A-3105

“Moratorium on virtual charter schools”

NJEA supports A-3105 (Diegnan, Johnson, Greenwald, Vainieri Huttle, Conaway). This legislation establishes 12-month moratorium on establishment of new virtual charter schools and creates Virtual Charter School Task force.

NJEA supported the original charter school law because the law mandated accountable, public, not-for-profit, brick-and-mortar charter schools as one part of New Jersey’s public education system.  However, virtual charter schools are a different concept.  These schools bring a host of problems never contemplated by the Legislature back in 1995 charter school law.

Academic research paints a poor picture of virtual charter schools.  Before moving forward with virtual charter schools New Jersey must carefully consider their record of academic performance, financial impact and stability, level of accountability, and educational soundness.  These important issues are not addressed in the current charter school law and must be carefully examined before deciding whether virtual charter schools would be beneficial to New Jersey’s public education system and its students.

Whether virtual schools should be created in New Jersey—and the specific requirements for such schools—are significant issues to be addressed by the Legislature in the first instance.  Without the Legislature’s final determination of these issues through statute, there is no basis in the current charter school law to authorize any virtual charter school in New Jersey.

For these reasons, NJEA urges you to vote “YES” on A-3150.