New M.E.T.S. Charter School opens in Newark

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NEWARK -

A brand-new M.E.T.S. Charter School officially opened in Newark Monday.

Zeyana McAllister is about to start her junior year at the new school. She says the charter offers things that her previous school did not, such as robotics and volleyball.

“My school wasn’t working out for me so my grandmother transferred me,” she says.

Gov. Chris Christie was on hand for the official ribbon cutting. While charter school are considered to be controversial to some, the governor has been a major supporters. He says that the number of New Jersey students enrolled in charter schools have double under his administration.

Students from all over the state are trying to get into a charter school. There are currently 34,000 New Jersey students on a charter school waitlist, with 11,000 in Newark.

“Because we don't have the capacity to be able to fulfill their requests they need to go someplace else,” Christie says. “That's not fair. It’s not right.”

The “someplace else” is a traditional public school. Critics say that public schools should be the focus and that charter schools are damaging the system.

The Education Law Center has opposed charters in Newark because they say that charters further stretch funding problems and leave the neediest students in the main public schools.

Those who support charter schools say that it’s about families having the choice of where to send their children.

“By opening schools like this and giving you the opportunity to enroll, we now leave the burden and opportunity in your laps, you'll decide,” Christie said at the opening.

Nearly 35 percent of the public school population in Newark go to charter schools.

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