Allow parents to apply their share of state public education money to the schools they choose for the education of their children
The NJEA Teachers’ Union is arguably the most powerful special interest group in New Jersey. ? They have resisted efforts to bring vouchers, opportunity scholarships, tax credits for parents sending their children to private school, or homeschooling their children, etc…
One instance of school choice that has passed in New Jersey is the NJ Interdistrict Public School Choice. ? It has yielded good results while allowing parents more options to send their child to the school of their choosing. ? Despite Governor Chris Christie’s YouTube shout-downs of teachers and the teachers’ union, the Governor is currently having his Department of Education stall the Interdistrict Public School Choice Program.
A Very Bad Week for NJ’s Interdistrict Public School Choice Program
It?s been a bad week for NJ?s?Interdistrict Public School Choice Program, a?highly-acclaimed?program that allows students to attend schools outside district boundaries. Schools with extra seats, and the support of their administrators and school boards apply to the DOE to host out-of-district students. The State kicks in $10,000 per pupil so that home districts are spared any fiscal burdens. Democrats, Republicans, NJEA, and NJ School Boards Association applaud newfound opportunities for families and students.? Currently about 6,000 students avail themselves of these opportunities in 136 choice districts.What could be bad? Ask the DOE and Assemblyman John Burzichelli.?First, the DOE. Last year choice schools were shocked to discover that the?DOE was unilaterally capping available seats?below statutory levels. This year the application for new choice districts has been, well, delayed.?Here?s the DOE regulation:
4. a. A proposed choice district shall submit an application to the commissioner no later than?April 30?in the year prior to the school year in which the choice program will be implemented?As of today, two weeks before the deadline,? the DOE has declined to provide the application.? A representative from the?Interdistrict Public School Choice Association?sent an email to Jessani Gordon, head of the DOE?s Interdistrict Choice Program Office, asking about the whereabouts of the application and whether the DOE would extend the deadline so that districts have at least 30 days to file.Here?s the response:
We will add you to the email list to receive notification when the choice district application has been posted.?No decisions have been made at this time to change the application deadline.
What is going on? ? We thought that Governor Chris Christie believed in school choice.