The Charter school lottery system has proven to be outdated, with unlimited potentiality of creating loopholes within the selection process. There was an incident a few years back, involving a Jersey City Charter school in which it manufactured a terrible mistake. After names were chosen, it was discovered that a group of candidates were unknowingly and unintentionally left out of the drawing. This obviously null and voided this raffle and all names previously selected, requiring them to restart the process.
One could only imagine the emotional stress experienced by the parents and children who were originally chosen and then denied in the second round, because of someone’s incompetence. Imagine your child’s educational future being steered by hoping and praying that their names will be pulled out of a hat, and relying on the luck of a draw?
Most might say that this only justifies the creation and approval of more Charter Schools, stressing such a great demand, by offering an intelligent alternative to the Public School. Some Charter Schools did exceed expectations, but past documentations proved several exceptions.
This system has not always proven itself to be a blanket of excellence. They are free, paid for with our tax dollars. They do provide a much safer atmosphere than most of our public schools, but for some, unfortunately, couldn’t even establish an acceptable criteria, fell short of all established requirements, initiated by the Federal and State Governments, had administration problems, questionable financial shortfalls, poor unqualified Administrators and Educators all of which became negative influences forcing their ultimate demise.
Any parent living in Jersey City can concur that the difference between having a child attend a high caliber or an awfully horrific school depends solely on your family’s residence within the City’s limits. Some Kindergartners are still being bused, because of space limitations. Anyone experiencing this terrible misfortune of being placed in one of these undesirable institutions could definitely have a tremendous negative impact on their lives.
There is a very fine line between excellence and total breakdown. The variation between failure and success is sending your child into a war zone, of daily intellectual, mental, emotional, spiritual and physical upheavals, drugs, disrespect, fights, riots, gang influences, constantly looking over their shoulder with survival as the number one priority, compared to a decent safe, secure intellectual environment, with parental/guardian involvement.
Jersey City has always used its school district for political patronage which obviously used and abused the system. Regrettably, there are still signs of mismanagement and waste together with multiple top heavy non essential positions and administrators. These malfunctions must be eliminated, revised and corrected.
The Jersey City School district has the ability to produce well rounded open schools after the fifth grade Just to name a few, Middle School 4, Academy 1, High Schools Liberty and McNair Academic, which is rated in the Nation’s top 50, are an inspiration. Their selection process includes an application, test, transcripts and interviews, which should be incorporated tools for admission by the Charter Schools.
William P. Frasca
Jersey City, N.J.