Nelson Smith, President and CEO of D.C.’s National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, reviews N.J.’s progress on charter school expansion in the Star Ledger.
1) President Obama’s education platform and Chris Christie’s election (yes, folks, education reform is a post-partisan movement).
2) No official cap on charter schools (only a political one)
3) The DOE’s “reasonably rigorous process for approving new charters while adding greater numbers of new schools in recent years” (He’s being kind.)
4) The School Funding Reform Act, which establishes a “more level playing field.”
1) Lack of equitable funding (“In a state that has spent decades trying to rectify school funding disparities, it is unconscionable that a public charter school should receive only 75 cents for every dollar that goes to a district school to educate the same student.”)
2) Lack of facilities support (Smith recommends that charters should get the same aid from the School Development Authority as do traditional public school, and charters should get first dibs on extra space in vacant classrooms in other districts.)
3) We only have one authorizer for new charters – the DOE. We should follow the lead of other states and allow universities and single-purpose state boards to authorize charters. Think of it: Rutgers University Charter School, Middlesex Community College Charter School, Seton Hall Charter School. Why not?