Controversial Charter Bill Introduced in NJ Assembly, or, The Diegnan Trigger

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My column today at WHYY’s Newsworks looks at the new  Assembly bill which intends to update NJ’s charter school laws. The bill includes a controversial element that would make charter school approval contingent on local votes. This mechanism serves as a sort of reverse “parent trigger,” bestowing authorizing power on local lobbying efforts rather than educational authorities.

(Nice irony there: the Parent Trigger movement intends to empower parents to force closings of chronically failing traditional schools, usually in favor of a charter. The Diegnan Trigger intends to empower parents to shut down charter activity in New Jersey.)


As the New Jersey State Legislature stumbles through the politically-fraught process of rewriting our 1995 charter school law, one big piece of news broke this week. NJ Spotlight reports that State Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan Jr. (D-Middlesex), Chair of the Assembly Education Committee, has formally introduced his charter school bill, A-4177.

Everyone acknowledges that N.J.’s current charter school law is badly flawed. The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, which ranks all states’ charter school legislation, places us 31st out of the 42 states with charter school laws. If timing is everything, then Assemblyman Diegnan’s bill is a winner. Except for this: he’s insisting on including an element that NJ Spotlight yesterday called a “deal breaker.”

Read the rest here.

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  • kallikak, May 25, 2013 @ 3:34 pm Reply

    Your attention is better directed towards A-3989, the next funnel cloud on the horizon.

  • Lisa, May 27, 2013 @ 6:37 am Reply

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • NJ Left Behind, May 27, 2013 @ 2:13 pm Reply

    Hi, Kallikak. What do you think is the problem with 3989?

  • kallikak, May 28, 2013 @ 1:22 pm Reply

    No problem. It just creates the potential for a parallel—and inflated—salary guide for 'master' teachers in each district.

    BTW, how many of the teachers in Lawrenceville are qualified for such treatment based upon their academic credits?

    See why the NJEA loves this bill?

  • NJ Left Behind, May 28, 2013 @ 2:05 pm Reply

    Yes, I see your point!

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