As 60,000 Students Return to Public Charters, Murphy’s Education Department Should Listen to Their Parents

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Support among voters and parents for public charter schools is high following student achievement results that proved charter schools accelerated learning during the pandemic.

The New Jersey Public Charter School Association (NJPCSA) welcomes 60,000 charter school students and the thousands of teachers and school staff who will attend and work at the 85 public charter schools across the Garden state for the 2022-2023 school year. As free public schools open to all students, public charter schools have a diverse student population across the state. Eighty-five percent of students attending charter schools are students of color, 72% of students are from low-income households and 10% are students with disabilities.

“As schools launch this academic year, we offer our best wishes for a successful school year to all public schools across New Jersey,” said Harry Lee, President and CEO of NJPCSA. “Charter schools are an important part of the public education system in New Jersey that are designed to put the needs of students first. And while we celebrate our new school year, we know that more than 20,000 children remain on charter school wait lists across the state and hundreds of families had to unexpectedly seek new schools for their children for this year due to inexplicable and some unconscionably late decisions made last school year by the New Jersey Department of Education.”

Earlier this year, NJPCSA released a poll which found that a majority of registered voters in New Jersey support public charter schools by a nearly 2:1 ratio (50% of voter respondents indicated support while 27% indicated opposition) and parents surveyed have an even higher level of support (56% parents indicated support while 24% indicated opposition). Support is even stronger among Black and Latino voters; while Trenton, Plainfield and Jersey City parents overwhelmingly support public charter schools.

In the New Jersey Start Strong Assessment, released in 2021 by the Department of Education (DOE), findings showed that 32 percent of students in New Jersey’s five largest charter cities- Newark, Trenton, Camden, Jersey City, and Paterson- are more likely to approach or meet grade level standards in English language arts (ELA) and 55 percent more likely in mathematics compared to traditional district peers. According to the Start Strong data, it is undeniable that public charter schools accelerated student learning for low-income students of color during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Start Strong results are yet another data point that demonstrates that low-income students of color are thriving in New Jersey’s public charter schools and outperforming their counterparts statewide.

“Given the combination of charter school student achievement results and the strong voter and parent support for public charter schools across the state, we hope that the Murphy Administration’s decisions that impact charter schools will better reflect the needs of students and families and the undeniable support of voters,” continued Lee.

For more information on charter schools, visit www.njcharters.org

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