New Jersey's Acting Commissioner of Education Chris Cerf has proposed amendments to the existing regulations that govern charter schools that are illegal and attempt to circumvent the legislature and the will of New Jersey residents, who overwhelmingly support local democratic approval of new charter schools.
These regulations would open the door to nationally discredited virtual charter schools, despite the fact that New Jersey’s charter school law does not allow such schools to exist.
These regulations also would give the Commissioner the ability to expand existing charter schools into new school districts, change a charter school’s mission and goals, and enlarge its grade and enrollment levels, with virtually no local community input or oversight.
Charter schools should also be concerned about these regulations because they give the Commissioner the ability to close existing charter schools at any time and for any reason, without so much as a probationary period.
Sign our petition to ask the Legislature to overrule these regulatory changes and to support local democratic control of our public schools.
These amendments significantly undermine local democratic control of public education by dramatically increasing the Commissioner of Education’s decision-making authority and violating the current charter school law. They are a blatant attempt to use regulations to rewrite rather than interpret legislation.
If adopted, these amendments would give the Commissioner practically unlimited ability to open, expand and close charter schools, regardless of community wishes. Placing this much control in the hands of the Commissioner would be devastating for traditional public schools and charter schools alike.
These amendments also open the door to virtual charter schools, which are not allowed under New Jersey’s charter school law. Virtual charter schools in other states have significantly underperformed brick-and-mortar schools, while making tremendous profits for the companies that run them.¹
For all of these reasons, I ask you to support local democratic control of public education by rejecting the proposed amendments.