Poll: Do Charter Schools Have a Place in Suburban School Districts?
Cast your vote and share your thoughts below.
Earlier this month, the state Department of Education rejected a large number of charter schools proposed for successful suburban school districts, approving only four of 55 applications statewide. However, in 2011 there have been 27 charter school approvals, the largest number approved in any one year since the charter law was passed in New Jersey, according to the state Department of Education.
“Charter schools serve a critical need in New Jersey not only by providing high-quality options for students where they otherwise do not exist, but also by serving as laboratories of innovation,” acting Department of Education Commissioner Chris Cerf said.
Gov. Chris Christie has called on legislators to pass reforms to the New Jersey charter law in order to strengthen and expand high-quality charter schools in New Jersey. Included in the reforms would be a measure allowing districts to convert failing public schools into charters.
Charter schools proposed in several wealthy suburban districts came under fire because they sought to open in high-performing school districts. Christie and Cerf have at various times conceded that charter schools may not be needed in districts that are “humming along.”
In South Brunswick, the debate over a proposed Mandarin-immersion charter school appoved by the DOE in 2010 continues to rage on as arguments over the merits of a zoning application has led many to question why a district like South Brunswick needs an alternative to the public school system.
Proponents of the charter school movement have said charters provide parents with increased choices that will better prepare their children to close the global achievement gap between American students and the rest of the world.
But ongoing recession fears and tight public resources have left everyone struggling for money, as opposition to charters have stated that the schools siphon off much need resources for public school districts during a tough economic climate. School districts generally pay charters 90 percent of the district’s per-pupil costs.
With the next hearing for the Princeton International Academy Charter School (PIACS) scheduled for November, we want to hear your opinion. Do you think charter schools have a place in suburban districts that are performing well, or do you think charters better serve students in failing urban school districts?