What is this battle really over?
May 11, 2014 | 1212 views | 1 1 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Dear Editor:

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.

Dina Muradian,
HoLa Parent

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May 11, 2014
I continue to be amazed by the ongoing Hola discussions. The expansion of Hola is clearly having a detrimental impact on the public district. All of the extraneous expenses have been cut from the budget and the expansion costs are forcing layoffs in the public district. What more proof do these taxpayer-funded private school parents need? They enrolled in a school that only went to 5th/6th grade. They knew this when they enrolled their child in that school so, in 6th/7th grade they knew that they would have to find an alternative, but instead they are now selfishly demanding more from all taxpayers in Hoboken, including the parents of the public school children who will be most impacted by this money grab. There is an alternative type of school that would fit Ms. Muradian's following description of her preference for charter schools. Her quote:

"..the things we really liked about all the charter schools was the small school environment..."

That alternative type of school is a private school.

Ms. Muradian, I don't want more of my tax dollars paying for any additional grades at your private school, which is exactly what you are asking! I already pay for K-6 for your child's private school! That's enough!

I'll also admit to raising an eyebrow at your suggestion that Wallace School is intimidating. A little soul-searching might be in order. What EXACTLY is intimidating about Wallace? As public schools go, it seems to be on the smallish side. Does the intimidation factor stem from something else, perhaps? How can Mr. Gold's statements be divisive, when (white) parent after (white) parent states unabashedly that they will leave Hoboken if they can't keep their kids in (largely white) Hola? What would Ms. Muradian call that? Either these (white) parents will 'flight' out of Hoboken (if they don't get their way) or they will 'flight' to Hola's 7th/8th grade.

Dr. Gold, Dr. Toback and all of Kids First, I applaud what you're doing to defend the public district children of Hoboken. You've taken a very brave stance that many of us (who don't have a full P.R. apparatus) 100% support. Keep up the good work.