May 11, 2021


Study Showed the Opposite Was True:  Students with Special Education, English Language Learners More Likely To Stay At Newark Charter Schools Than Traditional District Schools  

Newark, NJ – New Jersey education groups are highlighting a study released today by researchers at the Boston University Wheelock Educational Policy Center. The study found that, contrary to the allegations made by some anti-charter critics, students who need Special Education services and English Language Learners are not being systematically pushed out of charter schools. In fact, these two high-need student groups were more likely to remain enrolled at charter schools and more likely to improve their learning such that they no longer needed special education and english language learner services.

The results of this most recent study bolster findings from other studies which have repeatedly shown that students in Newark charter schools are making learning gains at a faster rate than nearly any other city in the nation.

It also comes at a time when anti-charter groups are filing lawsuits to halt Newark charter expansion in New Jersey Supreme Court by accusing the schools of systematically excluding these very same high-need student groups.

“This study demonstrates in data what I and other charter school parents already know in our hearts – when we find and choose the right school for each child, they will blossom, said Jasmine Morrison, Director of Parent Engagement at the New Jersey Public Charter School Association. “I will not apologize for doing what is best for my family and choosing a charter school for my kids.  I hope this research puts an end to the unwarranted accusations against charter schools and those of us who have chosen them for our children.”

“I won’t hold my breath for the anti-charter critics to apologize to the hard-working parents, students and teachers at these schools,” said Kyle Rosenkrans, Executive Director of the New Jersey Children’s Foundation.  “For years, they’ve been told that all their hard work to achieve at the highest levels was a scam because they were kicking out the most vulnerable students. This study is proof of what we already knew: these slanderous allegations were empirically false.”

“For far too long, opponents of public charter schools have misled parents, lawmakers and the public suggesting that charter schools only educate certain students and are not interested in helping our most at-risk and vulnerable kids.  This study should end that debate once and for all, said Harry Lee, President and CEO of the New Jersey Public Charter School Association. “Public charter schools are mission-driven schools open to all kids and this research proves that charter schools are not selecting certain kids, rather they are making good on their promise to provide more opportunities for kids to go to great public schools, and kids are thriving as a result.”

The study was the first to examine this policy critique of charters by tracking patterns of individual student mobility and special services  across Newark’s district and charter schools.

It comes on the heels of a Stanford University study in March that found the learning gains at Newark charter schools outpaced those of any district or charter sector in any city they’ve studied. Numerous prior studies have also supported the conclusion that Newark’s charter student results are significant at every level of comparison: locally, statewide and nationally: