Monday, July 16, 2012
Proposed online charter schools could lead to legal action, NJEA says
The relationship between the New Jersey Education Association and charter schools has been a checkered one. In the early 1990s, the powerful teachers union fought against the state’s charter school law before ultimately signing on. Since then, it has openly said it supports charters -- and has organized unions in a dozen of them -- while raising protests about some aspects of the alternative schools. Now, the union is again mixing it up, as the Christie administration is about to announce the latest round of final charters for schools opening this fall, including possibly New Jersey’s first all-online schools. Last week, the union led a group of eight prominent education organizations in urging acting Education Commissioner Chris Cerf to …
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
On NJ Spotlight: As many as two dozen new charter schools may be opening in the fall, including the state’s first online schools called "virtual charter schools."
With the Christie administration last week blocking one controversial charter school from opening, New Jersey’s charters are once again in the spotlight. Adding to that high-wattage scrutiny is the suggestion that the state this summer will expand the size and scope of the charter movement. In a late Friday release, the state Department of Education announced it would not allow the Regis Academy Charter School to open this fall in Cherry Hill. It cited a lack of viable facilities, as well as questions about the veracity of the school's application. It was a significant decision, quieting for now what is the latest argument about charters moving into suburban communities. The Cherry Hill school district had appealed the approval on …
Saturday, April 14, 2012
In highly watched case, Cerf sides with school districts battling boutique charter
Monday, April 9, 2012
Despite questions over funding, enrollments pour in for K-10 virtual classrooms.
New Jersey’s first comprehensive charter school to hold all of its classes online is beginning to enroll students from across the state for next fall, even as questions persist to how exactly the new breed of schools will operate and be funded. The New Jersey Virtual Academy Charter School (NJVACS), operating under contract with the for-profit online education company, K12 Inc., has begun advertising its New Jersey program through traditional press releases, email blasts and informational events. After just a week of accepting names, it had enrolled more than 300 students, said school officials, who did not rule out that demand could outnumber seats and a lottery may be needed. The school seeks to enroll 850 for its first year, …
Thursday, March 22, 2012
The Assembly passes a bill requiring local approval for charters, but the measure goes nowhere in the Senate.
Friday, February 3, 2012
Bill calls for local referendum on any school that wants to be granted a charter in a NJ district.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
As Christie administration decides on new charters, debate continues about how to fix 15-year-old law.
The Christie administration is preparing to announce a new round of charter schools this week, but a big question remains. What is the state going to do about a charter law that even supporters are calling one of the nation's weakest? The latest criticism came from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, which in its annual report released yesterday placed New Jersey's law 31st out of 42nd overall. It cited the lack of strong accountability measures tied to performance, weak funding, and limited approval and review process. Charter supporters and critics alike agree that the current law, not to mention the state's capacity to enforce it, has grown increasingly inadequate. Among the variety of bills to strengthen it is one that …
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Sen. Gill: Community representatives and traditional school educators conspicuously absent.
Editor's Note: New Jersey's charter school office is in the process of reviewing 42 new applications, among them Hua Mei, a Mandarin immersion charter school in South Orange/Maplewood, which was denied in the last round of applications when it included Millburn and Livingston. Also under review is Quest Academy Charter High School in Montclair, which is trying for approval for the fifth time. An examination of the Open Public Records Act shows who is reviewing the applications. Here is an excerpt from John Mooney's story in the NJ Spotlight: Over the past year, the Christie administration employed an array of national and state charter school experts, educators, officials, and other advocates to help review applications for new charters, …
Friday, November 11, 2011
Teaneck's oversize bill for a proposed charter points out problems and loopholes in current law.
With two virtual charter schools approved in New Jersey and a third proposed, legislators and advocates are pressing the state to bring its laws up to date with the technology. The latest development involves questions as to how the schools are to be funded -- and by how much, given the potential savings in brick-and-mortar costs. The district of Teaneck would like to see both questions resolved ASAP. It received notice from the state this week that it should set aside more than $15 million to pay for up to 1,000 students who would attend the proposed Garden State Virtual Charter School housed in that community. If the school is ultimately approved, the district would likely never have to pay anywhere near that much, since the school aims …
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Parochial school conversion measure passes, although reception remains in doubt.