Selected readings on US charter schools
State officials have received 38 applications for new charter schools, including proposals for schools with an emphasis on the fashion industry, health and technology, and business skills, according to a list released by the Department of Education.
The 38 applications match the number submitted last year. State officials eventually approved six.
More than half the applications are for schools in urban centers including Newark, Trenton, Camden and Jersey City, where families are seeking alternatives to low-performing, traditional public schools.
Gov. Chris Christie is a proponent of charter schools and the sector has grown significantly under his watch. There are 87 charter schools in New Jersey, according to the New Jersey Charter Schools Association.
Charter schools are publicly funded and privately operated.
Twelve applications in this round are for new schools in Essex County. Elsewhere, four are for schools in Plainfield and North Plainfield. In addition, there are 12 applications for regional schools that would draw students from up to seven municipalities.
“I’m inspired by so many folks, educators, community groups who are willing to dedicate their lives to ensuring children have an opportunity for a great education,” said Carlos Perez, CEO of the New Jersey Charter Schools Association, which hosted its sixth annual conference Tuesday in Atlantic City. “The application progress is difficult and it shows a commitment from across the state.”
More than half the applications are for elementary grades. Three are for middle school students and two are for both middle and high school students. Thirteen applications are for high schools. A few of the applications don’t stipulate a grade or location.
Seven of the proposed schools will emphasize technology, science, math or a combination, and four schools have an international focus.
There are two proposed business academies — one in Orange and one that would serve seven Bergen County towns — and five college prep programs in East Orange/Orange/Irvington, Elizabeth, Paterson, Camden and Jersey City.
An arts academy is proposed in Bloomfield, and an alternative education school is proposed in Orange.
Several applications come from previously rejected applicants, including the Pearls of Wisdom Charter School in East Orange and Irvington. Applicant Stephanie Barnes, a teacher who grew up in East Orange, said she wants to offer a quality alternative for the families who live in the area. She seeks to open a school for 400 children in grades 5 through 8.
Belinda McGuire, a retired Newark Public Schools teacher, submitted an application for the Academy of Fashion Industry Careers Charter High School in Newark. She has been rejected three times.
A Department of Education spokesman said some applications may not be complete and thus do not proceed to the first round of review.
Applicants will learn by September if they have been approved.
Source: NJ.com – by Peggy McGlone