Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The NJDOE Makes Their Own Rules, Yet Again...

Now I've had it.  From State Street Wires:

TRENTON - The following charter school applications have been qualified for the approval process, the state Department of Education.

Approval decisions will be made later, officials said.

The following applications are listed by name, grade levels, number of student they are projected to take in, and the municipalities which they will serve.

They are:

Camden's Rosedale Charter School
Grades Kindergarten to 4
Projected to serve 225 students

Clifton Arts and Science Charter School
Grades Kindergarten to 8
540 students

DaVinci Charter School of Hoboken
Grades Kindergarten to5
264 students

Hayden-Bridges Preparatory Charter School
Grades PreKindergarten to 4
300 students
Jersey City

Informaton Technology Charter School
Grades 6 to 12
280 students
Franklin Township, Hillsborough Township, Bridgewater-Raritan Township, Piscataway Township

International Academy of Camden Charter School
Grades Kindergarten to grade 6
698 students

International Languages and Arts Charter School of Passaic
Grades Kindergarten to 5
300 students

Irvington Collegiate Charter School (ICCS)
Grades Kindergarten to 8th
360 students

Knowledge Empowers Youth (KEY) Charter School
Grades 5 to 8
400 students
Camden and Pennsauken Township

Laboratory Charter School of Camden
Grades Kindergarten to 5
600 students

Military Charter School
Grades Kindergarten to grade 6
420 students
West New York

Morning Side Prep Charter School
Grades 5 to 12
400 students
Hamilton and Trenton

Mosaic Charter School
Grades Kindergarten to 5
360 students
Jersey City

Multicultural Public Charter School
Grades Kindergarten to 4
250 students
Camden, Pennsauken

New Jersey Institute of Fashion Charter High School
Grades 9 to 12
400 students

Paterson Urban Music and Movement Charter School, grades kindergarten to 3rd

Phillip's Academy Charter School
grades kindergarten to grade 8,
378 students
Newark, East Orange, Irvington

Quest Academy Charter School of Technology and Creative Arts
Grades 9 to 12, 320 students projected, Montclair

Regional-Pneuma Academy Charter School for Science, Health & Technology-Asbury Park and Neptune, grades kindergarten to 5, 240 students projected

S.T.E.M. Charter School
Grades kindergarten to 12, with 1,040 students projected, Newark.

STEM Leadership Charter School, grades kindergartn to 12, 320 students projected,
North Brunswick.

STEMS (Science Technology Engineering Math Sustainability) Preparatory Charter School, grades kindergarten to 5, 240 students.
Hillside, Union, Elizabeth

Swerve Charter School, grades 5 to 12
408 students,
Egg Harbor Township

Technology First Primary Charter School
Grades K to grade 5
300 students
Neptune, Asbury Park, Ocean

Tyrone Collins Charter School of sustainable Wellness
Grades 9 to 12
400 students

Whole Earth Charter School
Grades PreK to grade 7
360 students

Why is this of any interest?  Because back in March, before the current application cycle started, I noticed that the NJDOE had posted a Timeline, and that in that Timeline they formalized the two stage application process that they pulled out of nowhere in the last round.  (If you ask me, it was to quiet to storm whipped up by my good friends in Teaneck)  There were no regulatory changes that gave them the go ahead to change the application procedure - they JUST DID.

I modified the Timeline to include dates that districts would have to respond to applications.  Something the NJDOE can't be bothered to do.  Clearly, district input is really integral to the process.

Remember when NJDOE spokesman Justin Barra said this:

In addition to evaluating the quality of the proposed program, we also take into account feedback both from districts and the general public. We take seriously all public comment that we receive in the review process”

Yeah, he didn't mean it. 

Here's what the Timeline looked like with the district due dates added:

This made it very clear that many districts were going to waste time responding to applications that were never going to make it to "Full Review,"  wasting time that could be spent, oh, I don't know, running their districts.  I sent an email to Acting Commissioner Cerf and Amy Ruck, Interim Director of the Charter School Office, explaining this.  Here is my email and her response:

I have to admit, for a minute there I actually thought maybe I had scored one for the good guys!  Maybe they were going to change the Timeline so that districts would get 60 days from the announcement of which applications made it to "Full Review!"

Sadly, no.  Here is how they changed the Timeline.

January 11, 2012Technical Assistance Training at NJDOE
April 2, 2012, 4:15PMApplication Due
April 9, 2012, 4:15 PMReceipts Due to NJDOE (County and District(s) of Residence)
July 2, 2012Request for Addenda released to qualified applicants
July 10, 2012, 4:15 PMAddenda information due back to NJDOE
July 13, 2012Receipts for Addenda Due to NJDOE (County and District(s) of Residence)
August 20, 2012 – August 31, 2012Applicant interviews
September 30, 2012Final decisions announced by Commissioner

They just completely removed the "Full Review" date on May 1st.  

But as you can see, they went ahead and did it anyway.  

Oh, and big surprise, in the changes to the regulations Cerf proposes a "two phase" application process.  "Phase one" applicants deemed to be “qualified applicants” will be notified and given 30 days to submit their "phase two" application.

Districts will be allotted 30 days to respond to a phase one application, and 60 days to respond to a phase two application.  Great, MORE work for districts faced with unwanted charter schools!!   

So here is yet another example of Cerf's NJDOE playing by their own rules.  Clearly, they don't expect anyone to be paying attention.  When someone comes along and not only notices, but calls them on it, what do they do?  

They continue to do whatever the hell they want. 

I guess the only reason they are bothering to change the regulations is to get rid of nuisances like me and Jersey Jazzman.  If they get to make the rules so that the game is rigged in their favor, there is nothing to catch them on.

It's Cerf's world, we just try to educate our kids in it...

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