Diegnan/Jasey Charter Moratorium Bill Will Hurt Thousands of Needy Students

Score another one for Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan: not only does he want to undermine the state’s ability to gauge academic growth of needy students; now he’s also pushing a bill that would place a three-year moratorium on all charter schools approvals, as well as expansion of  established charter schools.

Bill A4351 is cosponsored by Diegnan and  Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (who no longer represents urban families due to redistricting) and is supported by NJEA and, I'm guessing,  Save My Schools-NJ  too. (I’m in the final throes of Passover preparation or I’d check.)

If passed by the Legislature, this reactionary bill would bar all new charter authorizations for three years. It would also disallow currently-operating charter schools from expanding and serving some of the 20,000 children across the state who bide their time on waiting lists.

Charter schools often start out serving a small cohort of students, for example, children in grades kindergarten through second grade. As those second-graders become third-graders, the school adds a grade and becomes a K-3 school. The Diegnan/Jasey bill would forbid this organic growth and strand thousands of students and their families, betraying the promise made to them by the state.

For KIPP NJ, one of the state’s highest-performing charter groups, this bill would halt the expansion of three-quarters of their elementary schools and  half of their middle school and high schools. According to KIPP’s accounting, the bill would disrupt the education of between 2,200-2,800 schoolchildren.

Here a statement from KIPP:
If this bill passes, it means for some of you that your child’s school may not be able to grow to full size.  For others, it means the next KIPP NJ school they plan to attend may not be able to open.   In one way or another, this bill would impact nearly every single one of our students.
Your Legislature at work. Or at least Diegnan and Jasey. Parents are urged to call Assemblywoman Jasey (973-762-1886) or Assemblyman Diegnan (908-757-1677) and voice their concern about the charter moratorium bill, and ask them to pull the bill. Also, families can post their concerns to Twitter or Facebook followed by #handsoffourfuture.

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