TRENTON – Sen. Ronald Rice, (D-20), of Newark, called today for a moratorium on setting up new charter schools.
Testifying before the Senate Education Committee, Rice said the state should concentrate more on making existing, traditional public schools better.
The committee met to discuss, but not vote on, several charter school-related bills. The GOP committee members did not attend the hearing.
Contrary to what many people think, Rice said, there are many charter schools that are low performing.
Gov. Chris Christie has supported the creation of more charter schools, saying they provide school choice and an alternative for students, but Rice said that many of them “may not be performing well.”
He added that many charters are approved with little regard to the background of the person or group seeking to create them, or whether they have the financial backing necessary to run them.
Rice said the state seems inclined to approve new charter schools, just for the sake of saying the state created more charter schools in the name of education reform.
He also called for more rigorous background checks on charter schools’ trustees boards, adding that just because someone is wealthy or ran a hedge fund “don’t make them the most honorable people in the world.”
Rice said he hopes some of his suggestions are acted upon, adding, “I get tired of arguing all the time on the Senate floor.”