Newsday: Brad Gerstman on Charter Schools

A letter in today’s Newsday by Brad Gerstman

The article “New Charter school proposed for Brentwood ” [Newsday May 28] discusses the potential establishment of an English-language learner school in Brentwood, and the response from school board members. Unfortunately, what it does not include is statistical evidence.

The New York State District Report Card provides communities with the condition of schools within a district. The report takes into account academic performance, state and federal standards, and overall district accomplishment.

In the 2010-11 school year, 75 percent of the students in Brentwood were Hispanic or Latino. This same group of children at the secondary level did not make adequate yearly progress in English Language Arts. Given that, it is safe to contend that these facilities did not provide the techniques necessary to provide the community with an adequate education system. If they had, the white and Asian populations, which constituted only 10 percent of the student population, would not have been the only children to make adequate yearly progress.

Assuming that the demographics of the Brentwood school district have not changed considerably, it is safe to conclude that school board members are speaking on behalf of their own interests, rather than those of the community. However, this debate is not about these individuals. The discussion must instead be about the children left behind because of the Brentwood district’s inability to accept fault. Hundreds of community members have expressed an interest in school choice that would provide students in the area with the necessary tools to truly achieve.

It is time for us as a community to stop making the argument about the employment security of adults, and instead focus on the situation at hand. It is essential for us all to objectively consider the facts that have undoubtedly proven a need for change in the Brentwood school district.

Bradley Gerstman, Roslyn

Editor’s note: The writer is a spokesman for LI-SchoolChoice.org, a charter school advocacy organization.

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