In just a short period of time, Democratic Congressional candidate Alex Law has built a long record of making outlandish and demonstrably false statements, but perhaps none is more outrageous than his latest email about his support for Camden teachers and his broadside against local charter schools.

What Law neglected to mention in his email is that his father, Peter Law, was a longtime employee of a charter school in Camden, and that he repeatedly and publicly fought efforts to unionize teachers at the school.

Law, who has consistently and falsely attacked Congressman Norcross' family throughout this campaign, undoubtedly will cry that pointing out his father's anti-union record is somehow unfair. But his family’s anti-union history is an issue both because of his father’s active involvement in the campaign and because it reveals the depths of Law's own hypocrisy and willingness to regularly deceive voters.

Law Rhetoric

Fact Check

LAW RHETORIC: “In Camden, Charter Schools are killing public schools.”

FACT: Alex Law’s father, Peter Law, served as a teacher with Leap Academy Charter School in Camden for more than a decade and is currently on administrative leave. Prior to his leave, the senior Law was an active opponent of the state teacher’s union’s efforts to organize teachers at Leap Academy, including when he testified in New Jersey Public Employment Relations Commission proceedings against NJEA unionization efforts.

“However, Pete Law, a social studies teacher … said while the union will benefit him, he believes it will hurt the school's mission. He voted against the union, he said.” - Courier-Post, 4/22/04

LAW RHETORIC: State law “Sends tremendous amount of money that previously would have went to Public Schools to Renaissance charters, many of which are controlled by [Congressman Norcross’s] family's foundation, The Norcross Foundation", and none whatsoever to the charter school Law’s father worked at.

FACT: Charter Schools in Camden ARE public schools and Renaissance charters function as neighborhood schools, which means they pull their student body from their surrounding neighborhoods. The Norcross Foundation, which Congressman Norcross has no connection to or control over, is a partner with KIPP, one of the nation’s premiere education leaders, in a single school in Camden, not “many” as Law states.

LAW RHETORIC: State law “Allows for Charter Schools to expel children that are underperforming. This allows them to maintain their shiny statistics, while putting Public schools in a situation where they are expected to do more even with dramatically increased challenges."

FACT: No Renaissance charter schools in Camden are given permission to expel a child solely for underperformance. Renaissance charter schools in Camden function as neighborhood schools, drawing their enrollment from surrounding neighborhoods, not from across the city or region.

LAW RHETORIC: “Funding is tied to these statistics so every year the Charter schools increase their share of the pie.”

FACT: Funding for schools are based on student enrollment, not test scores.

LAW RHETORIC: State law “Allows for tenure to essentially be eliminated for teachers because in Charter Schools the process for dismissal is much more streamlined and any appeals go to Chris Christie's chosen officer.”

FACT: The legislation sponsored by then State Senator Donald Norcross was supported by the NJEA and does not eliminate tenure. Presumably Law means Paymon Rouhanifard, the Superintendent of Camden Public Schools, when he states that “any appeals go to Chris Christie’s chosen officer,” but that is both false and disrespectful the Superintendent who has won plaudits for his outstanding leadership of the city’s schools.

LAW RHETORIC: “Christie, a Norcross ally, does not believe in tenure and rubber stamps all tenure challenges.”

FACT: The Governor does not review, much less “rubber stamp[ ] all tenure challenges.”

 

It is good that people like Alex Law are focused on Camden’s schools, but it would be better if he was telling the truth about them and his family’s efforts to defeat the teacher’s union.