Monday, January 7, 2013

Paging Applicants for Trenton Charter Schools

The Star-Ledger Editorial Board has a sharply-edged rebuke to the Christie Administration’s failure to rebuild crumbling schools in cities like Trenton. This scolding was triggered by a court ruling that the DOE is denying requests for urgent and necessary repairs. Says the Ledger,
State Education Commissioner Chris Cerf should accept this ruling and act upon it at once. Because when dilapidated schools such as Trenton Central High are literally falling down around these kids and their teachers, how can we fault them for failing?
I’m not sure about the Ledger’s logic (fairly new school buildings in Trenton are also failing), but the editorial dovetails nicely with another news story today, NJ Spotlight’s acquisition, via an OPRA request, of KIPP Norcross Academy’s first formal application to build and run several charter schools in Camden under the auspices of the Urban Hope Act.

There are three school districts in New Jersey that are included in the Urban Hope Act: Camden, Newark, and Trenton. Is the Christie Administration waiting for some applicants to step unto the breach in Trenton

Anyway, the KIPP application (too bad it had to be OPRA’d) is worth reading. Here’s its section on special education, which combats common wisdom that charter schools don’t serve kids with disabilities:
At TEAM school, serving the kids who most need a strong school environment means going to extraordinary lengths to ensure we are serving the same students that any public  school serves – from students with special needs, to students with challenging home lives, to students who are years below grade level. Our dedication to this effort can be seen in everything we do: from our admission process, to our special education services, to not forcing or counseling bad kids out, to our teachers’ unfaltering resolve to make sure every child is on track for success in life, even if they enter years behind…
TEAM not only targets and recruits students with special needs directly, but our campuses have never turned away a student with special needs.

2 comments:

kallikak said...

NJSpotlight notes that per-pupil funding from all sources for the first 100 Kindergarteners will amount to $20K. Given the likely modest administrative burden for a one-grade school, this is a ridiculous sum.

As with everything else in the school "reform" movement, it's all about the money.

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