Public Votes on Charter Schools?

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The Star-Ledger Editorial Board points to weaknesses in Assembly Bill 3852, which “[r]equires voter approval at the annual school election or by the board of school estimate prior to designation as charter school district of residence or expansion of a charter school.” In other words (and check out earlier discussion here) the bill would require a community referendum on whether or not a charter school is allowed in the neighborhood. Queries the Ledger Editorial Board, “Why would districts that hold a monopoly want to invite competitors?”

Good question. And more to the point,

But the referendum would make a political campaign out of every new charter application. The state Department of Education is in charge of opening and closing charter schools, and we don’t vote on anything else the DOE does, such as the creation of magnet schools.

This bill would give parents or members of the politically entrenched teachers union who resent popular charter schools the ability to simply vote them down. That would take school choice away from parents in cities and in suburbs.

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2 Comments

  • kallikak, June 30, 2011 @ 12:35 pm Reply

    The S-L editorial board also rails against “stifling choice and innovation”.

    Funny that when “innovation”–i.e.,the Internet–threatens to eliminate the state mandate for legal notices in print (a modest, but crucial revenue stream for all newspapers), the S-L has no problem lobbying against such change.

    Physician, heal thyself.

  • Trish, June 30, 2011 @ 1:16 pm Reply

    If charter schools are so great,why are you worried about a vote? Parents will not vote against a better education for their children. If the teachers' unions were SO all powerful, that pen-ben legislations would not have happened. Let's get real for a second. Two types of people vote on school elections: parents, and the people who don't want their property taxes raised. If the charter school is offering a great alternative, it will win the vote pure and simple. If it's not, it doesn't deserve to be there sucking up tax dollars.

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