This morning, according to a press release from JerseyCAN and the New Jersey Charter Schools Association, 150 parents charter school parents and supporters from across the state will gather at the NJ State House for the first ever ‘Parent Lobby Day.”
These parents, who live in Newark, Camden, Trenton, Jersey City, Plainfield, and Atlantic City, will “speak with state legislators to underscore the value of their charter schools and the positive impact charter schools have on their children and communities.” They will also express their concerns about threats to charter school expansion in New Jersey, including the prospects of a three-year charter moratorium bill, S 2887, sponsored by Sen. Shirley Turner (D-Mercer), who counts among her constituents those charter school parents and advocates from Trenton. Last year Trenton charter school students, almost exclusively minority and poor, outscored district students by 24 points in math and 19 points in language arts.
“To see the charter community uniting to have an open and respectful dialogue with legislators is extraordinary,” said Nicole D. Cole, Esq., President & CEO of the New Jersey Charter Schools Association (NJCSA). “We stand behind our parents advocating for themselves, their children, and the right to select what is in the best interest for their child’s education. Our charter schools have a history of success and accountability. Parents are highlighting that success and demonstrating why charter schools are an integral part of the fabric of public school education.”
“The parents and advocates who will gather at the State House on Monday, stated Janellen Duffy, Executive Director of JerseyCAN. “are the people directly impacted by any potential changes in charter policy including a charter moratorium, and their voices and experiences must be considered. They have taken the time out of their hectic schedules to come to Trenton and attest to the fact that charter schools have changed the lives of their children for the better, and that is a powerful message that cannot be ignored.
Shelley Skinner, Executive Director of the Better Education Institute (B4K), noted, “Over 100 parents and six advocacy organizations are uniting to protect access to high quality education offered by charter schools. This collaboration is unprecedented and speaks to the fact that charter schools are truly having a positive impact across the entire State of New Jersey.”
Currently, 40,000 children, or 2.1% of total public school enrollment in New Jersey, attend charter schools. Another 20,000 children sit on waiting lists.