Republican candidate for governor Jack Ciattarelli today attacked Democrat Phil Murphy’s position on funding for charter schools in New Jersey.
Murphy, a national board member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, voted at a board meeting last Saturday for a host of resolutions proposed by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, including one that calls for a moratorium on the expansion of charter schools nationwide.
Ciattarelli claimed Murphy is doing the bidding of special interests like the state teachers’ union, which endorsed him last week. Ciattarelli said if schools are failing, parents and students should be allowed to chose other options, with charter schools offering the best alternatives.
“Demand for charter schools in failing school districts has exceeded the supply,” Ciattarelli said. “In Newark, for example, that demand is driven overwhelmingly by people of color. Charter school studies, like the one from Stanford University, conclude that Newark’s charters are among the best in the country, with nearly all graduates enrolling in college. That’s why Phil Murphy refusing to wholly support these charters – not to mention parents, guardians and students – is so disappointing. Mr. Murphy is placing his allegiance to the New Jersey Education Association over the rights of people who only want what’s best for their children.”
At the “NJ Spotlight on Cities” conference Friday at the NJ Performing Arts Center in Newark, Murphy, a former U.S. ambassador and Goldman Sachs executive, said he opposed the NAACP resolution, but said he might support a pause in new approvals of charter schools to improve the process.
After the Saturday vote, Murphy said he opposed the resolution as written and the reduction of public funding for charters.
“As I have said publicly, the resolution as presented went too far from my own position,” Murphy said in a statement. “A time-out to gather facts would have relevance to policy, but an immediate defunding of charter schools would put kids at risk.
Murphy expressed his support for the formation of an NAACP task force to look at charter school issues.
At the Friday forum hosted by NJ Spotlight, Ciattarelli said while he supports charter schools in failing districts, he has never been a big advocate of charter schools in school systems that are phenomenal already. “That makes no sense to me,” he said. “You don’t make a school system better by taking money out of the school system.”
Democrat Thomas Byrne said he would not support a moratorium, while Democrat John Wisniewski said the state should take a pause in granting more charter school approvals.