NJ Charter Schools - A Fool's Gold Rush: Franklin
Here are all the parts of this series so far:
I was in Franklin, NJ a few weeks ago for a panel on charter school expansion. The town already has two charters, and a third is in the works (founded by, of all people, a winner on The Apprentice). One of the schools currently open, Central Jersey College Prep Charter School, has been granted a huge expansion by the NJDOE. This expansion is part of what appears to be a rush to swell charter enrollments across the state before Chris Christie leaves office next year.
What's so discouraging about the Franklin charter expansion is that the community has been split apart. The charter families feel they have been served well by their schools, and want to see them grow. The families of public district school students, on the other hand, rightly worry that the charters are harming their district's finances.
This tension is being played out across the state and across the nation: charter families' demand for "choice" inherently conflicts with public district school families' demand for adequately funded schools. There are also the interests of other taxpayers, who want efficient schools and worry that charters, because they are redundant andusually inefficiently small, waste funds that could be used to either expand programs or reduce taxes.
The conflict is so great that citizens in towns like Franklin are now bringing civil rights complaints against charters, alleging the charters enroll a fundamentally different student Jersey Jazzman: NJ Charter Schools - A Fool's Gold Rush: Franklin: