Paterson parents speak in favor of charters at state ed. commissioner’s focus group | Paterson Times

Paterson parents speak in favor of charters at state ed. commissioner’s focus group


Dozens of parents with children in charter schools attended state education commissioner Lamont Repollet’s focus group meeting, first of a series of meetings to gather input to review New Jersey’s 20-year-old charter school law, at the Danforth Memorial Library on Tuesday night.

April Brown, a mother of a third grader, praised charter schools for providing programming not available at the Paterson district schools. She said music and art have been taken out of district schools, but are available at charters.

“I feel like when charter schools got started it brought life to education here in the City of Paterson,” said Brown in response to a question that asked what she likes about charter schools. “In the charter schools they have things like art and music.”

Brown said her eight-year old attends the Paterson Arts and Science Charter School on Michigan Avenue. Another parent said he likes charter schools for having superior communication applications like ClassDojo.

Brown received some push-back from former school board member Waheedah Muhammad.

“The money that comes off the top that’s financing your charter schools is a detriment to the public schools. If I can’t get my child into your charter schools, he still has to go to school,” said Muhammad. “Our children that are left behind don’t have art and music and all these things you are saying you are so happy about.”

Muhammad’s comments appeared to anger some of the charter school parents at the library’s community room. The room was packed with people. Organizers had to set up tables in an overflow room and the hallway to accommodate people.

84 people registered and provided inputs. 210 people came to the meeting, according to a security guard at the library.

The attendees were asked what can be done to improve charter schools.

Some suggested extending renewals beyond five years. Every five years charter schools have to renew their charters.

Others wanted the state to speed up expansion to reduce wait-lists at charter schools.

Employees from the New Jersey Department of Education collected suggestions from parents and typed them into laptops.

The parents were put into small groups at tables. Members of each group brainstormed and debated their ideas.

Both sides, opponents and proponents of charters, agreed on one point: charter schools should be funded directly by the state. An employee of the Paterson Arts and Science Charter School told state officials that will reduce animosity between charter schools and district schools.

Paterson school district had to transfer $54.3 million to charter schools in the 2018-19 school year, creating a big budget shortfall earlier in the year. The district plugged the gap by securing a $13.5 million loan.

Residents can provide their inputs on charter schools via the New Jersey Department of Education’s website by clicking here.

The state is conducting a multi-county listening tour to review the charter school law. Five other focus groups have been scheduled throughout New Jersey. A report will be published after the outreach is completed detailing what the state has learned from the tour.

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  • Dominick Perez

    Paterson Public Schools suck. The more money they throw at them, the nicer the cars get in the teachers' parking lots lol.

    • MarquinhoGaucho

      Look at the teacher's cars…nothing younger than 2005. Charters are the money pit. Eva Moskowitz makes more than the superintendent.

      • Dominick Perez

        Don't tell that to these parents, I guess they're not as smart as you.

        • MarquinhoGaucho

          I tell them if Charters are so great why arent wealthy towns clamoring for them?

          • Dominick Perez

            And they will answer that most wealthy towns have excellent school systems because they are run by Republicans. The sh*thole municipalities with crappy schools like Paterson are invariably run by Democrats.

          • MarquinhoGaucho

            What about the deep south with is republican they have crappy schools and the lowest test scores and have all switched to charters in cities like NOLA and many places in Florida

          • Dominick Perez

            IDK what that has to do with the shitty schools in Paterson, but to answer your question nfortunately most of the cities in the South are run by Democrats, which is why they suck. That being said I'd put a school from the deep south up against one from Paterson ANY day they don't socially promote down there.

          • MarquinhoGaucho

            Paterson had shitty schools under STATE CONTROL especially under Governor Christie a GOP who put in the worst most incompetent Donnie Evans whose tenure was a complete failure at every level imaginable. Only now under Murphy, who gave back local control and Shafer who is doing a great job are the schools turning around.

          • Dominick Perez

            Paterson schools sucked before Krispy Kreem Christie and they will continue to suck under that alcoholic Murphy. The bloated and corrupt unions tell him and Shafer what to do and call the shots, the teachers get fat contracts for doing hardly anything, and the kids are socially promoted so as not to affect their self esteem even though the majority of them are functionally illiterate. I know this because my cousin is one of them, he can barely read and write yet he was promoted through every year. My kids are in private school my 8 year old knows more than the average Paterson High school graduate.

  • MarquinhoGaucho

    There is art and music in PPS, the kids get chromebooks and tablets. Charters are just just a smoke and mirrors scam . The cherry pick students drop low performing ones in a scam called attrition, the admins make more $ than the superinbtendant . They hire teachers including sexual predators with no background checks and the Paterson Charter school for science..Mr Gulen brings in teachers from Turkey, forces them to pay "tuzuks" kickbacks of 15-16K which he then uses to fund terrorism in Turkey and Syria. .