photo by ArtChick
JOHN MOONEY | JULY 18, 2017
In the eight years the governor has headed up state government, charter school enrollment has more than doubled
When Gov. Chris Christie leaves office in six months, one of his clear legacies will be the growth of charter schools in New Jersey, with school enrollment more than doubling in his eight years in office.
Yesterday, his administration finished the job, announcing the final approval of five more schools to open this fall. That brings to 89 the number of charters that will be open when Christie steps down in January.
That number isn’t that big an increase from the 70 in place in 2010 at the start of Christie’s tenure, a number that jumped to over 90 in his first year. But his administration ultimately closed nearly 20 charter schools as well.
By Salvador Rizzo • 06/14/17 10:59pm
Hours after Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto and Senate President Steve Sweeney announced a deal to revamp New Jersey’s school funding formula, the state’s largest teachers union called it a “senseless and cruel” way to punish some students.
The leaders of the New Jersey Education Association issued statements Wednesday night blasting the deal unveiled by Prieto (D-Hudson) and Sweeney (D-Gloucester), who had sparred for months over their competing school funding proposals.
By William J. Bennett
Published May 11, 2017
Students of history know that governments rarely give up power without a fight. To paraphrase Edmund Burke, those who have been intoxicated with power never willingly abandon it. Yet, last year, the federal government passed a new education law which returns a significant amount of power and decision-making authority to states, districts and schools.
The bi-partisan passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act creates a unique and exciting opportunity for improving American education. The law explicitly bars the Department of Education from dictating or influencing standards or curricula at the federal level, and states and districts have a wide range of new liberties when it comes to developing accountability systems, testing and content.
But with this newfound freedom from Washington comes a newfound responsibility for excellence at the state and district level. We cannot confuse local control with laissez faire. State and local leaders must embrace this opportunity and lift expectations, not relax them.
file photo by ArtChick
By Alyana Alfaro • 04/26/17 2:07pm
The Newark Unity Slate—a compromise ticket designed by Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, the city’s influential North Ward, and charter-school advocates—swept the city’s school board elections Tuesday night.
Of the 15 candidates on the ballot, the top vote-getter was Josephine Garcia. She brought in 3,566 votes, according to preliminary results by the Essex County Clerk’s Office.
Garcia was the North Ward candidate, aligned with Councilman Anibal Ramos. Reginald Bledsoe—Baraka’s pick— won 3,382 votes. The candidate backed by pro-charter advocates, Floshina Johnson, won 2,717 votes.
Posted on April 2, 2017 at 9:15 AM
Y STAR-LEDGER GUEST COLUMNIST
By Chris Cerf
I serve as superintendent of the Newark Public Schools and previously served as the state commissioner of education. In both capacities, I have defined my goal in precisely the same way: to do everything possible to assure that every child, regardless of birth circumstances, has access to a free, high-quality public education that launches him or her into adulthood prepared for success.
The most striking aspect of Charles Wowkanech’s opinion article in The Star-Ledger (“Charter schools threaten diversity”) is that he is indifferent to this basic and, in my view, inarguable goal. Stuck in the same ideological quagmire that has consumed so many others, his view is that public charter schools are bad and traditional public schools are inherently good. In service of that argument, he then proceeds to misstate a rather remarkable array of objectively provable facts about public education in New Jersey.
RUTHVEN HANEEF AUGUSTE | MARCH 10, 2017
Those who obstruct choice are more interested in protecting their special interests than in protecting the interests of all children to access a quality education
Ruthven Haneef Auguste
Earlier this week I was in Trenton with other public charter school parents to meet with legislators, advocate for the opportunity to choose a school that best fits the needs of our children, and commit to a year of action supporting education equality for all. Whether you’re a charter, district, or private school parent, we can all agree we want the best for our kids no matter where you choose to send them to school.
The opposition to school choice has regularly used certain words for parents in New Jersey’s worst-performing school districts when they have the audacity to choose to send their kids to public charter schools — “pawn” and “parasite” come to mind. However, in no area of life is less choice good, and it is upsetting that these adults, many who presumably have children of their own, seem determined to take away opportunity and choice from parents like me. I don’t presume to think I have enough information to form an opinion of how schools should be run in their towns and would guess things are vastly different in Newark where I work and live. We have amazing schools, terrible schools, and everything in the middle, which is why I wanted to be able to make the choice of where my children go to school.
file photo by ArtChick
Updated March 06, 2017
Posted March 06, 2017
By Kelly Heyboer | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
Calling education the “civil rights issue of our time,” President Donald Trump used his address before Congress last week to highlight one of his top issues – school choice.
Echoing a campaign promise, Trump vowed to push for students in poor school districts to be able to use public funds to attend a charter, private or religious school.
“I am calling upon members of both parties to pass an education bill that funds school choice for disadvantaged youth, including millions of African-American and Latino children,” Trump said. “These families should be free to choose the public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school that is right for them.”
Trump did not say what form his school choice program would take. But he did give a few hints of what a federal push for school choice might look like in New Jersey and around the country.
photo by ArtChick
By Adam Clark | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
on February 24, 2017 at 12:33 PM
TRENTON — Supporters of New Jersey’s charter schools are planning a major lobbying effort in the state capital next week as controversy and criticism surrounding the schools continues to mount.
A group of nearly 200 charter school supporters, mostly parents, will gather at the state house to deliver the message that charter schools are changing lives, adding value to children’s education and creating opportunities for students, according to the New Jersey Charter Schools Association.
“I wanted something better for my children and couldn’t afford to move or pay for private school,” said Haneef Auguste, whose four children attend KIPP New Jersey Schools in Newark. “No one should stand in the way of any child’s chance at a better life, especially when the circumstances in some of our communities are so dire.”
file photo Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop
Mayor Fulop addressed the Senate Select Committee on School Funding Fairness
By Alyana Alfaro • 02/22/17 4:01pm
NEWARK – Advocates of changing New Jersey’s school funding formula often cite the booming Hudson County municipality of Jersey City as a school district they feel receives outsized state funding due to old school funding policies that do not take into account the economic growth of the past few years.
Fulop said he does not feel Jersey City should be penalized for funding schools according to current regulations. Alyana Alfaro for Observer
However, according to Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, such arguments only take into account the affluent waterfront section of the city and ignore primarily minority portions of the Jersey City that are significantly less well off. On Wednesday, Fulop addressed the Senate Select Committee on School Funding Fairness with concerns about the dangers of reducing school funding.