I am much more than disappointed Mr. Brown. That the boutique charters getting approved are not "special" is the tip of the iceberg.
In an earlier post I shared my Senate Education Committee testimony. I was truly disheartened to be steam rolled by lobbyists in crisp suits with shiny brochures as I and other parents from across the state tried to explain to the Education Committee the effect the current legislation is having on our districts. All of the lobbyists against the legislation Save Our Schools NJ is fighting for are bought and paid for by big foundations like the Walton Foundation whose "core strategy is to infuse competitive pressure into America’s K-12 education system." While this may not have been the initial intention of charter legislation, that's who is impacting the legislative agenda now.
If you are truly paying attention to what's happening with charter schools in New Jersey you can't help but be genuinely dismayed. Please see my previous post about the for profit charter operator already getting a foothold in New Jersey. Please also read the numerous letters here and here and here from increasingly frustrated superintendents tired of receiving huge bills for charters they feel are not warranted in their districts. The other common themes are that local district and community wishes are ignored in the application process, and real problems with applications are being ignored too in the NJDOE's charter approval process. Did you know that in the last round paid national consultants led teams of NJDOE employees in reviewing applications? Of course this was only revealed after a lawsuit and several OPRA requests.
Are you seeing the pattern? The same national lobbyists that are pushing for legislation are reviewing the applications. Gee, that just doesn't seem right now does it?
And this is your best argument against local control legislation that will take these decisions away from national lobbyists with corporate agendas and put the power back in the hands of the people of New Jersey?