Altorice Frazier, a Newark father of four who describes himself as “a product of the foster-care system and group homes” and “a troubled kid” who spent six years in prison, explains in today’s NJ Spotlight why he chose a charter schools for his children. At the time of his decision, his 10-year-old daughter was a straight A student at one of Newark’s traditional schools and he asked her a simple science question:
I was shocked to find out, when asked at age 10, she was unable to name any of the planets in our solar system. I did some digging and found out that she was not learning any science or history because the district school she was attending did not have teachers that taught either of those subjects. Instead of providing my child with an education, this Newark school just simply took those classes and put substitute teacher in the class for the school year. Practically taking these subjects out of her curriculum and replaced them with straight A’s. In any suburb outside of Newark this would be unconscionable, but in the city where many parents are fighting these kinds of an uphill battles every day, it has become far too common.
Mr. Frazier couldn’t afford to move to nearby Maplewood or afford private school, so he enrolled his children in one of the fine KIPPNJ schools in Newark, the Thrive Academy. Currently, three of his children are on track to attend college. He writes,
If we were to believe the critics of public charter schools, I would be singled out as a parent misinformed and misled by charter schools. I am not a parent misinformed, misled, or hoodwinked. I am a parent who supports schools that will provide my children with a quality education.
But what should not be lost on any of us is that there actually is no “charter vs. public school” debate in New Jersey. For the vast majority of parents, like me, public charter schools have become mainstream and the needed solution.