Last week, the administration of New Jersey Governor approved 11 high-performing public charter schools to offer more grade levels and seats for students throughout New Jersey. These decisions coming out of the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) will allow thousands of students to get off waitlists and enroll in public charter schools over the next several years. 2,299 additional charter seats out of 2,937 seats requested, or 78%, were approved. Recent data collected from NJDOE shows that there are more than 28,000 students currently sitting on public charter school wait lists.
“We applaud the Murphy Administration for evaluating the data and making performance based decisions that will put thousands of students on the path to educational success. Communities win when we increase public school options that have a track record of meeting students’ needs,” said Harry Lee, President and CEO of the NJ Public Charter Schools Association (NJPCSA). “Public charter schools work and we are ecstatic that more children will be able to attend excellent schools that put them on the path to social-emotional and academic recovery.”
In November, NJPCSA launched the #LetMyChildLearn campaign to lift the voices of tens of thousands of families seeking a better education for their children throughout New Jersey. The campaign included highlighting the stories of families who love their schools and want more children in their communities to access a top-notch education.
For example, in Trenton, 9th graders at Achievers Early College Prep Charter School, who nearly beat the state average in English language arts (ELA) based on the latest state assessment data, will be able to continue their education at the school in 10th grade due to this decision. “My child has blossomed at our charter school in Trenton,” said Diana Martinez, a parent at Achievers Early College Prep. “She is currently on a path to receive college credits and industry credentials at the same time she receives her high school diploma and we are beyond thrilled that she will have that opportunity at Achievers.”
And in Newark, North Star Academy Charter School, one of the best public schools in the country, outperformed the state average by 15 points in ELA and 8 points in mathematics based on the NJDOE’s recent test score release. “We are thankful for the NJDOE’s recognition of the strong educational outcomes that North Star Academy has delivered for Newark students and families for the past 25 years. This approval will allow more students to grow and learn at North Star on their journey to and through college,” said Brett Peiser and Julie Jackson, co-CEOs of Uncommon Schools, which manages North Star Academy.
When rendering decisions, NJDOE utilized data that shows that Black and Latino students enrolled in public charter schools are twice as likely to be proficient in English language arts and mathematics compared to their district peers. The December 2022 data release verifies that public charter schools accelerated student learning for economically disadvantaged students of color during the pandemic. The approvals to expand enrollment at Trenton’s Paul Robeson Charter School and Achievers Early College Prep Charter School also unlocks millions of dollars in federal funding provided through NJPCSA to these two schools. The funds will be reinvested in the community, allowing more students access to great public charter schools in Trenton.
In the past year, public charter wait lists grew from 20,000 students to 28,000. “We appreciate the thoughtful consideration the Murphy Administration gave to these expansion decisions. However, the work is not done. As the demand for great public school options continues to grow, we look forward to partnering with the NJDOE and the entire Murphy Administration to meet the needs of families across the State,” Lee concluded.