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PolitickerNJ describes Senator Ronald Rice’s (D-Newark) temper tantrum at the Statehouse during a presentation by the State Department of Education on charter school application processes:
“We start giving out applications for charters like they’re water,” said Rice, sitting on a subcommittee of the Joint Committee on the Public Schools. “Let’s slow this thing down. Even today when I move around urban communities people tell me ‘I’m going to open up a charter school.’ And they don’t have ten cents in their pocket. I say, ‘You are?’”
What the heck is he talking about? According to statistics presented during the meeting, there are 89 charter schools in the state, a tiny fraction of N.J.’s 2,505 public schools. Charter schools currently serve 49,000 children, a rounding error on the total public school enrollment of 1.37 million. The state has substantially slowed down the approval process over the years, despite the fact that 20,000 children sit on charter school waiting lists, 10,000 alone in Newark, Rice’s district.