A Sunlight subscriber sent us a Washington Post article by Jay Mathews entitled “N.J.’s education chief blocked growth of state’s best charter schools. Why?” Sunlight does not typically opine on charter schools because they are for the most part outside our purview. But insofar as New Jersey’s charter school policies reflect Governor Murphy’s subservience to his special interest paymasters, led by the NJEA, we will opine.
Remember that the NJEA was “all-in” for Murphy in 2017, going so far as to create its own “Members4Murphy” campaign led by current Murphy Deputy Chief of Staff Deb Cornavaca. Remember, too, that the NJEA spent at least $15.5 million via its Super PAC, Garden State Forward, supporting Murphy’s re-election in 2021. Murphy’s quid pro quos are numerous and consequential.
But perhaps none so consequential as the harm Murphy is doing to minority kids stuck in failing urban public schools systems in cities like Camden and Newark. As Mathews points out, “[charter school] North Star’s high school classes are among the wonders of the education world.” More Black students at North Star scored “proficient” on the 2019 state tests in math and literacy than in the entire Newark school district!
So why would Murphy curtail North Star’s expansion? Again, Mathews: “It appears Murphy is trying to appease teachers unions” that would like to “kill the charter movement” because “most charters are not unionized.” What a scandal! Murphy is content to join the NJEA in disregarding the very kids that New Jersey’s public school system is supposed to educate. Think of the human cost. Think about the lost futures.
Murphy talks about equity and justice, but when it comes to his political ambitions and his deep-pocketed, special interest funders like the NJEA, his actions belie his words. Another example of New Jersey under Murphy: run by and for the special interests.