Do Charter Schools Have a Place in Suburban N.J. School Districts?

Marion Herbert's picture
Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Earlier this month, the New Jersey 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.

It is 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.”

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