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.