The issues with charter schools have become more prominent and divisive in our public conversation after Betsy DeVos, a big supporter of private education, was sworn in as Secretary of Education by President Trump. The people of East Brunswick accurately support the improvement of public schooling, rather than the implementation of charter schools.

By definition, a charter school is still a public school because it is tuition-free. Charter schools were originally created for low-income communities with poor education systems, so that they could provide students with a chance to receive quality education somewhere other than their local public high school. Ironically, charter schools are now located in areas with extremely good public school systems and communities with higher per capita incomes. This is because the highest demand for charter schools is from the private sector. This causes enormous segregation of class within a community because naturally, the wealthier communities will have more money to fund and improve charter schools. Charter schools create a fission in society by promoting an elite class whereas public education fosters unity and equal opportunity for all. For example, in 2016 Princeton High School was voted within the top ten for best education in all of New Jersey, so why do they need charter schools in their city? This completely defeats the original purpose of giving the impoverished some choice. Therefore, the citizens are very invested in creating good public schools and reject their defunding by the application of charter schools.

Charter schools’ new, profit-centered goal has become to privatize public schools. They act like private entities, but are publicly funded. A lack of transparency about what happens with tax payer’s money is what defunds public schooling.

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Admission to charter schools is highly competitive, which leads to a waiting list in communities they reside. To make this equitable, charter schools claim to use a lottery system to pick the students who attend from those that apply. But in reality, they serve almost no students with special needs, low test scores, or immigrant parents. This is because charter schools do not have special education programs, while public schools do and are required to by law. Charter schools do not uphold such standards. We should be using public funds to improve the programs already in existence, because public schools provide education for all. Families who have children with disabilities are being taxed for a charter school that cannot benefit them, so it is a wrongful use of their tax dollars. Because of this, a lottery system that is supposed to be fair, is ironically unfair to the public.

Charter schools assume giving parents a public or private “choice” is a solution to low quality public schooling, but in reality its injunctions are far from that mandate. The truth is we need great quality public schools in each community that every local tax payer can feel content with sending their child to. This requires funds to raise teacher’s salaries, reduce class size, and overall provide better public education for our community.

Twelve years of education are mandatory because they introduce you to your interests and guide you to decide what you will pursue in your future. These benefits can only be received if charter schools stop defunding our public schools. Therefore, it is imperative that we protest the implement of charter schools in New Jersey, before they completely drain our money and destroy our public school systems.

Sincerely,

Mariam Dar
North Brunswick, NJ