Public Votes on Charter Schools?

The Star-Ledger Editorial Board points to weaknesses in Assembly Bill 3852, which “[r]equires voter approval at the annual school election or by the board of school estimate prior to designation as charter school district of residence or expansion of a charter school.” In other words (and check out earlier discussion here) the bill would require a community referendum on whether or not a charter school is allowed in the neighborhood. Queries the Ledger Editorial Board, “Why would districts that hold a monopoly want to invite competitors?”

Good question. And more to the point,
But the referendum would make a political campaign out of every new charter application. The state Department of Education is in charge of opening and closing charter schools, and we don’t vote on anything else the DOE does, such as the creation of magnet schools.

This bill would give parents or members of the politically entrenched teachers union who resent popular charter schools the ability to simply vote them down. That would take school choice away from parents in cities and in suburbs.

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