March 29, 2017

Charges of Segregation Are Rooted In A Misrepresentation of Dr. Rubin’s Data

To the Editor:

I am puzzled by the discrepancy between Dr. Julia Sass Rubin’s measured public statements on evolving Princeton Charter School (PCS) demographics and the charges of segregation espoused by Keep PPS Strong. The latter’s charges are rooted in a misrepresentation of Dr. Rubin’s data, which they publicly stated were supplied to them by her. I attended Dr. Rubin’s presentation on January 11, hosted by Superintendent Cochrane in the JWMS auditorium. Responding to questions about why PCS enrollment of low-income students declined precipitously in ’08-’09, she quite clearly stated that a number of factors could be responsible such as the recession, families becoming wealthier, etc. She was quite clear that the data she had was insufficient to test these hypotheses. In a private communication four days later, I suggested the recession caused a “disruption in peer recruitment.” She responded this was “feasible” but did not have “[data] to go on.” At no point did she suggest that it might be the result of deliberate policy.

In contrast to Dr. Rubin’s remarks, Keep PPS Strong’s opposition to PCS has coalesced around the accusation that the decline in low-income student enrollment is the desired result of “inequitable, racist policies.” Those words are Cara Carpenito’s, but her March 8 letter to Town Topics was reproduced without comment on the group’s Facebook page, as was the Latino Coalition’s press release for its federal civil rights complaint (which references Dr. Rubin’s data), and of course the replication of many of Dr. Rubin’s PCS slides with the tag #publiclyfundedsegregation.

Since Dr. Rubin’s work is a cornerstone to the opposition to PCS espoused by Keep PPS Strong, I would like to know why she has allowed the group to replace her well-reasoned concerns about the demographic effects of the expansion with such egregious speculation?

Ethan Schartman

Dodds Lane