Saturday, April 4, 2015

SCHOOL CHOICE: What Extra Money?

Key words: "extra money"The State of New Jersey gives a School District $10,500 per student in School Choice Funds. As long as the students are integrated into the population of the school without adding programs designed just for them, all is well.
Problems arise when the out of district students and their parents demand to be "segregated academically", recognized as different schools, and educated in different buildings from the home district students.

Problems arise when it becomes clear that money is being drained away from the entire home district in order to support a program financially that caters to out of district students and their parents. At DMHS, the "Extended Day" and the "late bus" add extra expenditures that make the educational model far too expensive. It should be evaluated and changed. This change should have been made in 2009. The problem grows more deeply into the fabric of the school, every year the situation is not addressed.

Then we come down to the real problem. Why do School Choice parents want their children to attend a FOCUS School (a school in danger of failing)? Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that they may have a sanctioned Apartheid Education without having to deal with opposition in their own districts. School Choice has wreaked havoc in Dwight Morrow High School in Englewood, NJ. Contrary to the situations described in the article, there is no extra money. There is extra apathy.

It cost over $21,000 to educate a student in Englewood last year. According to the article, the state gave Choice Districts $10,500 per student? Do the Math. Who paid the rest? The residents of Englewood paid the rest. We, the residents of Englewood are paying "extra" to have our high school segregated academically. In the article, the Fort Lee parent spoke of STEM. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) She chose to send her son to Bergenfield, because of the STEM education program.

We tried to convince our Board to create a STEM program at Dwight Morrow high school. School Choice Program parents and an elite few Englewood Parents screamed in opposition. It was not very pretty. They were clear that they wanted Academic Segregation and did not care about the decaying climate and culture of our high school. They are not concerned about the academic achievement of the entire high school population. Some of the parents demanded that the entire high school administration be removed for suggesting a plan that would cause them to lose their identity within our school population. It brings these words to mind...when in Rome....

In every other School in New Jersey that accepts School Choice students, there is a profit. In Englewood, there is a deficit.

One parent, who lives in Englewood Cliffs (and DMHS has been their HS 50 years or more) suggested that we were trying to play on the same basketball court as Michael Jordan. He said that we could have tea, coffee or go to after party with Michael Jordan, but never be on basketball court in his way.

The Flip side of that argument is that Scottie Pippin and other teammates helped Michael Jordan shine and become the billionaire that he is today.