Ryan Hill of KIPP New Jersey on Ferguson and Eric GarnerDecember 5, 2014
Philly School Advocacy Partners on Schools that Work and Those that Don’tDecember 5, 2014
There are two new reports out this week on charter schools. The first is from the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, which rates each state’s authorization policies compared to best practices. The second is from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, which examines enrollment share in school districts with more than 10,000 students.
NACSA has poor regard for New Jersey’s charter authorizing policy: we allot sole authorization power to the Commissioner of Education and, as every legislator knows (or should), best practices allow more than one authorizer. The Statehouse has several charter school proposals in the pipeline and each would grant authorizing power to some combination of commissions, school boards, and/or universities, as well as the Commissioner. Legislative leaders know what to do but, as of yet, they’ve demonstrated neither the will nor the political capital to address this flaw in our twenty-year-old charter school law. It’s time.
The second study from NAPCS – limited in application to N.J. because we have so few districts with more than 10,000 students – puts Camden at #10 on its list of “school districts with at least 10% enrollment share, 2013-2014.” In Camden, public charters currently educate 27% of Camden’s students, or 4,251 students. Traditional public schools enroll 11,660, for a total public school enrollment of 15,911. Newark Public Schools comes in at #15; charter schools there educate 22% of public school students. Trenton is #25, along with 16 other school non-Jersey districts with a charter school share of 12%. Newark is also included in a list of “top 50 districts by the number of charter school students,” coming in at #30 with 10,027 charter school students among its total public school enrollment of 45,003.