District educates such a wide variety of students, including the neediest students in our community, 73% who receive free and reduced priced lunches while HoLa Charter school only educates 11% of students impacted by poverty.  The district cannot be expected to continue the progress in achieving higher state test scores while seeing a significant drain on funding.  Under the current formula, charter funding is always guaranteed while the public school children always suffer the cuts.

It is also the State's charter regulations that impede tools a community might use to reduce the segregative impacts, such as weighted lotteries or a universal application

I ask that HoLa forgo their expansion until the funding issues are resolved so that no child has to suffer for the success of another.  I understand HoLa's interest in continued exposure to Spanish; however, their middle school model is a 10% Spanish / 90% English model (note: 90% taught in Spanish for K-2; 50+% Spanish in middle grades).  I don't believe this is a compelling difference to reduce the educational resources of my child and her classmates.

Thank you in advance for taking these important financial and segregative issues into consideration during your review.