The state of New Jersey recently moved to reject the requests from Newark’s largest charter school networks for enrollment expansions. In decision letters obtained by Chalkbeat Newark, Education Commissioner Angelica Allen-McMillan is documented saying that KIPP, Great Oaks Legacy, North Star Academy, and Robert Treat Academy charter networks can maintain operations but cannot add additional seats. This development potentially signals a reversal in attitudes among state officials, who in the past have been agreeable to expansion plans proposed by Newark’s most successful charters.
Tensions have been mounting for some time between charter school supporters and traditional public school advocates in a city long heralded for its efforts in expanding public school choice. As in many other districts, those opposing charter expansion argue that charters stand as a threat to traditional schooling, fearing a diversion of funds and students away from traditional classrooms. Critics assert that the success of charters has largely been the result of “cream skimming,” which simultaneously hinders the performance of traditional public schools while exacerbating racial and income segregation within a school district.
Brandon McCoy is the project manager of education policy at the Manhattan Institute.
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