Trenton UpdateJune 7, 2012
NJ’s Dueling Tenure Reform ProposalsJune 8, 2012
About three dozen opponents to New Jersey’s proposed charter school amendments showed up at the State Board of Education meeting yesterday.( Coverage from NJ Spotlight, The Record, and Star-Ledger.) Most seemed less than enthused about an expansion of virtual charter schools, although Ed. Comm. Cerf’s amendments cover much more ground.
According to NJ Spotlight, the nay-sayers “came mostly from suburbia, communities like Princeton, Westfield, South Brunswick and Cherry Hill, where the growth of charter schools under Christie have seen their stiffest resistance.” Notably absent, apparently, were representatives from towns that actually need charter schools.
Here’s a compromise: virtual charters no doubt have their place in the fabric of a school system, especially for home-schoolers and kids with specific disabilities that render them either physically or emotionally incapable of attending a typical brick-and-mortar building.
Now, one can make a reasonable argument that kids barred from access to higher-performing neighboring districts — those not from Princeton, Westfield, South Brunswick, or Cherry Hill — could benefit from a virtual school. But perhaps the Christie Administration should make a concession and focus on NJ’s critical need of expanding school choice in other ways in persistently failing school districts. Stand firm on more salient issues, like barring laws that put charter schools on public ballots, akin to putting civil rights up for a vote. But the virtual charter idea? Maybe right now that’s a back-burner issue.