February 25, 2007
Without taking a position on the value of charter schools, we acknowledge an increasing trend in public education is the creation of schools designed to draw together students of similar interest or background. There is an understandable allure to such schools, as they promise to help students gain better skills in second languages, understand diverse cultures, and provide alternatives to schools that may otherwise be failing to provide the quality education every student deserves.
Concerns exist, though, that such publicly funded schools may provide a vehicle to advance sectarian education in contravention of the separation of religion and state.
The JCPA believes that legislation authorizing such language and identity charter schools must ensure that these schools hold to their public mandate as secular institutions. CRCs should work to ensure that significant oversight exists to ensure that these schools fulfill their public mandate in all respects as secular institutions. Significant transparency and appropriate and stringent oversight are needed to ensure that curriculum and instruction teach the foundations of a representative democracy and are purely nonsectarian.
The task force is urged to examine the impact of these schools on the Jewish community.