NJEA President Wendell Steinhauer issued this statement today, ahead of a State Board of Education meeting where the agenda includes discussion of relaxed charter school regulations being pushed by Gov. Christie on behalf of the charter school lobby:

“The State Board of Education should refuse to move forward with new charter school regulations being sought by the Christie administration. Those proposed regulations, which Gov. Christie began pushing after meeting with the charter lobby, are deeply flawed. The board should carefully scrutinize them and refuse to consider any changes that lower standards for New Jersey’s charter schools. The State Board’s obligation is to New Jersey’s students, not to charter school operators who are lobbying for less accountability to the taxpayers who fund their schools. Given the number of charter schools that have had their charters revoked or have closed for other reasons in recent years, the State Board should be looking for ways to enhance accountability and oversight. It should not approve harmful changes to satisfy a lame-duck governor looking to score political points with the charter lobby on his way out the door.

“New Jersey taxpayers should be outraged that Gov. Christie is working with the charter lobby in an effort to gut the regulations that make them accountable to the people whose school tax dollars fund their schools. Attempted political abuses like this are why NJEA has called for a moratorium on the approval and expansion of charter schools so that the Legislature can study the impact of New Jersey’s 20-year-old charter school law and determine whether it serves and protects the interests of our students, families and communities.”

Talking Points

  • The State Board of Education today discussed the Governor’s proposed regulations, which are nothing more than a parting gift to the charter school lobby on Christie’s way out the door.
  • The Governor should withdraw his proposal to lower standards and working conditions in New Jersey’s charter schools.
  • Every public school, including public charter schools, should be held to the same high standards.  The Christie administration wants to create two sets of rules for two separate school systems–one with high standards, one with little standards.  This is wrong.
  • These proposals are designed for one purpose only–to sell out New Jersey’s public education system to corporate charter school operators in the closing year of the Christie administration to put traditional public schools at a disadvantage for years to come.
  • The Governor wants to allow charter school operators to hire whomever they like, without the same qualifications required for other public schools.  The creation of a new, lower, charter school teacher certification is an insult to the dedicated professionals that currently teach throughout New Jersey’s public schools, including charters.  The Governor must withdraw this wrongheaded approach.  Our students deserve better.

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