It's about great public schools.


Major Gains Seen in Achievement of Charter School Children in 2015-16 Test Scores

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

By Michael Pih

In what can be described as yet another transition year for New York State testing, NYC charter schools made significant gains, and outperformed their district counterparts in both ELA and Math. As the sector has done for the past three years, math proficiency continues to exceed district averages—this year by +12.3 percentage points (48.7% vs. 36.4%). Most encouraging is the fact that charters outperformed the district in ELA for the first time since the transition to the Common Core assessments in the 2012-13 school year (43.0% vs. 38.0%).

Out of Options: No Judicial Review for Charter School Non-renewals

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

By Corey Callahan, Director of Legal Affairs

In a recent op-ed, James Merriman, the Charter Center’s CEO, reminds us of one of the bedrock principles of chartering: that the autonomy to operate free of many of the hurdles faced by district schools comes with the price of accountability. He goes on to assert that the price of this autonomy can be particularly high when the price is school closure. Merriman’s piece references a recent charter school closure where an authorizer’s non-renewal decision was based on the schools’ failure to meet set academic benchmarks. This non-renewal decision was challenged by the school in court, but the court held that charters do not have the right to judicial review of non-renewal decisions.

The Devil is in the Details: Ensuring the Future of New York’s Charter Movement

Thursday, April 14, 2016

By Michael Pih

Somewhat buried in the coverage of the passage of the state’s budget was some great news for charter schools (beyond the needed and much appreciated $430 in additional per pupil for schools statewide). The budget included a little noticed and seemingly small “technical” change making permanent how rental assistance is calculated for schools in New York City under the Facilities Access Law.

Leader Voices

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

By Christina Reyes, Executive Director of Inwood Academy for Leadership

Starting Your School Right

The proverbial saying, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time,” is one that I constantly refer to as I relate the process of opening a charter school. It seems like an impossible task at times – opening a school that teachers want to teach in, parents want to send their children to and that will help students succeed could seem like the largest elephant of them all. The reality is, no one can eat the elephant on their own. An excellent team and support from the field are the keys to success. The charter sector in NYC is one of the most open environments that I have ever seen. Charter leaders and educators, in general, are willing to share best practices and learn from one another in a way that not many other competitive fields do. The New York City Charter School Center is at the heart of this open communication and best practice sharing.

Alive and Growing Smartly

Monday, March 14, 2016

By Michael Pih

Each morning, my inbox contains a digest of all the latest in education news here in the city, which gives me some sense of what the day has in store. It was with some shock, then, that I recently read an opinion piece in which the author claimed the death of the New York charter movement. As proof, we’re told that in 2015, just six new charters were approved (so far) by the two state authorizers—the State Education Department (SED) and SUNY—while the New York City Department of Education seeks to close seven charters. Anyone with a basic understanding of arithmetic can tell you that is a net of negative one.

Leader Voices

Monday, December 21, 2015

By Stacey Gauthier, Principal, Renaissance Charter School

First Charter Sector Advocacy Efforts

Reflecting on the Charter Center’s ten year anniversary, I want to take you back to a historic summit that took place in June 2007 when, for the first time, representatives from the Charter Center, CEI-PEA, NYC DOE, NY Charter Schools Association and UFT sat down in a public forum to address a broad set of policy and advocacy issues facing New York City’s charter schools.  

Leader Voices

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

By James Merriman, CEO of the New York City Charter School Center

A Reflection on the Last 10 Years

In 2003, then as Executive Director of SUNY’s Charter Schools Institute, I found myself in conversations with philanthropists, charter leaders and officials at the New York City Department of Education (DOE) on what a new organization devoted to supporting charter schools in the City might look like. It would be a new organization, a public-private partnership between philanthropy and the DOE. Its mission would be to help grow a high-quality charter sector, one that would work in tandem with the Department as it sought to fundamentally reshape how it governed the schools it managed and transform New York City from a school system to a system of schools.

2014-15 State Test Score Analysis: Charters Better Serving African-American and Hispanic Students

Friday, August 14, 2015

By Michael Pih

On Wednesday, the New York State Education Department (SED) released scores from the third year of the Common Core 3-8 Assessments.   

Performance by African-American and Hispanic students in charter schools far exceeds that of their district counterparts. In Math, African-American and Hispanic charter school students outperform their district peers by +23.9 percentage points, and +18.4 percentage points, respectively. Gaps in ELA are smaller but still significant with a gap for African-American students in proficiency rates of +9.9 percentage points and for Hispanics of +6.8 percentage points. Given that charter schools enroll mostly students from these two subgroups (over 90%), this finding is significant and highly promising. Further, for students identified as economically disadvantaged, charter schools once again outperform their district peers. 

Charter Schools Remain Underfunded: New Report

Thursday, July 23, 2015

By Michael Pih

Today’s IBO report, Charter Schools Versus Traditional Public Schools: Comparing the Level of Public Support In School Year 2014-15,  shows that charter schools receive significantly less public support than do traditional district schools.  When compared to 2009-10, the last year for which the IBO calculated the data, the gap between traditional district schools and charter schools has grown more than five-fold. In fact, on average, charter schools receive over $1,400 less per pupil than traditional district schools compared to the $250 less per pupil they received in 2009-10.

New IBO Report: Positive Trends in NYC Charter Growth, Diversity, Backfilling & Achievement

Monday, July 13, 2015

By Michael Pih

Today, the New York City Independent Budget Office released a new report, School Indicators for New York City Charter Schools: 2013-14 School Year. The IBO has put out a series of similar reports for NYC traditional district schools for the last three years; this is the first such report on the charter sector. The report is a straightforward presentation of data and, commendably, takes pain to avoid editorializing.