Selected readings on US charter schools
Records released Wednesday show that 27,680 applications have poured in so far for the next school year — a 56 percent increase over 2013, when parents had filed 17,719 as of Jan. 31.
The number of applications already exceeds the 22,000 available seats — with two months to go before the April 1 filing deadline.
Charter advocates attribute the jump to a helpful hand put out by the Department of Education, which added a charter- application link on its Web site.
The advocates said parents want a quality education for their kids, no matter where they can get it.
“Frankly, they don’t care if it’s a charter or a district school, they care if it’s a good school,” said James Merriman, CEO of the NYC Charter School Center.
“The problem isn’t charter versus district. It’s not having enough seats.”
Mayor de Blasio is leading a campaign to add 50,000 new pre-kindergarten seats in the public-school system, but he has pledged to take a hard look at charters that are “co-located” within public school buildings.
Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña told state lawmakers that she would look at all charter co-locations that the city’s Panel for Educational Policy approved in the waning weeks of the Bloomberg administration.
“Contracts that we’ve signed are being looked at as we speak,” Fariña said at an Albany hearing on Tuesday. “I don’t think we’ll stop doing them, but how we’ll do them will change radically.”
Some legislators want Fariña to go even further and halt pending co-locations.
Democratic Assemblyman William Colton said he wants to stop three co-location applications in his southern Brooklyn district because of parental outrage and concerns with school overcrowding.
“I think [co-locations] can be reversed because the decision was just made in November and I think there is plenty of opportunity and time to reconsider it,” he said.
“I don’t think it was properly considered in the original decision.”
Assemblyman Joe Lentol expressed dismay that several charter schools have opened inside Greenpoint public schools that are already crowded.
“They shouldn’t be competing for those kids,” he said. “They should go to neighborhoods where charter schools are needed, where parents don’t want to send their kids to public school.”
Emboldened legislators and a hostile City Hall has some education reform leaders concerned about the fate of the charters.
“These are some of the highest performing schools citywide serving equal numbers of special education and English language learners and families are facing losing access to them,” said jeremiah Kittredge, CEO of Families for Excellent Schools.
Source: New York Post – by Aaron Short