Rubin’s Inaccurate Depictions create additional barriers for urban families

In response to last week’s Star-Ledger article, parents are speaking out against Julia Sass Rubin’s remarks that poor families “don’t have the bandwidth to even evaluate charters.” The first was Chrystal Williams, a NorthStar mom. Here, Lesley D. Leslie from Marion P. Thomas Charter School Speaks out.

As a parent of three children that attend the Marion P. Thomas Charter School in Newark, New Jersey, I am offended by the statements made by Julia Sass Rubin in the recent Star Ledger article about charter schools. To suggest that poor families are less able to focus on the best suitable place to educate their children, Ms. Rubin makes the assumption that education could not possibly be a high priority in that family due to their economic circumstance.  Being poor does not preclude one from being able to ascertain a quality educational facility over one that is not!  Nor does poverty prevent a family from determining which school is a better fit for their children. Ms Rubin is simply not in a position to presume what is a high priority for a family in poverty and what is not. Poor and low-income families encounter numerous challenges associated with poverty, ranging from unemployment to systemic racism.  Inaccurate depictions of such families, alleged by Ms. Rubin only serve to create additional barriers for us.

Lesley D. Leslie
Charter School Parent & Board Member


About New Jersey Charter Schools Association

Formed in 1999, the New Jersey Charter Schools Association (NJCSA) is a 501(c)(3) membership association that represents the state’s charter school community and, by extension, charter school students and their parents. We are committed to advancing quality public education for New Jersey’s children through quality public charter schools, with the vision that every child in the State of New Jersey should have the opportunity to attend a high-quality public school that best meets his or her needs.
This entry was posted in Charters Change Lives, Newark, parent voice. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Rubin’s Inaccurate Depictions create additional barriers for urban families

  1. Julia Sass Rubin says:

    Ms. Leslie,

    You have every right to be proud to serve on the board of Marion P. Thomas. It’s a terrific school.

    Not only is it a high-quality school in terms of its programs but, (as chart five at this url demonstrates), it educates more Free lunch students than Newark’s median publicly-funded school:

    Unfortunately, schools like Marion P. Thomas are penalized by our state’s charter law, which requires a blunt student enrollment instrument – an open lottery – and fails to address the willingness of some charter schools to game the system.

    The policy options to try and correct this that Mark Weber and I propose in our report, include:

    *using a weighted lottery;
    *having the NJ Department of Education conduct that lottery to increase transparency;
    *requiring that any students who leave must be replaced (if possible) with students from similar demographic groups in terms of income, English Proficiency and special needs;
    *financially penalizing charter schools that persistently fail to educate a population comparable to that of their sending school districts;
    *reporting student demographics both at the beginning and end of the academic year;
    *having NJ DOE provide an annual update of student demographics by charter school and sending district.

    There are undoubtedly other ideas that would work and it’s long past due that New Jersey had this conversation.

    We welcome your ideas!


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