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.”