For Immediate Release: June 5, 2019
Contact: Abdul Sada – firstname.lastname@example.org
SCHOOL LEADERS, TEACHERS, PARENTS, AND ADVOCATES CALL FOR ACTION IN ALBANY ON THE ARBITRARY CHARTER SCHOOL CAP
Zero New Charters Currently Available to Meet the Demand in New York City
More than 50 Educators and Parents from Across the Five Boroughs Advocate for a Cap Lift
(NEW YORK) – Today, New York City Charter School Center CEO James Merriman and New York City charter school leaders and parents called on the New York State Senate and Assembly to lift the arbitrary cap that precludes new charter schools from opening in New York City. Despite soaring parent demand and record high achievement, no new charter schools can open under the current cap.
Albany has previously raised the cap twice, in 2007 and 2010, and has several options for doing so again. Whether the legislature removes the arbitrary statewide cap altogether or eliminates the geographic restrictions on the State’s remaining 99 available charters, parents and educators agree something must be done to ensure more high quality options are available to NYC families.
More than 50 educators, advocates, and parents descended on Albany today to call for action on behalf of the tens of thousands of kids who are relegated to charter wait lists each year.
“Families across New York City want more public charter schools because they know that this will increase the chances their children will receive a top-flight education. The arbitrary cap on the number of charter schools that can be opened in New York City deprives children of high quality education options, particularly for Black and Latino students,” said NYC Charter Center CEO James Merriman. “New York needs to lift the charter cap. The time is now.”
On March 4, for the first time in the 20 years of New York’s charter movement, the number of available charters for NYC reached zero following the State University of New York’s (SUNY) approval of seven new charter schools. New York City has increased the cap on charter schools twice before and has made more charters available in NYC numerous times.
The charter cap depletion comes as 2018 state test scores, once again, showed exceptional outcomes among charter school students. Last year, 27 public charter schools were among New York City’s 50 highest performing schools in Math, while 21 charters were among New York City’s top 50 in ELA. Further, in 2018, Black and Latino charter students not only continued to outperform their district peers by wide margins, but for the first time ever also outperformed white students statewide.
Christina Perry, School Lead, Kwenda Collegiate Charter School said: “In March, SUNY approved our application, but there were not enough charters to give out. Unless the cap is lifted, our school will never actually open. Our parents know that all girls schools have transformational effects on their alumni, and they have always been accessible to our city’s most affluent parents. In Brooklyn, our city’s most populous borough, there is one all-girls public elementary school with a waitlist of over 200 girls. To me, it’s not about us versus them; it's about equity and providing our parents with options that they think are best for their children.”
Lauren Rawles, MESA Charter High School said: “For the past six years, we’ve worked hard to do right by our students, families, and community. This year, we had over 600 students apply for 130 spots. There is a clear demand for MESA to grow for our students, families, and staff. We received an approval to start a second school, and yet we cannot open. We want to be able to provide students in different districts with the opportunity to attend great public high schools that are supportive, and focus on individualized student needs, while preparing them for future success.”
Miriam Rahrah, Bronx Charter School for the Arts said: “We are a school that believes in changing the trajectory of families’ lives through education, wraparound services and family support. We applied this year for another K - 5 school, and we were approved. However, we cannot open because of the cap. It is time to put aside adult political agendas, so that children and families can get what they need through education.”
Gloria Alfinez, a parent from the Bronx said: “We need more great schools in the Bronx, and we need to raise the charter cap so that school leaders can open up their doors to our children in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Harlem and give these kids the great schools they deserve.”
To view the New York City Charter School Center’s Charter cap fact sheet, please click here.