Christie takes a giant step toward privatizing NJ’s public schools

NJ Governor Christie proposes public-private schools plan
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie arrives to be honored at the 2011 Time 100 Gala ceremony in New York April 26, 2011. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
NEW YORK | Thu Jun 9, 2011 8:01pm EDT

(Reuters) – New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced a pilot program on Thursday that would allow private companies to run public schools in some of the state’s chronically underperforming school districts.

The public-private partnership would authorize school management organizations to operate five schools, and would target some of the 100,000 New Jersey students now enrolled in 200 chronically failing schools, the governor’s office said.

The state’s teachers union, which has clashed with the Republican governor over cuts to school aid and other issues, said the plan was part of Christie’s “ongoing effort to privatize public education in New Jersey.”

Christie’s proposal comes amid a contentious national debate over how to improve public schools and the role of the private sector — including autonomous charter schools — in the education of American schoolchildren.

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