A DATA-DRIVEN opinion piece written by a Temple University law professor led a prominent charter-school leader to fight back on Twitter yesterday, claiming the professor shoots at unarmed boys.
Twitterverse was not pleased.
"What does Temple law professor Susan DeJarnatt and Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson have in common? They both shoot at unarmed boys," David P. Hardy wrote in a tweet sent out at 5:07 a.m. yesterday.
Hardy is the chief executive officer of Boys' Latin of Philadelphia Charter School and a spokesman for PhillySchoolChoice.com, a new group that advocates for charter and parochial schools.
DeJarnatt, a professor at Temple's Beasley School of Law, wrote in the Philadelphia Public School Notebook about the use of state ratings in charters and traditional schools.
DeJarnatt - who has never shot at unarmed boys - said she thought the tweet "was pretty insulting."
"Mr. Hardy compared me to what many people would consider a racist murderer," DeJarnatt said.
Hardy stuck to his comments when the Daily News contacted him yesterday. "If it was a school full of white boys, she would have never said that," he said. Boys' Latin is 98 percent African-American. "This is an insult to all the boys who go there."
Hardy also criticized DeJarnatt for using School Performance Profile (SPP) scores in her piece, adding that the state system "has a credibility problem."
"For her to take that and use it shows she doesn't understand what she's evaluating," Hardy said.
Twitter users took to the keyboards to defend DeJarnatt.
"I'm still trying to understand your metaphor. Reasoned argument & evidence are equated w/police brutality and murder? #PHLed," tweeted parent advocate Rebecca Poyourow.
Rhonda Brownstein, executive director of the Education Law Center, tweeted: "Comparing the murder of an unarmed man to a critique of standardized test scores? Is this how you teach children at Boys Latin?"
Twitter user Peg Devine simply wrote: "Shame on you."
In her commentary, DeJarnatt responded to a Nov. 23 essay in the Inquirer by education-reform advocate Janine Yass, who claimed that the district spent $140 million on schools that scored below 40 on the state's recent SPP but didn't acknowledge charter schools with similar low scores. A 70 rating is considered acceptable on the scale.
In her article, DeJarnatt wrote that Yass selectively used low SPP scores to point out that district schools are "not working," yet failed to say that some charters also got similarly low scores. She specifically cited Boys' Latin, which got a 46.3 SPP rating.
"I had no intention of attacking his students" in the essay, she said. "I'm sure they have great kids - just like I am sure there are great kids in all schools."
By yesterday afternoon, Hardy had left her a message and sounded "reasonable," DeJarnatt said. He invited her to visit Boys' Latin, but didn't mention the tweet, she said.