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DFER Urges Lawmakers & School Districts to Act on Latest Data Showing Student Gains in NJ Charter Schools

Democrats for Education Reform Urges Lawmakers and School Districts to Act on Latest Data from Stanford Showing Student Gains in NJ Charter Schools

Newark, NJ, November 28, 2012 - Democrats for Education Reform New Jersey (DFER NJ) released the following statement by State Director Kathleen Nugent urging lawmakers and school districts to act on findings released yesterday by Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) showing students in New Jersey public charter schools, on average, achieve larger learning gains in reading and math than their traditional district school peers.

“The findings from this study are especially noteworthy because CREDO is highly respected nationwide as an objective organization whose unbiased work reflects accurately charter sector impact.

“It’s increasingly clear that New Jersey’s charter sector, especially in the city of Newark, provides students and their parents with high quality options. In fact, the charter sector in Newark is posting some of the highest student achievement gains that CREDO researchers have ever seen in their national work.

“New Jersey and our school districts have a responsibility to review this data closely and use it to guide education policies. We should begin by expanding charter school options in cases where charters are performing better than traditional schools, particularly those with significant waiting lists. Those who design, administer, and teach in these high-quality schools deserve credit for charting a new course that should be accessible to all students, not just those who are lucky enough to win a lottery.

“Although the study highlights the success of many NJ charter schools, the evidence also shows that some charter schools are performing below their traditional counterparts. These schools that are falling short on educating their students should be held accountable. Ultimately, all schools, regardless of their governing structures, should be held to a high standard to ensure that all kids receive an excellent education.

“We must put the needs of children first, especially in urban areas where it's not just a matter of academic achievement but, in many ways, the single most important determining factor of life outcomes. CREDO’s data suggests that both Black and Hispanic students in poverty who are enrolled in New Jersey charter schools show significantly better performance in reading and math compared to the same group of students in traditional public schools. Now we must expand on what’s working in these public charter schools to ensure that every student has access to the best education possible.”