Newark officials may welcome charters into district

Jan 4, 2014 by

NEWARK, N.J. – Charter schools may be facing an existential threat in New York City now that teacher-union champion Bill de Blasio has been sworn in as mayor, but the alternative public schools are thriving in the nearby Newark School District.

The troubled Newark district is becoming so pro-charter – largely because families are demanding them – that schools Superintendent Cami Anderson is proposing a plan that would allow charters to operate out of district-owned buildings, NJ.com reports.

 

The New York Post reports that roughly one out of every four Newark students attends a charter school, with another 10,000 on a waiting list. The desire for more charter schools is obviously strong, and Anderson says her plan is just about making sure supply aligns with demand.

 

“Let’s play to the strengths we have,” Anderson said recently.

 

Ironically, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg helped pioneer the space-sharing practice as a way of helping charters to exist in that city’s pricey real estate market. The newly installed Mayor de Blasio, however, has made it clear he will phase the practice out on the grounds that it’s “unfair” to government-run schools.

 

The Newark Teachers Union is completely opposed to Anderson’s plan.

 

NTU President Joe Del Grosso told NJ.com, “We don’t have a superintendent for the traditional schools. The charter schools have a superintendent.”

 

Del Grosso also worried that once charters occupy the buildings, the district “will never get them back.”

 

That shouldn’t be too big a concern for taxpayers, considering that charters are public schools that are accessible (space permitting) to all Newark students.

 

But the unionists are more interested in being angry than in thinking logically. Last month, NTU members and supporters expressed their displeasure with the plan by heckling Anderson during a district meeting.

 

More protests were expected today.

 

A recent New York Post editorial praised Anderson’s plan, but offered a note of caution:

 

“We’ll be honest: We have doubts about some of the conditions the Newark charters have to accept under Anderson’s deal – primarily, ceding control over admissions to the city. In addition, not all charters are excellent; some need to improve.

 

“But it sure is interesting that just across the Hudson (River), a big-city schools superintendent and thousands of desperate parents recognize that any hope for improvement begins with healthy, thriving charters.”

Unlike New York, Newark officials may welcome charters into district buildings – EAGnews.org powered by Education Action Group Foundation, Inc..

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