Daily Archives: September 3, 2009

Corzine wants to streamline creation of new charter schools

Keeping in the spirit of “back to school”, the following article published yesterday at the New Jersey Newsroom.

The number of charter schools in the state and the students that participate in the has seen significant growth 2006 and the Governor announced that As a result, he is recommending to the state Board of Education that a new process be adopted to expedite charter approvals. He said an expedited process would cut the approval process time from 18 months to about 11 months, allowing more charter schools to open within a shorter time frame:

Gov. Jon Corzine Wednesday announced significant growth in both the number of New Jersey charter schools and the number of students.

Since 2006, the number of charter schools has increased by 34 percent while student enrollment rose almost 55 percent, the governor said in Paterson.

As a result, Corzine said he is recommending to the state Board of Education that a new process be adopted to expedite charter approvals. He said an expedited process would cut the approval process time from 18 months to about 11 months, allowing more charter schools to open within a shorter time frame.

“Community Charter School in Paterson mirrors the growth that is occurring at charter school throughout the state,” Corzine said during a visit to the school. “I am proud of the work that is occurring at charter schools in New Jersey, as well as the work ongoing in many of our traditional public schools. Both our traditional public schools and our charter schools are preparing our students with the skills they will need to compete in the ever-evolving global economy and to secure a brighter economic future.”

Corzine’s action comes as a rival for the governor’s post, Republican Chris Christie campaigns that he would allow for the opening of more charter schools and provide parents a choice on where to have their children educated.

Currently, there are 68 charter schools operating in the state. Six of these will open for the first time this month. Approximately 14,496 students attended charter schools in 2006. That number is projected to increase to more than 22,000 by October.

The Community Charter School opened last September. It was founded by the New Jersey Community Development Corporation and provides education for 350 kindergarten through third grade students. This year, the school has expanded to fourth grade and will serve 450 students.

“New Jersey is fortunate to have a number of charter schools that have been providing high-quality educational programs to children for nearly a decade,” state Education Commissioner Lucille E. Davy said. “New Jersey should welcome people with a track record of success who want to open additional charter schools by providing an early decision process. The proposed application procedures will recognize the effective work of proven charter school operators but still give additional time to applicants who are new to the process.”

Charter schools are public schools operated by a charter granted by the Department of Education. A charter school is open to all students on a space-available basis with preference being given to students who live nearby. All classroom teachers and professional support staff must hold appropriate state certification.


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Filed under charter schools, Gov. Jon Corzine, new Jersey department of education, New Jersey Newsroom

Gov. Corzine: Children only get one shot at being a child — one chance at a quality education

As my two boys get ready to for their first day of school today, I thought that the following piece written by Gov. Corzine would be of interest to some of you.

This commentary appeared at the NewJerseyNews Room:

Next to fixing the economy, nothing has been more important to me during my four years in office than educating our children. As we faced a global recession in a year of declining revenues, our funding for education increased because I believe we have an obligation to provide adequate funding for public education.

The reason is simple. Children only get one shot at being a child — one chance at a quality education.

An investment in education is an investment in the economic well-being of New Jersey. Companies come to New Jersey or remain in the state if there is a well-educated workforce that can meet the company’s needs. For years, this state has had a reputation for having such a workforce. By spending wisely on education, that tradition will continue.

That is why I have refused to cut state aid to education. Across the board, communities in this state saw their state education aid go up or remain level this year — a remarkable accomplishment given the economic downturn the state faced.

Since I became Governor, state aid to education has gone up $1.8 billion including federal funds. From preschoolers to college students, we have worked to protect children and to ensure we are continuing to deliver a world class education.

Let’s talk about preschool. Chris Christie has called it government sponsored “babysitting.” His statements suggest he has not paid attention to the research. The evidence shows that disadvantage kids often arrive at school two or three years behind their peers because they have not been exposed to the kind of early learning experiences that enrich a child’s life and prepare him or her for kindergarten. We are seeking to reverse that trend by providing preschool to all at-risk students and by expanding full day kindergarten. When school starts this September, more than 51,000 children will be enrolled in preschool statewide. No other state in the nation has invested more in preschool than we have here in New Jersey.

Five years into this effort, it is clear we are laying a foundation that will give these children a chance to excel as they continue in school. Just this year, a new study on the effects of preschool found that children who attended high-quality preschool programs outperformed their peers in first and second grades. In short, our efforts are paying off.

In the world in which we live today, we cannot wait until children are 5 years old to begin to expose them to learning. If we are going to compete in the global economy, children have to start early. So even though we faced tremendous stress on our budget, I was committed to funding preschool in communities where it has already started. In fact, we increased funding for preschool by almost $50 million, largely in the former Abbott districts. And, we are now spending nearly $600 million on preschool in New Jersey.

We are able to achieve some of this because of support from the federal government. Like Governor Sarah Palin and other Republicans, Chris Christie would have turned down billions in federal educational funds. That’s just plain irresponsible.


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Filed under Abbot school districts, Chris Christie, first day of school, Gov. Jon Corzine, New Jersey Newsroom, o, Pre-school, public education