Equality for all Jersey City students and schools

Dear Editor:

My students mean so much to me and because of this, I’ve shared my concerns and my joys in teaching this past year with you. This past September 4th, I had the opportunity to share my voice at the New Jersey State Board of Education open testimony hearing. I’d like to share with you some of my testimony:

“I have been a teacher at The Ethical Community Charter School(TECCS) in Jersey City since 2011. TECCS is a K-8 school, educating an incredibly diverse student population of 394 children.
Our mission clearly states, “We believe children who have the skills to make good choices will thrive and positively shape the world.”
I truly believe in our mission because I’ve seen how a child can change their mindset to believe in themselves and succeed in whatever they put their minds to. In that same spirit, I think of our school as the little school that could. Despite severe underfunding and limited resources, we are a safe school. We are diverse and we provide everything we can for our students. Our school is deeply committed to subject area instruction as well as teaching children to consider others’ perspectives and develop ethical thinking.

Our children and teachers deserve to be seen as equals to their traditional public school counterparts. Our school has amazing teachers who truly change the lives of our students and challenge them succeed academically. We teach in one of the lowest paying schools in Jersey City.
The funding formula in Jersey City needs to be fixed. I know the funding that is designated for each Jersey City school aged resident is not following at 100% per child so they may attend the school of their choice. Our children deserve to be seen as equals, our educators need to be seen as professional equals. We are all public schools! How is it fair that we are not guaranteed the same educational opportunity?

Consider equal funding for successful charter schools such as ours so that our little school ‘that could’ becomes the little school that can do so much more for our students. Allow us to continue our journey in believing that “children who have the skills to make good choices will thrive and positively shape the world.”

Roseangela Mendoza