TRENTON – Few times do Gov. Chris Christie and the teachers’ union agree, but they do in regards to supporting the Urban Hope Act, sponsored by state Sen. Donald Norcross, (D-5), Camden.
The bill creates an opportunity for “renaissance schools” in Newark, Camden, and Jersey City. The schools are owned and operated by nonprofit organizations.
N.J. Education Association president Barbara Keshishian issued a statement on the bill today: “The Urban Hope Act is an innovative effort to improve educational outcomes for children in some of our most challenging educational settings. NJEA supports this legislation because it allows for innovation while providing meaningful public accountability. It is a creative expansion of public school choice that uses public funds to support public education.”
Christie said yesterday that he hopes the bill passes in the lame duck session, and State Street Wire sources affirmed that hope.
Now with NJEA support, the bill seems to have buy-in from all sides.
Keshishian said, “We appreciate the opportunity to work with the sponsors of this legislation. This bill ensures that employees in the proposed Renaissance schools will have all of the rights of other public school employees, which will help create a climate of innovation and creativity in the classroom.”
The schools are also exempt from bidding and contract laws for public entities, which Christie said yesterday is a necessary deregulation because of the immediate need of these three districts.
Keshishian also noted, “The sponsors wisely made this a limited pilot so that everyone involved can focus on making these schools successful. We call on the public education community to join NJEA in working for the success of these Renaissance schools. Their success will once again demonstrate that New Jersey’s public schools work.”