NJEA supports excellent charters, but not vouchers for private schools

Published on Thursday, September 30, 2010

NJEA President Barbara Keshishian issued the following statement in response to Gov. Christie’s proposals on charter schools and vouchers:

“NJEA believes there is an important role for high-quality public charter schools to play in the overall effort to provide a great public school for every child.

“Not all charter schools are successful, of course.  A Stanford University study of 2,400 charters nationwide found that fewer than one-fifth of them outperformed public schools, while nearly two-fifths of them performed at a lower level than their public counterparts.

“And, a study by a Rutgers professor found that New Jersey’s charter schools perform far below the average public school, and only as well as the public schools in the districts in which they are located.

“Clearly, there are excellent charter schools – like the Robert Treat Academy in Newark – and excellent public schools.  Charter schools were meant to be laboratories of innovation – not a replacement for all public schools.  If we’re really smart, we’ll identify excellent schools of all types and replicate their successes wherever we can.

“As for vouchers, we do not believe that public funds should be used for private and religious schools, and neither do a majority of New Jersey residents.

“At a time when we are cutting more than a billion dollars from state school spending while demanding ever-more accountability from the public schools, the last thing we should be doing is spending 360 million dollars on unaccountable private and religious schools.”

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