Trenton, NJ– Nearly 500 New Jersey public charter school parents, school leaders, and supporters from across the state gathered at the State House in Trenton today for the #CharterStrong Parent Action Day rally. Attendees delivered one clear message: charter schools are public schools that are changing lives, adding value, and are contributing to the success of public education across New Jersey.
Parents in attendance represented more than 50,000 students in New Jersey’s 89 charter schools. They also raised awareness of the more than 35,000 students who remain on waiting lists.
“There is no denying the success of these schools,” said Shelley Skinner, Executive Director of Better Education for Kids and lead organizer of the rally. “While some special interests in Trenton continue to push a false narrative, we’re here to share the real stories of families. We all believe in public education, and we hope to show our state leaders that we can all coexist without tearing each other down. We’re thankful to the legislators who came out today for being champions of our children’s right to an excellent education.”
“I came to the State House today in solidarity with all those parents who are making hundreds of choices every day to support their kids,” said Ruthven Haneef Auguste, a KIPP New Jersey father of three. “This isn’t a political issue—it’s a parental issue. We’re here out of necessity because representatives in Trenton are making decisions impacting our children’s education and our voices should be heard.”
Featuring guest speakers such as Senate President Steve Sweeney, Senator Teresa Ruiz,
Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt, Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin, Senator Troy Singleton, Senator Declan O’Scanlon, and Assemblyman Gary Schaer, lawmakers also showed their support for high-quality public school options. “I want you all to know I’m with you not 100 percent—but 1,000 percent,” said Senate President Steve Sweeney.
Charter schools continue to serve diverse student bodies in some of our State’s largest cities. In fact, 86 percent of students in charters are Black or Hispanic and 72 percent of students are economically disadvantaged. Enrollment continues to grow each year—especially in Newark, Camden, Trenton, Jersey City, and Paterson. Parents from these cities showed up in droves to the #CharterStrong Parent Action Day rally to share their stories of success.
Not only is enrollment in charter schools growing because of parent demand; students are also achieving. In 2016, high school students in Newark charter schools outperformed their district peers by 10 points in English language arts and 11 points in Math. That same year, charter elementary and middle schools, in the aggregate, made larger learning gains in ELA and Math than the entire state.
The #CharterStrong Parent Action Day rally was supported by a diverse coalition of parents, schools, and advocacy organizations including Better Education for Kids, the New Jersey Charter Schools Association, JerseyCAN, and the Newark Charter School Fund. See below for complete lists of public charter schools in attendance.
Achieve Community Charter School Learning Community Charter School
Atlantic Community Charter School Marion P. Thomas Charter School
Central Jersey College Prep Charter School Mastery Schools of Camden
BelovED Community Charter School Newark Educators’ Community Charter School
Classical Academy Charter School Paul Robeson Charter School
Community Charter School of Paterson People’s Preparatory Charter School
Foundation Academy Charter School Queen City Academy Charter School
Freedom Prep Charter School Robert Treat Academy Charter School
Greater Brunswick Charter School Roseville Community Charter School
Great Oaks Legacy Charter School Teaneck Community Charter School
Hoboken Charter School Thomas Edison Energysmart Charter School
Hoboken Dual Language Charter School Uncommon Schools
iLearn Charter Schools North Star Alexander St. Elementary
Bergen Arts & Science Charter School North Star Downtown Middle School
Hudson Arts & Science Charter School North Star Vailsburg Elementary
Passaic Arts & Science Charter School North Star Vailsburg Middle School
Paterson Arts & Science Charter School North Star Washington Park High School
International Academy of Trenton North Star West Side Park Elementary
KIPP – New Jersey University Heights Charter School
KIPP Life Academy Village Charter School
KIPP Newark Collegiate Academy
KIPP Rise Academy
KIPP Seek Academy
KIPP Spark Academy
KIPP TEAM Academy
LEAP Academy University Charter School