New Jersey Denies Bids for Two Mandarin Schools

Courtney Williams's picture
Monday, October 3, 2011

Two proposed Mandarin language immersion charter schools that have drawn fierce opposition from school officials and parents in Millburn, Livingston and nearby areas failed to win approval Friday from the New Jersey Education Department.

In a statement, Christopher D. Cerf, the state’s acting education commissioner, announced that four elementary charters had been approved for September 2012, out of 58 applications. The four are: Beloved Community Charter School in Jersey City, Knowledge A to Z Charter School in Camden, Trenton Scholars Charter School in Trenton, and Regis Academy Charter School in Camden County.

Twenty-three other charters were approved in January.

The Mandarin schools, Hua Mei and Hanyu International, would have enrolled students from high-performing suburban districts at a time when most of the state’s charters are concentrated in urban areas. Supporters said they would offer parents another choice, but critics painted them as “boutique charters” that would siphon educational resources into unnecessarily specialized programs.

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