I am a parent of a 1st grader at HoLa and supporter of charter schools. When it was time for us to consider kindergarten, we toured Wallace, as well as all the charter schools. We were very pleased with what we saw at Wallace, but one of the things we really liked about all the charter schools was the small school environment as opposed to the somewhat intimidating feeling at Wallace (it was then a K-7 school). We also liked the philosophies and approach to teaching offered by the charter schools that is not available in the district school. With HoLa, we loved the idea of our son learning Spanish and the developmental benefits of a bi-lingual education. The best part of touring these schools was seeing that we had a choice.
These are just some of the reasons why we elected to enter the lotteries. And we are not alone... there are nearly 800 students currently enrolled in the charter schools with hundreds more on each school’s waiting lists. There are many non-charter school parents and community leaders that support us. Clearly, there is a demand in the community for school choice and the support of charter schools goes beyond just charter school parents.
We are lucky to live in a town where we have educational choices, and the Hoboken school district also takes advantage of choice. As a Choice District, students within a 20 mile radius can apply to Hoboken schools. Likewise, Hoboken students can apply to other Choice Districts within a 20 mile radius. It seems like a double standard that the Hoboken BOE is willing to accept out of district Choice students, but they oppose the choice within our own community.
The statements by BOE President Leon Gold that charter schools are “fostering white flight, and they’re bankrupting us” are misleading and divisive. As President of the BOE, his comments and accusations are a representation of the entire board and of Dr. Toback, regardless of whether or not they agree. Dr. Gold has set the stage for hostility and animosity among residents that instead should be working together not against one another. In that regard, it is my opinion that he has done a great disservice to our community.