Marie Antoinette said, "Let them eat cake." Dr. Epps says, "Let them ride the city bus." The Queen lost her head and Dr. Epps should lose his job.
For the last four years the Jersey City Board of Education has provided buses for charter schools students who lived more than two miles from their schools. This is appropriate as charter schools are public schools and all students should have the ability to get to their classes. This year Dr. Epps has decreed that no school buses will be provided to charter school children. Bus passes on city buses will be handed out instead. (By the way, private school students who live more than two miles from their schools are eligible for a large cash reimbursement from the Board. No vouchers-but cash.)
Can Dr. Epps really be suggesting that kindergarten students should be put alone on city buses to somehow find their way to their schools? Isn't that a pedophile's dream? Can he possibly have so little concern for the welfare and safety of younger students?
The students who will be hurt the most by this are those in the greatest need. One wonderful feature of so many charter schools in Jersey City is their diversity. By forcing children who have no other means to get to school, back into neighborhood district schools, Dr. Epps is in effect supporting greater school segregation. What a tragic step backward.
Dr. Epps and other board staff point out that sending children to school by city bus is just "school policy" which applies to all Jersey City public school students, as if it is somehow comforting that the School Board shows the same lack of concern for the safety and well-being of all students, not just charter school students.
I do not think that Dr. Epps actually believes that responsible parents will put their young children on city buses. This move is merely a cynical attempt to stop the growth of charter schools in Jersey City. Other school boards have attempted to stop charter schools in the courts and have uniformly failed. Dr. Epps appears to be making the same attempt by denying access to charter schools to those not lucky enough to live close by. His actions are immoral and quite possibly illegal.