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You know that students not reading at grade level in third grade are far less likely to achieve academic success — even graduate from high school. You also know that at the school your child is zoned for, Parker Elementary Schoolonly one in four students meets that bar, about average for this long-troubled district. You recently attended an exultant meeting at the Trenton YMCA with other prospective parents who, aware of the 1,student waiting list at Trenton Foundation Academy Charter School, demanded more school choice.
Trenton, new jersey
Some of the parents at that meeting wanted to enroll their children right there. And now we move from the hypothetical all based on fact, as documented in voluminous filings to reality: The Department of Education, a mere mile-and-a-half away from your downtrodden neighborhood, tossed the whole charter authorization process out the window. What happened?
Why did the DOE ignore its own scrupulous process that charter applicants view as gospel? Is it a lack of personnel, given the recent firings at the DOE? Is it dysfunction? Is it animus?
These are all open questions. But we do know this: The DOE once had a transparent and well-functioning process for authorizing new charter schools but has now rendered that process opaque, provoking mistrust, anger, and a serious loss of credibility.
First, the applications for Phase One were not released to prospective applicants on the promised date. No biggie.
Everyone made the April deadline. According to the DOE schedule, applicants would be notified no later than May 18 at p.
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But that date slipped by with no communication from DOE offices, despite repeated inquiries and efforts by applicants and the New Jersey Charter School Association. Meanwhile, the Phase Two applications were due July 16 at p.
I spoke with the founders of both schools, Paul Disdier of Capital City Charter School and Myani Lawson of the Jersey City Montessori Charter School, who described to me their efforts to adhere to established process by using old Phase Two templates and, at the end, pulling all-nighters to adapt their submissions when the new templates were finally available. They submitted their documents on time and waited to hear about the requisite interviews for Phase Two candidates, scheduled for the end of August.
Battle of trenton
Finally, through the static on September 30, on the last possible day and without the customary interviews, the DOE announced that both Phase Two applicants were summarily rejected. Maybe there were flaws in the applications. The DOE broke the process. It also broke the hopes of parents in Trenton and Jersey City desperate for public alternatives. If only those parents and their children mattered more to Gov. Murphy and Commissioner Repollet than obsequious political payback.
She was a school board member in Lawrence Township Mercer County for 12 years and served nine years as president. Subscribe to NJ Spotlight News.
Opinion: it sure looks like doe willfully broke charter process to appease njea
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