NJCSA Intervenes in Latino Action Network v. State of New Jersey
See the NJCSA official position statement here.
Which case is the New Jersey Charter Schools Association (NJCSA) asking a state court judge for permission to intervene into?
The New Jersey Charter Schools Association asked a state court judge for permission to intervene into the historic school desegregation case, Latino Action Network v. State of New Jersey, on behalf of students and families in its member schools.
What is the Latino Action Network v. State of New Jersey case all about?
Although New Jersey is a very diverse state, it also operates one of the most segregated public school systems in the nation. The lawsuit claims that the State of New Jersey is responsible for addressing school segregation and seeks remedies to address that problem.
What does the complaint say about charter schools?
Charter schools are public schools. The plaintiffs inexplicably accuse charter schools of being part of the school segregation problem in New Jersey. They cite data that notes that charter schools serve a disproportionate number of Black and Latino students in New Jersey without noting that most charter schools operate in urban districts with a large majority of Black and Latino students. Charter school students look very much the same as students in their cities and towns. In fact, studies have demonstrated that in Newark and Hoboken for example, as charter schools have expanded, the local districts have not become more segregated. Rather, the opposite is often true.
Why is NJCSA seeking to intervene on behalf of students and families in its member schools?
NJCSA is seeking to intervene because it believes that charter schools are part of the desegregation solution—they are not the problem. In fact, an important tool to combat school segregation is empowering parents with meaningful public school choice. While we share the values and goals of diverse, high-performing schools that serve a broad range of students, we are intervening to address baseless attacks on charter schools and ensure that our students and families have a seat at the table. Without a charter school voice at the table, the plaintiffs could attempt to re-write charter school admission practices and policies, which will have a direct impact on charter school operations, charter school parents, and existing and prospective students.
How can charter schools be part of the solution to increase the number of diverse, high-performing schools in New Jersey?
Many charter schools serve diverse student bodies and can serve as models for the rest of the state. In fact, three of the most diverse public schools in New Jersey are charter schools (Learning Community Charter School, The Ethical Community Charter School, and BelovED Community Charter School). Additionally, many charter schools serve students from multiple school districts. The plaintiffs note that a potential remedy to decrease segregation is to remove municipal boundaries in school selection to empower public school choice. That is already happening in charter schools and with this experience, NJCSA should be at the table to offer up solutions.
How are charter schools in New Jersey impacting the public education landscape in New Jersey?
NJCSA welcomes the opportunity to highlight the incredible success of the charter sector in New Jersey. More than 50,000 students attend charter schools in the state with 35,000 more students on waiting lists. Charter schools are closing the achievement gap for economically disadvantaged students and in some cases, outperforming the state’s most affluent communities. Charter schools are innovating and empowering parents to choose quality schools across the state to meet the diverse needs of their children.