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Assemblywoman Pushes for More Cooperation, Oversight to Assure Responsible Growth of Charters

Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (D- Essex) expressed concern on Wednesday over the 42 applicants seeking approval from the Department of Education (DOE) to open charter schools. Just three weeks ago, the DOE approved four of the 55 charter schools that applied.

Jasey, a leading education advocate in the New Jersey Legislature, believes this emerging pattern underscores the need for several measures she has sponsored that would address the disconnect that currently exists between traditional public schools and public charter schools in New Jersey.

“Charter schools have an important role to play in the education of our state’s children, but more clarification and accountability are necessary,” said Jasey. Safeguards need to be implemented to insure the lottery for admission is fair, that a school’s student make-up reflects the demographics of the community and that objective data is readily available to track continued enrollment of students throughout the school year.

“It is absolutely imperative that the application process be rigorous and that we review what charters are accomplishing in comparison to traditional public schools. We need to support effective charter schools, close those that are failing and promote collaboration between charters and traditional publics,” added Jasey.

Jasey disputes the DOE’s assertion that it has the capacity to provide proper oversight of charter schools, and for that reason sponsored an Assembly-approved bill allowing up to three public universities to serve as authorizers.

Jasey is also a prime sponsor of legislation requiring local voter approval of new charter schools. The measure has passed the Assembly and is awaiting consideration in the Senate.