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Some reasons why there’s opposition to New Jersey’s proposed Mandarin immersion charter school

January 9, 2012

Some useful background on the issues behind opposition to New Jersey’s proposed Mandarin immersion charter school.

In the Suburbs, Charter Schools Raise Concerns About Local Control

Can a local school district block a charter from opening or refuse to fund it?
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By Marilyn Joyce LehrenJanuary 9, 2012 in Education |1 Comment

Credit: Marilyn Joyce Lehren
Lili Meddahi, a Maplewood third grader, decorates a protest sign against charters.

When a charter school opens in a gritty urban neighborhood, few parents and officials argue that kids in the district don’t need an alternative to the local public schools. In a leafy New Jersey suburb — which may be home to some of the best schools in the country — charters can spark off a battle between skeptics and believers. The former often dismiss charters as “boutiques,” and argue that they’ll sap increasingly scarce dollars from local schools. The latter want their kids to have more choices and challenges — like Mandarin language immersion — and think their school taxes should pay for them.

Ultimately, the issue comes down to local control. Should school districts have the right to bar a charter from opening in their midst, as well as the right to refuse to pay for it?

Those questions were very much at issue on Friday night in Maplewood, an Essex County suburb, where about 100 parents, local officials, and state lawmakers showed up at a community center to protest a proposed world language school making its second try for charter approval.

Please read more here.

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