Here's the comment:
Why not let the money follow the child? If parents want their children to attend language immersion school, a Montessori school, a Core Knowledge school etc, why not let them send their children to whatever school they wish and have their per-pupil spending follow them?
We have a balkanized education system as it is. Kids who live in East Brunswick go to EB schools, kids who live in Metuchen go to Metuchen schools, kids who live in South Brunswick go to SB schools etc. Let kids choose to go to schools that best fit their interests and personalities and this artificial geographic segregation will diminish.
If you were so concerned about the financial problems of traditional public schools, you would be more worried about OOD tuition, health care increases, and staff salaries that increase faster than 2%. Some of those kids getting OOD placements may have severe conditions like autism, but not all of them do. If you look at what schools kids are being placed at, you will see that many of them specialize in educating kids with ADD.
Focusing on charter schools just makes you look like an ideologue. You were brought up with education delivered in a certain way (ie, by the govt) and you cannot imagine it delivered differently.
Opposing a charter school because it "siphons money away from public schools" is like opposing using Pell grants at private colleges "because they siphon money away from Rutgers." You want to defund and close Hatikvah. Great. Do you favor defunding and closing Drew, Seton Hall, Centenary College too?
And here's my response:
If a special education child's needs can not be served in district, it is that child's right under NJ state law to receive an out of district (OOD) placement.
There is no comparable right to a boutique education for non-special ed children. But you are correct, OOD placements can be very costly for a district. This is only one reason district spending will always be far higher than charter spending per pupil. If a child has a level of need that rises to an OOD placement, the financial burden will always fall on the district, not a charter.
Public schools must serve ALL children who walk through their doors, unlike a charter which only has to serve a limited number of children, and none with special needs great enough to warrant the kind of services you mention.
As to your argument about Pell grants and Drew vs. Rutgers, I see this as equally flawed. College tuition is the responsibility of the student, not the state. If a student chooses to go to Drew, Rutgers does not have to pay that student's tuition out of their budget. And similarly, if that students gets a Pell grant, it comes out of US Department of Education funds, not local funds. If a Highland Park parent decides not to make use of the excellent public schools in our district and instead chooses Hatikvah, that money comes directly out of our budget. So where is the comparison and how is your argument relevant?
I am not worried about staff salaries. Teachers are professionals and should be compensated as such, with health benefits and pensions.
I never said I want to defund and close Hatikvah, but I don't think district schools should pay for the boutique education of a small number of children. If you want Hebrew immersion for your child, I think you should pay for it. It's that simple. And I am FAR from alone in this belief.
Call me an ideologue if you wish, but I see myself as more of a pragmatist. Districts have limited resources, and I don't think charters are an expense the state should force a district to bear.
I've looked at Highland Park's budget, and have heard an independent auditor review it. Guess which cost is growing faster than any other?
Yeah, that would be our charter school budget.
In fact, Hatikvah's per pupil rate increased 18% from last year, while our district is held to a 2% cap and the state continues to under fund the School Funding Reform Act (SFRA), which just so happens to be the law in this state.
And for the record, Hatikvah children are receiving a "government" education. Funny that you seem to feel that this is not the case. Now sure, Hatikvah gets lots of private funds, mostly from the Hebrew Charter School Center, and receives very little interference or oversight from the state, but last time I checked charters are supposed to be "public" ie. "government" schools.
But we all know that's not really the case, don't we?
|Silly ideologue, you think charters are public schools?|