Your Guide To Student Demographics in Hoboken, NJ!
According to the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (5-year estimate) for 2012, Hoboken, NJ has:
- 1,729 children between the ages of 5 and 9
- 912 between the ages of 10 and 14
- 1,742 between the ages of 15 and 19
1,706 children attend the Hoboken Public Schools (all data from here forward comes from the NJDOE).
Of those, 1,220 qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. FL requires the child's household income to be at 130% or below the poverty line; RPL is set at 185%.
Hoboken's three charter schools -- HoLa, Elysian, and Hoboken CS -- have a total student population of 775 students. Only 89 of them qualify for FRPL.
If you total all of the children who qualify for FRPL in Hoboken together and divide that number by the total population of 5- to 19-year-olds (making the most certainly incorrect assumption that all of those children are of school age, and none of the ones attending schools other than HPS or the charters would qualify for FRPL), you will find a total FRPL percentage for all of Hoboken's children of 30%.
Keeping in mind that this 30% figure is the lowest possible FRPL estimate for the city, and the true figure is unquestionably higher...
May I now point out the obvious?
The parents who are the "best and the brightest" of Hoboken (and that includes the mayor) have every right to advocate for their children's charter schools. There is a legitimate argument to be made in favor of charters in urban centers like Hoboken -- I may disagree with it (and perhaps that makes me a bit of a hypocrite), but it's a legitimate argument.
What I will not do, however, is stand by while mistruths are being flung around casually. Hola, HCS, and Elysian do not serve a student population that is demographically similar to the total school-aged population -- public, charter, and private students combined -- of the City of Hoboken.
ADDING: Apparently, the argument that Hoboken's charters "match the demographics of the city pretty closely" comes from the mistaken belief that a school's FRPL percentage can be compared to the overall poverty rate for a city. That is just not an apt comparison.
As I explained above, FRPL eligibility is not the same as being below the poverty line: FL eligibility is 130% of the poverty line, and RPL is 185%. So the FRPL population of a school is inevitably larger than its population below the poverty line. You just can't compare the two.
Further, you can't compare the poverty rates of children and adults: populations of children (and the elderly) tend to have higher poverty rates in communities like Hoboken than the overall population.
According to the ACS, Hoboken's overall poverty rate is 10.9%. But the under-18 rate is 17.9%, and the rate for 5-to-17-year-olds is 28.7%. Again: you can't compare either of those to the FRPL rate of Hoboken's charters, but even if you did, Hoboken's charters do not demographically match the population of the city's school-aged children.