By Michael Hill
A charter school with academic achievements that seem out of this world, ones that are NASA experiments that soar to the International Space Station.
“When it comes back from the International Space Center we’re going to see the difference in microgravity to gravity,” said Principal Oguz Yildiz.
Today, Gov. Chris Christie witnessed the academic prowess of these aspiring engineers at Thomas Edison EnergySmart Charter School in Somerset, including one student predicting and solving a Rubik’s Cube in seconds.
On the 20th anniversary of the state Charter School Act, the governor came here to tout this charter school’s successes as a model.
“The formula for learning is outperforming the expectations at every level. As a tier one public school you are aspiring the development of more cutting edge classrooms across New Jersey. Over the last three years this school has received a tier rank of one, the highest possible based on the standards of charter school performance framework that we have here in the state and you’re to be congratulated for it,” he said.
Under Christie, charter schools have expanded and their enrollment has nearly doubled to 40,000 students with projections of accommodating 50,000 students next year.
“Charters providing a lifeline for children and their families that trapped in failed educational environments, especially families in low-performing school districts that are going to vote with their feet and choose the schools and education options that give their kids the best chance for success. That’s the way it should be. As public leaders we need to understand it’s our moral obligation to those children and their parents to give them the best possible option for educating their children no matter where you live,” Christie said.
This Energysmart charter school has been holding class on a 36-acre camp. It’s not exactly ideal for a school, a point not lost on the governor.
“And that you’ve been able to do this in a temporary facility is a true testimony to the dedication and commitment,” he said.
Edison EnergySmart is a K-7 school with a long waiting list and moving to its own campus under construction in September. It will add an eighth grade next year. It focuses on preparing creative thinkers for the next generation. It could’ve given its principal a tip or two on how to prepare for the governor’s visit.
“We’re so excited. I couldn’t sleep,” Yildiz said.