The charity that will be featured at Lawnparties this year, TEAM Charter Schools, was selected because several people on the USG social committee liked the organization and had worked with it before, social committee chair Logan Roth ’15 said.
He also said the social committee’s decision to contribute to a charity through Lawnparties had been floating around for several years, and he really wanted to move forward with it this year.
TEAM Charter Schools, a region of schools in Newark and Camden, N.J., will benefit with proceeds from the sales of raffle tickets and merchandise, while no money originally budgeted for Lawnparties will be handed to the charity. Its mission is “to create a network of schools in Camden and Newark, N.J., that instill in their students the desire and ability to succeed in college, in order to change the world,” according to its website.
However, the decision to support TEAM Charter Schools comes across as a controversial choice because there are critics who find fault in charter school systems. Charter schools have come under fire for avoiding teacher contract regulations, being subject to fewer state control controls than their public counterparts and for having mixed records of success.
“Some people dislike them because a lot of charter schools have failed to meet the goals and expectations they set, and also, people don’t like putting children’s education within private industry,” Andrew Sun ’17 said. Sun is a member of the USG freshman council.
Sun is taking FRS 170: The Dreamkeepers: Education Reform and the Urban Teaching Experience, a freshman seminar that examines education policy, in which the controversy over charter schools is a subject of debate.
While Sun said he believes having a charity component during Lawnparties is a great idea, the choice to support charter schools surprised him.
“I think since it’s charter schools, and some people are very for it, and some people are very against it, the choice to use TEAM Charter Schools has left a lot of people confused,” Sun said. “The issue of charter schools does divide many people.”
Representatives of TEAM Charter Schools did not respond to a request for comment before press time.
Roth said he did not anticipate the controversy surrounding TEAM Charter Schools.
“I don’t view it as a politically charged organization,” Roth said. “I thought it would be pretty non-sensational, and it wouldn’t cause any controversy.”
He said the USG really wants to “hype up the charity aspect” and hopes that donating to charities through Lawnparties can continue as a tradition in the future.
“As we move forward, if the charity component works out, I would love to get feedback from students about what charities they would like to support,” Roth said.
Lawnparties will take place on May 4 headlined by Mayer Hawthorne and GRiZ.