Public charter schools would not exist, let alone grow and thrive, without demand from families seeking high-quality public school choices. Since New York City’s first charter school opened in 1999, this educational option has grown to encompass 227 schools serving 114,000 students—with nearly 48,000 more on waiting lists.
114,000 NYC charter schools are educating more students than the school district in Boston.
1 in 2 kindergarten students in Harlem attends a charter school.
1 in 10 students citywide attend a charter school in the 2017-18 school year.
Parent demand for New York City charter schools increased by seven percent for the 2017-18 school year! There were an estimated 73,000 applicants for the nearly 25,200 seats available in the 227 charter schools that will be operating this fall. This leaves nearly 48,000 students on waitlists citywide.
New York has capped the number of charter schools that can open in the state at 460. 312 charters that count against the statewide cap have been issued to date—including 31 charters that have been revoked, non-renewed, or surrendered; charter schools that are converted district schools do not count against the cap. There will be 228 public charter schools operating in the 2017-18 school year. Recall that in 2015, the legislature revived a subset of 22 charters previously revoked (and which could not be used again). As of June 2017, 147 charters remain to be issued statewide, including 23 charters remaining in NYC, by one of New York’s two authorizers – the State Education Department Board of Regents (Regents) and the SUNY Charter School Institute (SUNY). Our detailed analysis breaks down the charter cap, while our fact sheet answers frequently asked questions about the cap.
Given the critical needs of many NYC students, particularly those in underserved communities, the Charter Center analyzed district school performance, charter demand, and Census data that identified four neighborhoods in the Bronx and Queens that would particularly benefit from the immediate growth of high quality charter schools.
This report shows charter schools are an increasingly significant and growing component in NYC's public education system. In fact, one in three students in Harlem, the South Bronx and Central Brooklyn now attend charter schools and enrollment in charters has doubled over the past four years.