Quinta Brunson Perfectly Responds to ‘Abbott Elementary’ Charter Storyline Critic

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

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

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Brunson responded, telling Allen “you’re wrong and bad at research” and clarifying that she only attended a charter for high school — and that charter schools often close, as hers eventually did. It was not the first time Brunson acknowledged that both charter and public schools have merit, but has chosen to focus on the lack of funding and advocacy for public schools with her work. A TIME feature following the latest “Abbott” episode spoke with public school teachers around the country who found the storyline “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 arts education isn’t necessarily mandated. Specialized teachers can be hired on contracts, but not tenured, and Vaughn noted that they may not even need certification.

The viral exchange sparked a conversation on charter education, including people in the replies sharing their own experiences and articles about the charter system. Allen replied to Brunson once again, with a six-tweet thread about Brunson’s old charter, Philadelphia schools specifically, and and charter closings (Brunson did not respond). She also posted a seven-tweet thread praising the charter system, not tagging Brunson but mentioning a “vocal minority” who “would prefer to disparage rather than support” (the charter school system is reportedly worth close to $50 billion).

After her original reply, Brunson added — and many in the replies echoed — that the “Abbott” storyline does not signify an absolute, and that the show casting light on differences between public and charter schools is not necessarily a takedown of the charter system.

“Loving something doesn’t mean it can’t be critiqued,” Brunson wrote. “Thanks for watching the show :)”

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

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