{source}[[span style=”float: right; border-left: 1px solid gray; border-bottom: 1px solid gray; margin: 0pt 0pt 5px 5px; padding: 0pt 0pt 0pt 5px;width:250px;”]][[h3]]Related Articles[[/h3]][[br /]]{loadposition related}[[/span]]{/source}

July 26, 2010; Source: Philadelphia Inquirer | New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie, has proven himself to be no friend of nonprofits as he’s cut and slashed at the state’s budget’s support for human services.  But he likes charter schools.  He supports a bill that would induce the creation of more charter schools in the state and get them authorized quickly.

His mechanism is to allow for charter school submissions on a rolling basis, give Rutgers University the power to approve charters, and limit the time for Rutgers’ review to five months.  The subtext of the bill as its sponsor, Democratic Assemblywoman Mila Jasey suggests, is that expanding and speeding up the charter school process will help New Jersey’s chances in the federal government’s “Race to the Top” program.

At the moment, there are only 75 charter schools in the state, but the Governor wants many more.  Some advocates such as David Sciarra of the Education Law Center suggest proceeding with caution, as the statistical evidence of charter school success has been inconclusive.

It is a sign of the times.  In the past, states competed with each other to demonstrate how “business friendly” they could be.  Now, with the advent of the Obama Administration, states are intent on convincing Department of Education secretary Arne Duncan with their “charter friendly” bona fides.—Rick Cohen