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Residents Plan Anti-Charter School Rally For Friday

The rally is opposing the Mandarin-immersion charter school that would draw students from South Orange, Maplewood and West Orange.

With , some Maplewood, West Orange and South Orange residents are joining together to fight it.

On Friday, January 6 at 4:30 p.m.,residents will be meeting at the Maplewood Community Center in to protest the application. More than 1,500 residents have already signed a petition that asks Acting Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf to reject Hua Mei’s application, something that has happened before. 

In September, Hua Mei was not one of the charter school . The group came back with an amended application that removed Millburn and Livingston as districts to be served. The previous application had met with substantial . 

Residents who thought the battle was over were dismayed at the reapplication.

“I couldn’t believe it because it felt like my community was trapped in some kind of bad TV sitcom,” Marian Raab, a Maplewood mother of two young children and one of the organizers of the rally, said in a news release. “The state had just rejected this school’s application earlier this year after the vast majority of local residents came out against it.”

The rally is expected to attract local elected officials as well. The release touted appearances by State Senator Richard Codey, Assemblywoman Mila Jasey and Assemblyman John McKeon. The three legislators are that would allow either voters or a district’s board of school estimates to vote on charter school applications. The measure has passed the Assembly and is awaiting consideration in the Senate.

“This is a scary example of how the charter school movement has gone off the rails,” Raab continued in the statement. “Right now, local school districts in New Jersey have absolutely NO control over which charter schools can open in their towns, even though those schools would drain significant funding from already cash-strapped and stressed public school budgets. This is terrible public policy that must be changed to give control back to local residents.”

wohopeful January 04, 2012 at 10:54 PM
Ms. Rubin, I have not changed the subject, just read the title line “Residents Plan Anti-Charter School Rally…” This has always been about a group of misguided individuals trying to vilify the men and women who hope to bring educational improvements in the form of educational choice and opportunities for the children of West Orange, South Orange, and Maplewood. The fact that I pointed out the hypocrisy of someone telling the people of West Orange, South Orange and Maplewood to oppose the Hua Mei Charter school when they themselves avail their child of the educational opportunity and choice of a charter school is simply presenting all of the facts. I find it interesting that you behaved the way you did when the veil was removed from your hypocrisy. If anyone has cheapened public discourse it would be people like yourself who find that it is ok to have the availability of a public charter school for themselves with no intention of giving it up and want to tell others that they should oppose a charter school in their own district. If this was truly about legislative change then you should advocate that these misguided folks take their fight to the legislation in Trenton and not vilify the brave men and women who are forging educational reform for our children.
Cynthia Cumming January 04, 2012 at 11:10 PM
Whoops. Left out the part about Woho being such a misogynist. Perhaps the He Man Woman Haters Club will be out at the rally, along with the I Hate Teachers and Public Schools Compendium.
wohopeful January 05, 2012 at 01:03 AM
"high" being the operative word for Ms. Cumming.
A January 06, 2012 at 04:20 PM
Go Marian!!!! 100% behind you.
Susan1 January 06, 2012 at 07:52 PM
Thanks for your hard work, Marian. I emailed Commissioner Cerf this week, and I hope others will as well. We need to also keep the pressure on our elected officials, however. Even if Hua Mei is denied this round, they will certainly be back. Legislative reform is our only hope. Good luck!!

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