Quote of the DayNovember 17, 2009
Keansburg UpdateNovember 18, 2009
Here’s (out-going) Commissioner of Education Lucille Davy defending N.J.’s record of expanding charter schools at the recent NJEA Convention:
We have supported charter schools that succeed. We want to replicate those that work. We like the idea of choice for parents, but we also have to continue to work on district change.
It’s an odd linkage: school choice, in this case charter school expansion, as a deterrent to “district change.” Davy suggests that the DOE is forced to choose between expending its energies on promoting charters (she complains in the same venue that the DOE has been “unjustly criticized” for N.J.’s molasses-like charter school growth) or on improving traditional public schools. Shouldn’t the DOE, 900 staff members strong, be able to do both at the same time? In fact, isn’t expanding charters, especially in poor urban communities with chronically failing schools, part of “district change?”
Either the DOE is understaffed, poorly managed, or only marginally committed to charter school expansion. Pick your poison.
A report this past July from the Hall Institute of Public Policy singled out three reasons why charter school expansion in N.J. is so sluggish. Here’s one of them:
New Jersey is the only state to invest in one person, the commissioner of education, the responsibility of authorization. As most other states charge single or multiple boards with that responsibility, the effects of New Jersey’s unique charter policy and that of other states are not comparable in studies such as the foregoing.
Sounds like Davy just confirmed that our authorization process for charter schools undermines meaningful progress.