Listen Up, New Jersey: It’s Time to Respect Parent Choice and Fairly Fund Public Charter School Facilities.

This is a guest post by Harry Lee, president of the New Jersey Public Charter Schools Association, and Patricia Morgan, executive director of JerseyCAN. Every student in New Jersey deserves to go to school in a safe, secure, and healthy school building. Since the 1980’s (when the New Jersey Supreme Court established a constitutional mandate that the state provide funding to low-income school districts), the state of New Jersey has spent roughly $15 billion on …

New Jersey’s School Funding Formula Unfairly Privileges Some Not-So-Poor “Abbott” Districts.

This is a guest post by @stateaidguy who blogs at New Jersey Education Aid, where this piece was first published in slightly different form. Over the last 35 years, New Jersey’s 31 Abbott districts — which, by order of a series of State Supreme Court rulings, receive high levels of funding — have become increasingly disparate. If New Jersey’s school funding formula (SFRA) was anchored in reality, many of these districts would no longer be …

New Survey: NJ Public Charter and Renaissance Schools Need $900 Million for Critical School Construction

Today, the New Jersey Charter Schools Association (NJCSA) and JerseyCAN released a report titled, Include All Public Schools In Facilities Funding: $900 million needed to address public charter and renaissance school facilities concerns. The report included a survey that found that public charter and renaissance schools are in need of $900 million in construction, renovation, or capital improvement funds over the next decade to provide safe and secure school buildings for students.  The survey indicated …

Four Corrections to an Anti-Choice Op-Ed By the Head of the Newark NAACP.

Yesterday the Star-Ledger ran an op-ed by Deborah Smith Gregory, the president of Newark NAACP and chairperson of Alliance for Newark Public Schools, entitled, “Let’s pause the charter school experiment in Newark.”  As a public service, here are four corrections to this error-ridden attack on the public schools most popular with Black parents in Newark and across the country. Does it seem strange that the venerable and virtuous NAACP would fight against the interests of …

Education Law Center’s New Lawsuit For Abbott District Construction Is Based On A Reality That Is 40 Years Old.

This is a guest post by Jeffrey Bennett, who blogs at New Jersey Education Aid. It originally appeared in ROI. Nearly 40 years ago, in February 1981, the Education Law Center launched on behalf of poor, urban districts statewide what would become the most educationally and budgetarily consequential lawsuits in New Jersey history: Abbott v. Burke. Although former Education Commissioner Fred G. Burke is long departed, and the close identification of “poor” with “urban” has ceased to …

Education Law Center’s Footprint Shrinks as It Ignores the Needs of Charter School Students.

Ah, Education Law Center. Some things never change. The organization, largely funded by NJEA, is back in court demanding money for construction for an obsolete list of 31 “Abbott” school districts that were once impoverished. Some of them still are, like Newark and Camden and Trenton. Some of them never were, like Burlington City and Pemberton. And some were once poor but now boast multi-million dollar luxury co-ops, like Hoboken and Jersey City.  But here’s …

Paymon Rouhanifard and Cami Anderson Discuss the “Staggering Lack of Efficiency and Accountability” In the Schools Development Authority. Your Taxes at Work, Folks.

On Sunday TapintoNewark ran a piece that describes how over the last ten years “the state agency responsible for building schools in 31 former Abbott districts has spent more than $263 million to build five schools in Newark at a cost that far exceeded the limits set by the Legislature.” This agency is, of course, the scandal-ridden Schools Development Authority which is responsible for building and renovating school buildings in New Jersey’s Abbott districts. In …

This Newspaper Series Says NJ Charter Schools Are a “Flawed Experiment.” That’s Wrong — And The Series Itself Proves That.

After I read North Jersey Media Group’s (NJMG) voluminous series called “Millions of Your Tax Dollars Have Disappeared Into NJ’s Flawed Charter School Experiment,” I had two reactions. On the one hand, I was angry that the paper, with its ties to anti-charter groups, would have the chutzpah to publish a hit job on school choice without revealing its agenda. On the other hand I felt sorry for reporters Jean Rimbach and Abbott Koloff who, …

Sometimes Timing is Everything: A New Program from Walton Family Foundation Offers Help For Charter Schools

The State of New Jersey is building a new school for Trenton Central High students and staff at the cost of  $117 million because Trenton is an Abbott district and state funds cover all costs of construction and renovation. Less than one mile away on Chambers Street, the International Academy of Trenton Charter School (IAT), as I wrote last week, is on the verge of closure. One reason that the Department of Education is rescinding …