Charter School Fails to Appeal to Community

TyAnna Fernandes, Webmaster

Innovators Charter School (ICS) began working towards opening a new charter school in New Bedford to serve Fall River and New Bedford junior high school and high school students. After deliberating for about three months, ultimately this plan failed. This is due to the overwhelming feeling that it wouldn’t be to the benefit of the students to add a new charter school in the area.

“They come and pretend they are offering a choice, but what they really offer is a parasitic relationship with the public schools, taking away the resources that should be used for all students.” Leila Rosa, New Bedford Coalition to Save Our Schools member, said.

The addition of the new school not only presented the administrators and city halls of both cities with a funding dilemma, they also left out many students of color, without any funding or a school.

ICS originally found success in Brockton, being so successful that they had students from New Heights show up to support the addition of the charter school. Despite, the overwhelming support outside of the community, all the opposition came from within the community. Most were deeply concerned about the funding.

Within public school systems, every single school is given a certain amount of funding to fit the number of students they have enrolled in the school. While charter schools are privately running schools and follow their own standards, they are publicly funded. If there were to be a more unlimited amount of funding for all schools, then a new charter school wouldn’t be an issue, however, there isn’t an unlimited amount of money.

This sets up a problem for students of color especially. While ICS claims to cater more towards students of color who are interested in STEM, it would be impossible to truthfully help even a minority of students of color in New Bedford and Fall River.

The reason why it was possible to benefit students of color in Brockton is the majority of the population in Brockton are people of color, the minority is made up of white people and in turn white students. However, in Fall River more than 80% of the people are white, and in New Bedford more than 60% are white. In both of these areas, white people make up an extreme majority meaning that there is also a majority of white students.

This would lead to a majority of students in the new charter school being white, taking funding from students of color who would most likely be going to the public schools that New Bedford and Fall River have to offer.

This was highlighted by LeSella Hall, the president of the NAACP chapter in New Bedford. Explaining that creating this new charter school would create more separation than it would opportunities for students, comparing it to the Brown v. Board of Education supreme court case.

Even aside from funding issues, the new charter school wouldn’t offer any new opportunities that cannot be found at the currently running public schools. ICS claimed to offer college courses, advanced classes, and generally, a better education. Students of both cities know that both school systems make college courses and advanced classes available to all students. Leading to a better education system.

In the end, ICS could not make any claims to properly support why there should be a new charter school. Instead, ICS only made the community more sure of the reasoning behind not supporting any new charter school in the district.