For Immediate Release
February 6, 2018
1,000 NEW YORK CHARTER SCHOOL PARENTS, EDUCATORS AND STUDENTS CONVENE IN ALBANY TO FIGHT FOR ALL PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Bipartisan Legislators Call on Colleagues to Eliminate the Arbitrary Charter Cap and Provide Fair Facilities Funding For All Charters
Albany, NY – More than 1,000 New York charter school parents, students and teachers rallied in Albany today to support public charter schools at the 14th annual Charter School Advocacy Day. The families, who were joined by bipartisan elected officials, celebrated their schools with performances and speeches. The event was co-hosted by the New York City Charter School Center and the Northeast Charter Schools Network.
Students and advocates from across the state called on the state legislature to eliminate the arbitrary charter school cap and ensure funding equity for every public school student in New York. According to the Independent Budget Office, students in charter schools receive significantly fewer funds than their peers in district schools. The charter school cap has left nearly 48,000 students on waitlists in New York City alone.
Charter families made their case in nearly 90 meetings with their legislative representatives, emphasizing the importance of providing enough high-quality options in their communities to find a school that fits their child’s needs.
"Our mission is to cultivate virtues - such as justice and courage - in the children we serve,” said Kelsey Kopro LaVigne, Head of Schools, Brilla Charter Schools. “One way we do this is through leading by example, in partnership with our students' families. We are proud to stand together at Charter School Advocacy Day, as a school community, to advocate for the interests of the young shining faces that inspire us each day.”
Eugenio María de Hostos Charter School in Rochester is one of the state's oldest dual language charter schools, with an incredible track record of success, ranking among the top ten schools in the area. Executive Director Maycanitza Perez said, "Just like families with privilege, the families we serve also deserve the same high standards of a high-quality education -- which is what we are providing. As a New York school leader, I do not accept the notion that our scholars deserve less than students in other public schools or in other public charter schools in other regions of the state. We are funded less, but our students are not worth less; they deserve the same academic opportunities. The time to end this inequity is now."
“I’m proud to stand with the parents and educators who have stood up for great public education in our state,” said James Merriman, CEO of the New York City Charter School Center. “Their voices – along with those of the 48,000 students on charter waitlists in New York City – will make the difference between maintaining a broken status quo and realizing Governor Cuomo’s vision for a public school system that meets every child’s needs.”
Northeast Charter School Network New York State Director Andrea Rogers said, "This year we mark the 20th anniversary of the charter law being passed in New York State. While we celebrate this incredible milestone and the life changing benefits charter schools have had on their communities, we also must speak out against the very real inequities charters face when it comes to funding and growth. Today we are welcoming students, parents, and volunteers from charter schools around the state. Many boarded a bus before the sun came up and traveled many hours, demonstrating their commitment to charter schools by coming to the Capitol and reminding lawmakers that these schools fundamentally transform communities and deserve fairness."
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