I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Ledger Logic - Part I

It's Sunday - time for some Ledger Logic:
Charter schools allow for innovation and give parents a choice. Some are failing and should be shut down. But many are succeeding wildly and drawing huge waiting lists.
Money is their biggest handicap. Charter schools end up with less because they get none of the so-called “adjustment aid” the state gives out to districts. The disparity is greatest in places like Camden, Paterson or Jersey City, where district schools get the most adjustment aid.
Somehow, this needs to be fixed. It may mean re-jiggering the school funding formula, which could be a nightmare task. The state is broke, so money for charters would likely have to be diverted from traditional schools.
Yes, let's take away even more money from the poorest schools in our state to fund unproven charter schools ("but half are above average!"). Because even though the charters are taking the easiest kids to teach and leaving the others in regular schools, and even though "adjustment aid" cuts fall disproportionally on the poorest schools, we need "innovation" more than we need well-funded neighborhood schools.

New Jersey also imposes more regulations than other states do on charter schools, which lead to senseless delays that can hurt performance. The state should ease the process for getting teachers certified or purchasing materials, and better tailor its existing regulations to charters.
If charter schools are to be held more accountable, then give them their fair share of freedom — and, above all, state funding.
So we should make charters more "accountable" by easing their oversight...

(Where's the Bloody Mary mix?)

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