“We Can Do Better New Jersey” is a shadow organization that promotes school vouchers. Its web site gives no information about who funds it, nor does it list any of its principals. It refers to its founders as “various educational and philanthropic groups and individuals.”
There’s little doubt that the dollars behind this group come from those for-profit businesses that will benefit from the passage of the Opportunity Scholarship Act and the funneling of taxpayer money to their coffers.
Like many advocacy groups, “We Can Do Better New Jersey” also has a Facebook page. It appears to be run by one Dominic Pepper. But it is clear that he is not interested in any debate on vouchers based on factual discussions.
Recently, I posted my opinion on WCDBNJ’s Facebook page (see below). Within minutes, my post was removed and I was permanently banned from the group. Several other pro-education advocates posted similar messages and were also banned within minutes.
I have to say that Mr. Pepper is very efficient. My posts on Governor Christie’s page (also fact-based and not disparaging) usually stay there for several hours before they are removed, and (so far), I’ve not been banned from the Governor’s taxpayer-funded on-line presence.
And while I’ve been banned from his Facebook page, Mr. Pepper is welcome to post on mine (and has).
WCDBNJ has every right to run its Facebook page as it pleases. But the fact that the organization is not interested in civil discourse about vouchers is troubling. Perhaps it is worried that those pesky facts will get in the way.
When asked about the impact on those school districts which must send voucher money out of their systems, Mr. Pepper cited a report from the Office of Legislative Services stating that the OSA would not impact the districts financially. My request to Mr. Pepper for a copy of the OLS report went unanswered, but other pro-education advocates posted a link on my Facebook page that showed Mr. Pepper’s assertion to be absolutely false.
It’s a shame that Mr. Pepper and his organization are afraid to debate the issue. I am sending a link to this post to Mr. Pepper, and challenge him to refute the facts about charter schools and vouchers that were meticulously researched and documented by Jersey Jazzman here. If there’s no response, I will assume that Mr. Pepper simply cannot debunk the myths that organizations like his are promulgating.
Debates are based on factual arguments. Mr. Pepper is afraid to engage in debate simply because facts are not on his side. New Jersey should follow the lead of Pennsylvania and we should maintain and improve our public education by rejecting OSA and vouchers. And Mr. Pepper should not ban pro-education advocates from the discussion.