PATERSON, N.J. - In his weekly radio show, education advocate Corey Teague discussed the impact of charter schools with school board member Dr. Jonathan Hodges.

One of the biggest points of emphasis by Dr. Hodges was the cost that the public school doesn't lose, when it loses a student. "40% of the costs associated with each student are still consumed by the district" said Dr Hodges, "just because you lose a few students, you can't fire a teacher, or shut the lights off". Hodges is referring to the set costs of operating schools in the district including electricity, teachers, and faculty, which don't fluctuate much when students are lost to charter schools. 

Some parents have supported Charter Schools under the assumption that they will positively impact the quality of education. According to an www.ed.gov study "The study estimated charter schools’ impacts on 35 other outcomes, including absences, suspensions, and other measures of student performance, as well as survey-based measures of student effort in school, student well-being, student behavior and attitudes, and parental involvement. There was no evidence that study charter schools had any impact on the majority of these outcomes."

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Hodges and Teague also spoke about how charter schools are not equipped with the many different programs schools needed to education all different types of children. Hodges pointed out that charter schools shy away from ESL/Latino students because they do not have the staff for an ESL program. 

Hodges went on to talk about special needs and behaviorally challenged students who are getting left behind in this promise for a higher quality of education. Teague chimed in about his son, who is a special needs student, who has had to bounce between different schools and programs because even the public district is having trouble gathering enough resources. 

What are your thoughts on charter schools, and would you like to see Paterson expand on the idea or focus on public schools? Email us your questions and comments at mguerriero@tapinto.net.