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David Quinn-Jacobs - Parent Testimonial

My son attends New Roots. I am not an expert in education, although I work in the field of professional development for teachers, and I have some knowledge of schools in New York, Pennsylvania and Texas. It is my understanding that charter schools in New York operate on 66% of the funding that other schools in the district enjoy. Charter schools receive funding for pupils, but they receive none for their facilities. In fact, there is a lawsuit in Buffalo and Rochester in which families are demanding equal funding for charter schools.

Given that fact, New Roots Charter School is not a drain on the Ithaca School District. The situation is quite the reverse. The money that would normally go to kids at New Roots, if they were in other Ithaca schools, goes to other kids in the district instead. 

About 79% of the students in charter schools across New York State are from low-income families. New Roots provides a service to our community that is often unappreciated by people outside the school. I believe these folks are not looking at the whole picture, and I believe they don’t have direct experience with the school. Their perspective is not shared by any parents, staff or students that I know at New Roots. The school has a vibrancy and spirit that transcends the numbers frequently tossed around.  Students feel secure and welcome at the school, and they are integrated into the community. They are learning, but the focus is not on passing standardized tests.  

We have three sons. Our two oldest were primarily homeschooled, and they have gone on to successful adult lives. Both have graduated college with bachelor’s degrees; they have gone on to the Peace Corps and law school, respectively. We would not have chosen New Roots if we did not feel it could prepare our third son as well as homeschooling did for our other boys. Other public schools (including LACS) would not be an acceptable alternative for our family. I know other families at New Roots have a variety of background stories, but we all share the need for an alternative. Collectively, our kids have been drawn to the school because of a number of excellent qualities that are not measured well by boilerplate standards.  

Since New Roots is, in fact, financially advantageous to the school district, I can’t fathom why it so bothersome to a handful of people, and why they are so outspoken about it. New Roots needs and deserves more community support, not un-constructive criticism and threats. Parents that don’t approve of the model can and do choose to not send their children there. Reducing our community’s choices benefits no one.  As parents, it is our right to make up our own minds about our own children’s lives. We choose New Roots.

- David Quinn-Jacobs, New Roots Charter School Parent