||NEW JERSEY ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS|
State needs to take time to examine the issues rather than offer a blanket solution
“The governor has proposed a simple solution to a complex problem,” said Richard Bozza, Ed.D., executive director of the NJASA. “But sweeping reform is just sweeping the real answers under the rug. Don’t buy into the one-size-fits-all reform tactics so quickly. Let’s take some time and examine the issues.”
Governor Christie’s proposed reform would expand the role of charter schools, which are public schools operated independently of the locally elected school board. Charter schools often have a curriculum and educational philosophy different from the other schools in the system. Only one in five charter schools outperforms traditional public schools and nearly half perform more poorly, according to the NJASA.
“Given that 90 percent of American students attend traditional public schools, change in a single classroom, school or even district will not be enough,” said Dr. Bozza. “Charter schools are not the answer alone. Rather, the state needs to create replicable, scalable, effective ways to provide all children with the education they need.”
He acknowledges that while some public schools in New Jersey are struggling, others are helping children from all backgrounds reach great academic heights. “The system is not broken,” he said, “but each district needs to address its specific challenges.”
Response from a new film, “Waiting for Superman,” will likely enter the debate on the governor’s proposed reforms. The film follows five public school students who compete in lotteries to attend public charter schools. It criticizes the current public school system while elevating the potential of charter schools. The film’s creators have expressed the hope that it will engender healthy discussion about the state of education today and swift action to improve our schools.
“The movie should serve as a call to ensure that every public school is successful,” said Dr. Bozza. “We must develop a system in which all kids can be winners. Not everyone can win in a charter school lottery, but everyone can win in a public school.”
The New Jersey Association of School Administrators is an organization of chief education officers and school administrators who lead school districts in New Jersey’s 21 counties. The association’s mission is to ensure a superior statewide system of education. Through ongoing professional training and education, the association shares knowledge among its members about best practices from both educational and administrative perspectives. Its goal is to move education forward by ensuring the highest quality of instruction for all New Jersey children.
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