Charter schools not a local decision, Cerf says

TRENTON – Sen. Barbara Buono, (D-18), of Metuchen, questioned acting Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf why charter schools are being imposed on school districts where there isn’t broad community support for them.

At a Senate Budget hearing Monday, she said there is “a growing outrage fueled by the forced imposition (of charter schools) in communities where there’s no public support for them.” She pointed out schools in her legislative district, such as Edison, Highland Park and East Brunswick.

She said having them would divert taxpayer dollars from already cash-strapped public schools.

“This is becoming a divisive issue,” she said.

Cerf said he is against having communities deciding whether to have them within their borders, adding that “history tells us” that if such a vote were presented, “It would be voted down just about every single time.”

Teacher certification

Buono also questioned why he supported “eliminating” certification for teachers for charter schools.

“My general view is that we overdo certification,” he said. “It’s become a bureaucratic exercise.”

He said he’s  not calling for elimination, but a “revamping” of teacher certifications, calling for “rational standards.”

Buono responded, saying that by doing away with teacher certifications, “You put children at a huge disadvantage.”

She said a meaningful teacher certification would be based more on “how much students are learning.”

Charter schools not a local decision, Cerf says