Selected readings on US charter schools
The city’s Department of Education is giving the green light to open or expand 23 charter schools before Mayor Bloomberg leaves office and provide them with free space in city buildings.
The actions could be a lifesaver for the popular alternatives to public schools because Bloomberg’s likely successor, Democrat Bill de Blasio, has vowed to impose a moratorium on co-locating charter schools in city facilities. And he would charge rent to some charters that now get free space.
Mayor Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott defended the 11th-hour actions as smart, sound planning to provide parents and kids with more options, and reward achievement.
“Over the last decade, we’ve transformed the landscape in city schools, giving parents more high-performing options than ever before and delivering historic gains for our students,” said DOE spokesman Devon Puglia.
“When public schools — be they district or charter — are delivering resounding results, we want to ensure their success continues.”
During Bloomberg’s 12 years as mayor, the city created 654 mostly smaller new schools — many replacing larger, low-performing schools. There are now over 180 charters serving 70,000 students. Many are given free space in city school buildings.
Deshone Moise is a third-grader excelling at the Achievement First Apollo charter school in Brooklyn’s East New York, one of New York’s poorest neighborhoods.
Deshone and his dad, Jerome, fear for the school.
“I pray my son goes to the eighth grade. He has been in the school since kindergarten. We love this school,” said the dad. “My son is in the third grade and he’s reading at a fifth-grade level.”
Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota is releasing a new TV ad Monday tomorrow pouncing on de Blasio’s hostility to charters.
“Charter schools allow parents to choose the best education for their children. Accountability. Better schools. Greater hope,” the narrator in the 30-second spot says. “But Bill de Blasio wants to roll back their success.”
Asked about the Apollo school’s fate on Sunday, de Blasio seemed to leave the schoolhouse door open. “Bill will thoroughly review all proposals for expansion,” said his campaign spokesman Dan Levitan.
Apollo is an elementary school serving grades K to 4. It is co-located in a building with IS 302.
The school has received state approval to expand through eighth grade.
“When you have something good going for the kids, why would you want to take it away?’’ asked Moise, the charter-school dad.
“If it’s showing good results, keep it going.
Source: New York Post – by Carl Campanile and Beth DeFalco