Quinta Brunson Responds to ‘Abbott Elementary’ Charter Story Critic

One of the main plot points of the second season of the ABC comedy is that Draemond (Leslie Odom Jr.) tries to get a diploma from Abbott, but the teachers vehemently oppose it.

Don’t come for the “Abbott Elementary” team unless you’re ready to learn.

Jeanne Allen of the Center for Education Reform took to Twitter last week to call out “Abbott” creator Quinta Brunson for attending charter schools. A major plot point in the ABC comedy’s second season is Draemond’s (Leslie Odom Jr.) attempt to turn Abbott into a charter, but the teachers (including Brunson’s Janine) vehemently oppose it.

Brunson responded, telling Allen that “you’re wrong and doing your research wrong,” and clarified that he only attended charters in high school — and that charter schools often close, as his eventually did. It wasn’t the first time Brunson acknowledged that both charter and public schools have meritbut chose to focus her work on the lack of funding and support for public schools. TIME function following the latest “Abbott” episode, he spoke to public school teachers across the country who found the story “cathartic.”

“Charter schools make me incredibly uneasy,” Tennessee teacher Kathryn Vaughn told TIME. As an art teacher, Vaughn faces less security at a charter school where art education is not necessarily mandatory. Vocational teachers can be hired on a contract basis, but not leased, and Vaughn noted that they may not even need to be certified.

The viral exchange sparked a conversation about charter education, and people in the responses shared their own experiences and articles about the charter system. Allen responded to Brunson again, with a six-tweet thread about Brunson’s old charter, specifically Philadelphia schools and charter closures (Brunson did not respond). He also posted a seven-tweet thread praising the charter system, not singling out Brunson but a “vocal minority” who would “rather disparage than support” (the charter school system reportedly worth nearly $50 billion).

After his original response, Brunson added — and was echoed by many in the responses — that the “Abbott” story isn’t an absolute, and that a show highlighting the differences between public and charter schools isn’t necessarily a downsizing of the charter system.

“Just because we like something doesn’t mean we can’t criticize it,” Brunson wrote. “Thank you for watching the show :)”

“Abbott Elementary” airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on ABC.

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