Charter school opponents were in mourning this week after they failed to derail a set of amendments to a 2012 bill called the Urban Hope Act that permits the opening of hybrid district/charter schools in Camden, Trenton, and Newark.
Save Our Schools-N.J., Education Law Center, and New Jersey Education Association had mounted a vigorous lobbying campaign against the amendments, citing the “undemocratic transfer of Camden public education to private control.”
But the campaign was fruitless; on Monday the N.J. Senate, by a vote of 32-1, approved several tweaks to Senate Bill 2264. These modest amendments extend the deadline for charter school applications by one year — from January 2015 to January 2016 — and give permission for new charter schools to use abandoned public school space that has “undergone substantial reconstruction,” in lieu of the newly-constructed facilities mandated by the 2012 law. The bill now goes before the N.J. Assembly.
It’s worth noting how the rhetoric of these school choice opponents has changed over the past two years.
Related: gubernatorial candidate and Madison school board member Mary Burke speaks out in favor of the status quo and opposes vouchers.