What Works and What Doesn’t in N.J. Charter Schools
Researchers from Teachers College released a report on the first generation of charter schools in New Jersey at a press conference on June 9 at Thomas Edison State College.
Pearl Rock Kane, an Associate Professor in the Department of Organization and Leadership, was commissioned by the New Jersey Institute for School Innovation to conduct the survey.
Professor Kane and her team of nine graduate students conducted almost 200 interviews with charter school students, teachers, directors, parents, board members and founders as well as with representatives of school districts, school superintendents, teacher associations and the presidents of the local boards of education.
"Charter schools are one of the most important education reforms and one of the most controversial," said Kane. The report focuses on the distinguishing features of the schools, the responses to the schools from internal and external constituencies, and the critical issues that need to be addressed.
For example, she said that internal constituencies-parents, teachers and students-identify inadequate financial support for facilities and special education as problems. On the other hand, school superintendents and other external constituencies object to the financing system for charter schools because they feel it reduces the amount of money available for funding district programs and personnel.
"The initial findings should be instructive to the New Jersey Legislature and other policymakers in assessing the schools and in making necessary modifications in state regulations," Kane said. "The findings should also be useful to practitioners in the process of setting up charter schools for the fall of 1998 and 1999."
Copies of the survey are also available from the New Jersey Institute for School Innovation at (732) 296-8379.previous page