BOE VP Opposes Proposed Charter School

IT-named school would pull students from multiple towns, including Hillsborough and Millstone.

At Monday night’s meeting, new board vice president Judy Haas got right to work by making the board aware of the district’s receipt of an application from a proposed charter school to be located in Franklin Township, which would pull students from high schools in Hillsborough, Millstone, Franklin and Bridgewater-Raritan.

If the proposed school—operating under the working name of The Information Technology Charter School—gets off the ground, Haas informed the board that its intention is to have pulled 280 students from the desired districts within four years of its initial opening.

Haas stated that Hillsborough was chosen as one of the districts in question for its lack of information technology (IT) training, despite the fact that its high school robotics program is competing in a world championship match in St. Louis later this week.

“In the description about why our particular district was chosen, it says that our schools don’t provide adequate IT training,” Haas said, also noting an irony in this claim despite the robotics program’s success.

Other board members, such as Thuy Anh Le, were in agreement with Haas.

“Our school board and administration looks very carefully at what we think is important for students. We already have a very strong technology program and we’re including Mandarin Chinese in our elementary schools,” Le said. “Our school board and school administration has a very strong vision of what we should do for our school and our students for 21st century learning.”

Haas also questioned the value of a charter school education over an education within the district, citing that employees of charter schools are not held to the same standards as educators in public school systems.

“There are no requirements for certified teachers, no requirements for certified educators. It’s a tough world of charters, because there are no accountability requirements,” Haas said. “We go through all this accountability here in public schools, but the charters can operate virtually freely.”

“There’s really no ability to supervise what outcomes they have. From the experienced charters that exist right now, many people think that’s an answer to the problem of schooling,” Haas continued. “The truth is they don’t produce better results, automatically, than public schools do.”

residentgood April 26, 2012 at 03:03 AM
So when the hippy, enviro charter takes a bunch of students and their model doesn't work, they get dumped back into the public school for remedial help at a greater cost to the public school. The cost and risk is all on our town with no say on quality or accountability; not such a "free" market.
residentgood April 26, 2012 at 03:05 AM
Doesn't say in the article but a Chinese Charter was floated but didn't open a year ago so it is parallel.
residentgood April 26, 2012 at 03:16 AM
What should be happening is consolidation, not new little school districts (charters). Everyone seems to want shared services and reduction of administration but with each charter you get a new set of administrators. Little johnny might want a performing arts school and little jenny wants an IT school but make no mistake, this costs money. Do really want to pay for each person's favorite flavor of school? You can make the argument that Newark or Trenton, which has failing schools and real problems, should give an option for students who really want to learn. But to siphon money from a district that is doing fine just guarantees a slow decline of the district (which, if you believe the anticharter activists, is the goal).
Tom April 26, 2012 at 02:54 PM
You seem to be a bit confused. In what way would an Information Technology oriented school be "Hippy" or "Enviro"? And again, the taxpayer-funded, government-run, union-controlled schools could use some competition. Having options and competition (as in a free market) we could be sure that the current model is giving us the quality education that we are paying for, and the children of Hillsborough deserve.
residentgood April 27, 2012 at 02:21 AM
@Tom: Not confused in the least. Today it is an IT Charter but last year it was Trillium in Flemington (Earth oriented, whatever that meant) and Chinese in Franklin and next year it will be God knows what. So you like the IT charter (I kind of like the idea also). But we, as a town, have absolutely no control over who or what charter is next and we are required to pay for it. At least in the present model you have locally elected citizens who oversee the running and content of the schools. For charters you just write the check; no control, no vote, no accountability. I also fundamentally disagree with your characterization of the school system in Hillsborough; it is citizen funded, citizen run and citizen controlled. If the system is going unchecked, unchallenged and being run by the union then it is the citizens who have fallen down on the job (7% of registered voters in the school election, pathetic). If you want the schools to do better, to include IT in the curriculum, then it is your job to go out and demand that it be included. If you get backing from other people then it may be adopted. But if no one in town supports your idea (IT, enviro, etc.) then why should we be forced to pay for it.


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